Meningitis in your words

Lesley Marshall's story

  • Location: UK
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Scarring - skin damage, Headaches

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 (accidents and emergency) 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 antivirals 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 antivirals 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, if I ever have to have another lumbar puncture again, it terrifies me.

The consultants, doctors and nurses from the DGRI (Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary) were life savers. I was really well looked after and can't thank them enough.

Lesley Marshall
December 2023

Don’t be fobbed off by doctors if you feel that something isn’t right, insist to be seen by a specialist or go straight to A&E.

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