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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Peter Stables

Bacterial Meningitis at 51

Bacterial Meningitis

I am lucky enough to have made a full recovery from bacterial meningitis and septicaemia.

I wanted to take the opportunity to say how my symptoms developed in case it might help others.

In 2000 I went on holiday to Dubai and whilst there began to feel a bit under the weather, just out of sorts feeling as if a cold was coming. This continued on the return home and got gradually worse until when I got back to work it felt as if flu was on it's way.

I was at work and for some reason I felt things weren't quite right and when I noticed a couple of red spots on the back of my hands. I drew round my hands in my work book and marked on where the small pin prick spots were because I thought more were appearing. Sure enough when I checked my hands half an hour later some more red pin prick spots had appeared.

I worked in a company that used chemicals and also was pumped full of paracetamols so thought the rash may be a reaction to either of those. The nurse we had on site at work didn't think there was much to worry about, but I managed to get a doctors appointment that afternoon.

Still feeling shocking when I was at the doctors I made the mistake of telling the doctor of the other reasons why I may have had the rash. Even though the rash wasn't disappearing when pressed I still left the surgery with a suggestion to take a lemsip and see how I got on!

I had started to feel a little better in the afternoon, but started to feel much worse in the early evening. By this time my neck was stiffening up and had a bad headache - so much so that I went to bed to try and sleep it off. By the time I woke up a couple of hours later my neck and headache were so much worse and I was beginning to feel nauseous. I then started to vomit and literally bounce off walls as I walked around the house disorientated and a bit dizzy. Not sure how long this went on for but I remember collapsing on the bed next to my wife who had been asleep while all this was happening preparing for an early start at work the next day.

In the morning I remember being sat on the bed and my wife asking if I was ok, but I couldn't answer. I was just staring with a puzzled look on my face I knew I was being asked a question but also was aware I couldn't answer it - very weird but I remember feeling calm at the same time.

Eventually it was decided to ring an ambulance. Next thing I knew I was sat in the lounge with the paramedics asking me questions, but not getting any answers! They even had the cheek to ask if I was always like this?! They wanted me to walk to the ambulance but when I walked into the door frame they got me in a wheelchair. It gets a bit hazy after this, in fact there is only one thing I remember before waking up in intensive care and that was a group of people were pinning me down and trying to " kill" me. In fact this is my recollection of various doctors and nurses having to pin me down to get a line into me. Unfortunately one of my symptoms was to become violent and abusive.

When I woke up in intensive care I was surprised and worried to see one of the people who I thought had been trying to kill me the previous evening! Also one of the doctors from the night before came in to see me even though it was their day off, just to tell me how lucky I had been.

In all I was only in hospital a couple of weeks and was actually back at work after 4 weeks. Having read the many stories of people who have suffered at the hands of meningitis and septicaemia, I realise how lucky I am to come out of it completely unscathed and recover so quickly.

Obviously one of the challenges with meningitis is that not everybody experiences all of the classic symptoms. Septicaemia may make it easier with a rash but as in my case there is no guarantee that this will be picked up.

The one common theme though if you read through this or other stories is the frightening speed the condition can worsen, and as I say many, many people aren't as lucky as me.

PETER STABLES
MARCH 2013

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