Meningitis in your words

Jeff Pullinger's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Young Adult 20-25
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Jeff Pullinger

My meningitis story begins in March 2004.

I was in my first year of university when I began to feel very strange on a weekend visit home.  I suspected I had food poisoning but little did I know what was in store for me.  Two days later I was lying on the sofa almost dead.  Luckily my GP recognised the symptoms over the phone and told my mum to call an ambulance for suspected meningitis.  He saved my life.  I had meningococcal meningitis (the rare W135 strain) and septicaemia.  During the next few hours I lost my health forever.  I am now partially deaf and wear hearing aids, have balance problems, a constant headache, tinnitus and other problems which I don’t want to go in to.  On the positive side I am lucky to be alive.  All the doctors thought I would die or at the least have severe brain damage, blindness or/and amputations.  I have none of these so am, in a strange way, very lucky.

"On the positive side I am lucky to be alive."

I managed to go back to university a year and a half later to finish my degree whilst I was still ill/recovering.  I also travelled around Africa and did a 10,000 foot skydive for Meningitis Research Foundation. Looking back I don’t know how I managed all this to be honest.  I not only had to adapt to being a deaf person and how I am now but also had to adapt to studying as a deaf person.  I had very good support from family and friends which helped me a lot.

Six years on I just climbed Mount Toubkal (4167m) in Morocco for the Meningitis Research Foundation.  It was physically one of the hardest things I have ever done and the summit day was hell.  But I did it.  As you can tell this is the second time I have raised money for the MRF through a charitable event.  They are an amazing charity and helped me and my family so much during my illness and recovery.  It is a pleasure to raise money for them and I will continue to do so throughout my life.  

Jeff Pullinger
March 2012