Meningitis in your words

Allan Macpherson's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: MRF - Disease
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Allan Macpherson

I thought I was in good health, but was surprised by the effects of meningitis that can quickly take you down. It all started on the 23rd December 2015. I was busy with work, due to the lead up to the Christmas rush. I noticed I wasn't feeling right, I was getting tired easily and by the afternoon I started getting sore calves. Being busy, I just dismissed these symptoms as overworked and looked forward to the upcoming holidays.

The next day I was exhausted when I first woke up, but I pushed myself through work and went home early because it was Christmas Eve. This is when I started feeling a lot worse. That afternoon I started getting massive migraines, and had a really stiff neck. This was very uncommon for me because I never get migraines. My wife and I put it down to overworking, and I had some pain relief and went to bed early.

"The migraine on the left hand side felt as though I needed to rip my side face off to relieve the pressure."

On Christmas morning, the migraine and stiff neck intensified and I couldn't handle it anymore and asked to be taken to the hospital. The hospital prescribed paracetamol codeine and put my symptoms down to a migraine. I was sent home. I took the tablets and they had no effect, I slept most of Christmas hoping to rest up and get better. The next day was more of the same, except this time I started getting fevers, light sensitivity and vomited continuously. 

I turned to the hospital and explained myself, they prescribed three heavier drugs this time, including an anti-inflammatory. They still did not realise I had meningitis. These drugs seemed to be working and I was optimistic about them. The problem was I started to feel better, then the next day I felt I dropped down worse.

By the 30th of December the drugs prescribed ran out. It was around midday, I had a huge fever, I was vomiting every 5 minutes then passing out until I vomited again. The migraine on the left hand side felt as though I needed to rip my side face off to relieve the pressure. I could not understand simple sentences from my wife, even after asking her to repeat them. I tried to text on the phone to my boss saying that I was sick, but what I thought I was texting and what was on the screen was completely different.

I started to feel that I was losing, I could feel myself slipping, like the energy from my body was going. I told my wife that we have to go to hospital and that I was scared that I was going to die. At the hospital I was eventually admitted after a spinal fluid tap was done. I was diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis. I was kept in hospital for 15 days on numerous drips and the treatment seemed to be working.

The neurosurgeon said to me that I was lucky that I came in when I did, any further delay in getting treatment would have had serious consequences - even possibly death. I am out now and my body is trying to make a full recovery. It was the worst feeling in the world, I did not know anything about meningitis before this and cannot believe that I was so close to possible death.

All I can say to everyone out there is that while the hospitals are there to help you, you must insist on tests and do not always take the doctors first analysis if you believe they haven't covered everything. I truly do believe I dodged a bullet on this occasion.