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Matthew Cooper

Bacterial Meningitis at 21

Bacterial Meningitis

I remember feeling slightly unwell at work, but brushed this off as tiredness. Later I was sick in the night. I stayed home from work the next day and felt a lot better. I went to bed early that evening, planning to go to work the following day.

That night I knew I was going to be sick again and made my way to the bathroom. Everything in the bathroom looked a florescent yellow colour. I still had no Idea of how ill I was. My neck was getting stiff and I was practically crawling into the bathroom.

I called for a doctor the following morning thinking that I just had a virus; she arrived around lunch time and decided instantly that this was meningitis, gave me an injection and called for an ambulance.

I remember the ambulance journey. I had my face covered because the light was making me dizzy. By the time we arrived at the hospital I could only just move my head from side to side.

Over the next few hours I was given antibiotics and saline on an IV. While chest x-rays and scans were carried out the doctors made several attempts to carry out a lumbar puncture, but were unsuccessful as my body was so stiff. This had to be carried out the following day.

That night I really did fight for my life as my body became dangerously close to starting to shut down. Fortunately, my body, with the help of the medical team, fought this, and I am here to tell this story.

I spent 10 days in hospital, the first few I have no recollection of; all I do remember is having a very short fuse with the medical staff as I still had a chronic headache and vomiting.

I have been left with a few problems since the illness - scars, partial deafness, headaches - but after nine years have learned to cope with these.

I know I owe a great deal of thanks to the medical team that treated me.

September 2012