In 2021 I was admitted to hospital after seeing four different GPs over a period of four days, who all thought I had a sinus allergy. Luckily the fifth doctor thought it was more serious than sinus and sent me into A&E straight away.
At the time I had a strange blister rash on the back of my leg behind my knee, again the four GPs didn't think it was anything. The headaches were unbearable.
While in A&E I was sent for a CT scan as they thought I had a brain tumour, the results came back as clear so I was sent for an MRI and again the results were clear.
Eventually I was given a lumber puncture but due to the pain they had to stop. I was put on anti virals and admitted to a ward.
The next day I was given heavy pain relief and another lumbar puncture was carried out, this time they managed to do it and it came back that I had viral meningitis and encephalitis. I remember the doctor telling me that if I left it any later to come into hospital, I would have been dead in 48 hours.
It was confirmed that the blister rash was shingles and this is what caused the meningitis and encephalitis.
I was in hospital on drips for ten days.
I have scaring to the front lobe of my brain which swells and causes pain, which has resulted in me being on pain killers everyday. I need to keep anti virals in the cupboard as the rash still comes back and I've been told this will happen for the rest of my life.
I still worry that every severe headache that I get is the meningitis coming back.
I think what my biggest worry is, is if I ever have to have another lumbar puncture again, it terrifies me.
The Consultants, Doctors and Nurses from the DGRI were life savers. I was really well looked after and can't thank them enough.