Hi. My name is Mark, and I was nine years old when I was affected by meningitis. I was at a friend's birthday party, when I first felt unwell. Running round suddenly had no appeal, and I felt heavy and lethargic. Thinking that I probably had a cold, or a touch of the flu, my mum took me home, where I lay lay down on my bed and shivered so hard I bit my lip.
That night, my dreams were nightmarish and semi-delirious, and I felt terrible. In the morning, I woke, and discovered that my arms would not move. Strangely unworried by this, I rolled out of bed, went to the loo, and went to talk to the dog. Mum found me there twenty minutes later, as I couldn't get up. My mum is a nurse, and immediately phoned the local GP, explaining in medical terms, what was wrong. He told her to stop showing off, and that he would be round as soon as it suited him.
Luckily a GP who was also a family friend advised an ambulance, and that is how I found myself in hospital. I had a lumbar puncture, and many tests, none of which I remember very well at all. A few hours later, I told mum I was tired, and closed my eyes.
I was in a coma for four days, and when I came out, my body was covered in lesions and sores and soft patches that turned to mush if you poked them But I was alive, and it was easter, and there were eggs, and the only thing I cared about was that I couldn't move my arms to get to them!
The staff at St Helen's Hospital, together with the constant vigilance of my mother, saved my life, and for that I will be forever grateful.
I am now 35. I am overly emotional, and have problems dealing with rejection, or the feeling of not being good enough. I suffered with a minor form of epilepsy for a few years while at school. My short term memory is patchy at best, and my right elbow makes noises you'd expect from a bag of crisps. I get flustered easily, and tend to stutter and become skittish if pressured. I always thought that this was just me, but after reading accounts here, I am beginning to wonder.
My name is Mark, I am 35, and I survived meningitis. I am married with 4 beautiful children, and not a day goes by without the understanding of how lucky I am.