As a 19-year-old student I had imagined my first few weeks at Cardiff University to be full of new experiences, new friends and new challenges. Never did I imagine it would be spent in the Intensive Care Unit, fighting a disease that I then didn't even know how to spell, let alone understand.
After a busy few weeks of socialising I was feeling run down; perhaps not surprising seeing as my new-found freedom had encouraged me to attend every social event the Union put on. Waking up on Thursday 12th October 1998, a date that has stuck with me and my family ever since, I felt there was something more to it than just being run down. I staggered out of my room and felt as though my legs were about to give way; my head was burning and I was shaking all over. Friends commented on the heavy night I must have had, and whilst I laughed it off I suddenly felt quite scared; 190 miles away from home, very new friendships and as yet no GP meant that I was very alone. Despite having my first ever tutorial that day and desperately wanting to go in, I had no option but to go back to bed to 'sleep off' whatever bug I'd picked up.