Meningitis in your words

Lynne Harding's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Other
Lynne Harding

This time last year (March 2010) I had been suffering from painful joints and flu like symptoms. I had recently started a new job in a day nursery and thought it was because of all the germs I had picked up from the children.

On the weekend of the 19th March I had been looking forward to a night in London with my sisters and friends to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday. On the Friday morning I awoke with an awful earache which did not subside all day despite me taking several strong painkillers.

The following morning I should have been catching the train to London but felt so ill I made my apologies and stayed in bed. I didn't know quite how I felt, just that I knew I could not get up and get myself dressed and have to go out and about. I hoped I would feel better later and even talked about meeting the girls later.

I slept on and off most of the morning but by the afternoon I started vomiting which continued until around 7pm that evening. At no stage of me feeling ill did I imagine it could be anything serious.

"I then found out how lucky I was to be alive"

The last memory I had then was of me either falling asleep (around 8pm) or passing out as I don't remember anything else until I was woken up four days later in intensive care. I then found out how lucky I was to be alive as my husband and family had been told that I may not make it. I was then told that on the previous Sunday morning I was unresponsive but my husband thought that as I had had a very restless night, I was just tired.

During that morning, while my husband and son had popped out, my other son, Cameron, who was 14 at the time, realised that I was not well at all and posted statuses on Facebook saying that I was acting strange and looked at him as if I did not know who he was. He tried to keep me in bed and said I was so hot he also tried to get me to drink some water and take some Calpol. Knowing something was very wrong, he then rang my husband to come home and an ambulance was called.

As I was confused and aggressive, they had an idea it could be meningitis. Pneumococcal meningitis was diagnosed on arrival at A & E by a lumbar puncture and several blood tests. I also went on to have viral meningitis and had a face full of sore scabs.

I woke up to suffer double vision, my eyes were crossed and my ears still hurt and were full of fluid. These all gradually cleared up and I was discharged after nearly four weeks in hospital.

To date, I am still not working and do not always feel very confident. I still suffer from occasional headaches and have permanent aching limbs. All in all, I am so lucky to be alive and have not got too drastic side effects. I feel very emotional all the time, especially when I hear people talking about it, I like to hear events that have happened as I had no recollection of them. My family and friends were fantastic and still are.

Many people think meningitis is mostly caught by small children but it is not and the symptoms are not always easy to spot.

Lynne Harding
March 2011