Meningitis in your words

Carle Gilroy's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Headaches
Carle Gilroy

In October 2009 I suffered from bacterial meningitis. For the nine months prior to me getting meningitis I suffered from recurrent tonsillitis. By the 11th time within the nine-month period my body decided it couldn’t cope and the bacteria caused my bacterial meningitis.

I first started noticing symptoms late Monday night when I had a terrible headache and felt sick. I just put it down to yet another bout of tonsillitis and took some pain killers.

By the next day the headache was so severe I could barely function. With a small child who was just 18 months at the time I still had to do the usual activities like feed her, make sure she was OK and take her to nursery. While she was at nursery I went to the pharmacy to see if they could suggest anything for this terrible headache; they advised me to see my GP. I phoned my GP straight away and they advised me to come straight down. I could barely drive as the pain was so bad and all I wanted to do was lie down.

"I could hardly lift my head the pain was so bad"

I got to the doctors and the GP thought it was sinusitis. He prescribed me more antibiotics and said the statement that I will never forget: "Well I'm not entirely sure what it is, but whatever it is, it’s definitely not meningitis." He advised me to call the out of hours GP later on if it had not got any better.

By this time the day had nearly passed and I needed to collect my daughter from nursery. I'm not quite sure how I drove to collect her and get her home but I did, by this time it was 6pm and I had started to vomit every time I moved my head. I fed my daughter and put her in her cot, bless her she just sat and played and didn’t seem to mind she was in bed so early.

I kept drifting in and out of consciousness on my bed and was so thankful when my husband finally arrived home from a meeting at 8pm. I told him I thought something was seriously wrong and we phoned the out of hours GP and were told to go straight to A&E. By this time I could hardly lift my head the pain was so bad and I was still being sick.

I was immediately given morphine for the pain and then a CT scan as doctors suspected a brain haemorrhage. My CT was clear and the morphine had kicked in and I was starting to feel a bit better, then it was time for the lumbar puncture. Two hours later a doctor came and told me that I was quite poorly, she said you have bacterial meningitis. I was then put in isolation and started on IV antibiotics.

After a week in hospital I was feeling much better and I was allowed to go home with a canula in my hand and return to the hospital for two hours a day for IV antibiotics. Luckily, thanks to the wonderful medical staff, I made a full recovery and didn’t have any serious after effects. I continued to have some headaches for a while and felt very tired but that was it. I was surprised that the only real symptoms I noticed were a headache and vomiting, although this headache was like nothing I have ever experienced before, it really is like someone has hit you over the back of the head.

In February 2010 I finally had my tonsils removed; they were so infected that four days after having them removed I developed septicaemia – luckily I was again blessed with excellent doctors and made a full recovery after nine days in hospital.

JUNE 2010