Nikki talks about having meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
I woke up on Friday 1st January 2010 at around 11am feeling very ill
with flu-like symptoms. I was extremely warm but I was shivering
uncontrollably, my head was pounding, my throat was sore and my whole
body felt stiff. I could barely move. I took some Beechams flu tablets
and went back to sleep. I woke up again around 2pm feeling much worse
and couldn’t stop vomiting. I felt weak and breathless.
Around 3pm my mum rang the out of hours emergency doctor but they
did not call back. I lay all day on the sofa thinking I probably had
flu, or possibly even swine flu. I took paracetamol and ibuprofen but
nothing seemed to help, I felt worse and worse as the day went on.
At 8pm my mum rang the out of hours emergency doctor again, as she
was getting worried. She was told he was unavailable for house visits.
Meanwhile she had been researching my symptoms online as it seemed
impossible for anyone to be this ill with flu. I was exhausted and weak
and so I went to bed in the hope that I could sleep it off and wake up
feeling better in the morning.
At 9pm my mum came to check on me and asked me several times about
all my symptoms. She did not mention so at the time, but she feared I
may have developed meningitis. She got me out of bed immediately and
drove me Ulster Hospital A&E (5 minutes away). I could barely walk,
my body was so stiff and sore and the lights in A&E were
unbearable. I was taken straight through to Triage, my heart rate was
dangerously high and I had a temperature.
The doctor came to assess me. I couldn’t stop vomiting, my head
was pounding and heart racing. I thought I was dying. I had now
developed slight purple bruising on my stomach. The doctor suspected I
had meningitis but could not be 100% sure until he could carry out a
lumbar puncture. Meningitis is so dangerous; it can kill in hours and
so as a precaution the doctor started treatment immediately by
intravenous antibiotic drip; this was around 10.30pm.
I was taken up to the Medical Assessment ward in the hospital at
2am. The nurses monitored me throughout the night, taking my blood
pressure and temperature every hour. On Saturday 2nd January (the next
morning) I woke up to find my body covered in a purple rash –
SEPTICAEMIA. Around 11am the doctor arrived to perform a lumbar
puncture (fluid is drained from the spine) to determine if the illness
Around 2pm my illness was confirmed as Meningococcal Type B
Meningitis and Septicaemia. I responded well to treatment and spent 11
days in hospital.
I am making a good recovery and have good days and bad days. I have
since returned to work and I am determined to make the most of my life
as it so easily could have been taken away from me. I am extremely
lucky to be alive today and could never thank my mum and the doctors
enough for taking such initiative and saving my life.
I am becoming
involved with Meningitis Research Foundation and am keen to help out
with fundraising, as the support my family and I received from MRF has
NIKKI CRAIG - JUNE 2010
VIDEO - SEPTEMBER 2012