I woke up on Saturday morning 8 December 1990 with a sore head. I figured I must have drunk more than I thought at the neighbours' Christmas mulled wine and mince pies the evening before.
By Sunday I was not feeling better. I called my mother to ask her to come on Monday for a few days and look after our 2 small children ages 4 and 8 months when my husband went back to work. I took Paracetamol but vomited it up immediately.
I called the GP surgery but they were busy and said I should drink flat lemonade. I couldn't even keep down water. This was unusual as I normally have a strong constitution.
On Monday my mother (a nurse) took one look at me and called the surgery. The doctor arrived, lifted my head, which was painful, and immediately called an ambulance. In hospital, a spinal tap confirmed viral meningitis, which I knew was not too serious.
However, after a few days I had more worrying symptoms - I could not pee. My body was becoming numb. I was diagnosed with encephalitis, an attack on the brain as well as the meninges.
By the week before Christmas, I was on the Danger List of the Intensive Care Unit in the Neurological Unit, largely unconscious for 5 days. At the eleventh hour, tests revealed a rare micro-organism causing the illness which could be treated by an antibiotic.