Joy Carole Warner
I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in 2000 at the age of 44. I became sick one weekend with vomiting and had flu-like symptoms, an earache and a very stiff neck, fever, and chills. I thought I just had the flu.
Over the weekend my symptoms progressively got worse. On Monday morning I could hardly walk and I called my daughter and she came and took me to the doctor. I could not sit up and had to lay on the bed in the doctor’s office. I was told to immediately go to the hospital. I was horrified as I had no idea what meningitis was.
After having a spinal tap to confirm that is what I had, it took doctors three days to find out if I was contagious and how I might have contracted meningitis. Later it was found that I had an ear infection and the fluid behind the eardrum went into the lining of my brain.
After spending a week in the hospital, having a tube put in my left eardrum, and a near death experience, I was sent home with a line in my arm for the antibiotics that I took for six or more weeks. There were a few follow-up appointments in the next few months to see how I was coming along.
It wasn't until a few years ago that I realised I should have had some kind of therapy or at least had more follow-up appointments to see if I had any after effects. It took me at least a year or more to even gain any kind of energy or normality back. I am now realising that I have had long term effects from the meningitis after talking to a friend of mine who had a mild stroke. When she was describing her symptoms after the stroke it sounded just like how I have felt all these years from after effects from the bacterial meningitis. But at least she had been recommended to have therapy such as speech and physical therapy, whereas I was not given those options.
I know I am lucky to be alive – if I had not gone to the doctor that day I would have been dead. But it has been a struggle for me as my speech, memory, energy levels, and other areas of my health have been affected. It has also been very frustrating for me as well. I have had these disabilities all these years and not knowing what they were from. I am so glad to have found your website. I wish I could have found it sooner.
I have told many friends I feel as if I had ten years taken off my life from having meningitis. I have done some research on the after effects of meningitis but I did not find much – it was not until today and going to our library that I found your website. I am so relieved to find that there really are symptoms or after effects from the meningitis.
I wonder now what are the next steps for me. I have not been able to work full time and am considering applying for disability which is why I wanted to do more research on this. I have avoided taking jobs because of fear that I could not do the work due to my memory and energy levels being so low. I have developed anxiety disorder. After effects have been: stiffness in joints, some sight problems, speech problems, memory loss, learning difficulties, headaches, severe fatigue. Not to mention the emotional and physical challenges of living with these symptoms.
Until you have gone through something like this you can't really understand. Everyone time I would get a pain in my ear I called the doctor and would go in and had my ear checked. I was so afraid I would get meningitis again.