Meningitis in your words

Cheryl Davies's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Teenager
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Headaches
Cheryl Davies

Just like to say my thoughts are with the people who have lost loved ones. I myself have suffered from meningococcal septicaemia so I know how everyone who has suffered from meningitis feels.

I started suffering from flu symptoms a week before I got rushed into hospital so I just thought it was flu. But by the 21st of February 2007 on my day off work I spent the day in bed feeling ill and by the early hours of the morning I was in a terrible state being sick, stiff neck, banging headache but still no rash.

My mum called the oncall doctor and he just said it was flu and to put me to bed with some tablets! My mum decided to take further action and call an ambulance because 10 minutes after getting off the phone I went unconscious.

"It’s a really strange feeling knowing I could have died"

When I got to the hospital I was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia in the early stages and had a CT scan which confirmed this and I was in intensive care. An hour after being in hospital I developed the rash but it faded in about half an hour because of all the antibiotics being pumped into my body.

I got told I was in intensive care for 48 hours and during that time the doctors didn’t know if I was going to pull through, but luckily I did.

I was in hospital for two and half weeks on the HDU and children’s ward. I can’t remember anything apart from waking up on the children’s ward and thinking how I got there.

When I got home my parents told me I was like a six year old. I had to learn to do everything again...walk, eat properly, had to be watched on the stairs and in the bath.

I suffered memory loss at first, I didn’t know who my own sister was. My voice was rather strange for a few weeks as well  from the tubes down my throat from the life support machine and God knows what else I was hooked up to. I’ve got quite a lot of needle and tube marks on my body now!

It’s a really strange feeling I cannot explain knowing I could have died and yet I’m still here. I owe my mum and the hospital staff my life!!!

I suffer with a lot of after effects now... the hidden ones as people call them. Headaches, depression, really low immune system so I’m always ill, achiness, tiredness, emotional problems, mood swings, concentration problems and balance problems. I do not work anymore either. Meningitis took away my dream job from me. I try not to get upset about little things like jobs when I’m very lucky to be here, but it is hard learning how to live a totally different life now. That’s what it is... meningitis is a life changing if not life wrecking disease.

I had it when I was 17 nearly 18, I’m 21 now and still can’t come to terms with what happened to me. Will I ever?

Also my baby niece, who was only a few weeks old, had strep B meningitis. She’s made a full recovery but had to have a shunt fitted. We are so lucky we are both here now yet so unlucky to have meningitis struck twice in our family. xxx