In my case, the symptoms were I didn’t feel very good, a low fever and my throat was really scratchy.
At the beginning, my doctor thought it was laryngitis, so I got a prescription to treat this but then a few days after I didn’t get better, and then I started to get a stiff neck. My neck was really stiff, like when you’re tired but really amplified and the main thing was the light sensitivity – I was literally like a vampire when someone was switching on the light!
I went to sleep normally and what happened after that was I woke up a few days later in hospital. I found out afterwards that my mum went to see me in the morning and I didn’t respond at all, not any noise – nothing. She understood something was wrong, she called my doctor and he recognised straight away the symptom of meningitis, so he called the emergency room.
These quick actions saved my life but only after I spent several days in a coma and despite it being “written in black and white” that “ I could die”. The road to recovery took more than a year after I lost 20 kilos, which left me physically weak, while my memory was also severely impacted.
When my family came [to the hospital], I spoke a little and I recognised them, but I could not put a name [to them], not even my parents, my brother, sister, nobody. So, I understood that something went very wrong.
I have made an almost complete recovery. I still suffer from post-traumatic stress when placed in a hospital environment from the near-death experience as well as back pain caused by medical procedures.
I'm keen to do more around meningitis knowing my experience of the disease could save someone’s life.
I didn’t like to talk about it [at first] because I didn’t want people having some mercy or pity for me. But then I realised that it’s impacting more and more people, youngsters or young adults like me. I was like, that’s stupid that I would not talk about it, not say what are the symptoms.