Meningitis in your words

Louise Davies's story

  • Location: UK
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Outcome: Full recovery
  • After effects: None
I contracted meningitis in March 1989 when I was only 19 years old.

I was in the middle of my A Levels retake year having failed dismally the year before. I had finished with my first boyfriend after a bad break up, having felt pretty low and had ironically felt like I was getting myself back on track until the night of the college fashion show. I was looking forward to going out with my new friends and watching many of my college pals strutting their stuff. I had felt a bit under the weather all day but I didn't want that to spoil my evening at all. Half way through the evening I remember going to the toilet and as I was reapplying my make up with my friends my legs felt very loose and achy. My friend Rosie who could drive asked me if I felt unwell and said she would be happy to take me home. I never made it to the pub!

As soon as I got home I started vommiting everywhere and feeling very unwell. My mum put me to bed and said to wake her up if I felt more unwell in the night. By the morning I had photophobia, the start of scepticaemia, and I thought there were bees attacking me in my bedroom and felt very unwell. My mum came home from work at lunchtime as she was so worried and as soon as she saw me she put me in a cold bath not knowing what was going on as my temperature was so high. She then called the doctor. And in 30 minutes he had arrived and within 5 minutes had called the ambulance and administered some penicillin.

I then can't remember much at all other than the ambulance man holding my head still in the ambulance and waking up when we got to the hosiptal. But I was in and out of consciousness all the time after that.  I know they took a lumber puncture but I can't remember it and I could hear the faint sobs of my mum in the distance on and off.

I then remember so hard trying to wake up as I could hear my mum, Dad and brother in the room but couldn't tell them that I was alright. That was very frustrating. Eventually I woke up worried about not finishing my Hamlet essay apparently so the nurse said. I had lost a lot of weight and found that my hearing had now multiplied - so much so that the bag my mum had in her basket was excrutiating loud to my ears as she brought out a new night shirt.

In the end, I recovered well through lots of help from my family and friends. I am so grateful to my mum who acted so quickly as I would have never gained my A Levels, my degree and my teaching qualification as well as my Masters and met my lovely husband and had two lovely boys and a successful career. 

Mums really do know best. They have a sixth and seventh sense that springs in to action when needed.

Listen to your MUM!

Louise Davies
November 2023

Recognise the signs and get help as soon as possible. Listen to your body.

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