Meningitis in your words

Naomi Aylott's story

  • Location: UK
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
NaomiAylott
NaomiAylott - Meningitis in your words
In July last year, at the age of 45, I fell spectacularly ill with Viral Meningitis following a tick bite on my arm. My initial symptom was a jelly-like spine - I guess if I was a baby, I would have gone all floppy but as an adult, I felt the oddest sensation in my spine. I had a headache for a day which I managed to cure with over the counter medication but then the following day my head felt like it was in a vice and I couldn't think straight at all. The following day I woke up to sickness and diarhoea and with the headache and jelly-spine - I went to the doctor.

I thought all I needed was antibiotics and would feel better in a few day's time. Thankfully my doctor acted quickly and when she observed that I couldn't walk in a straight line, she sent me straight to the local hospital and instructed that I didn't drive myself there. When I got to hospital, the lights were really bright and and I just kept looking at the floor. The doctors could see that I was struggling with the bright lights and admitted me since I had a medley of unusual symptoms.

I was treated for Lyme's disease, meningitis and septicemia. On day 3, none of the results were coming back clear for the illnesses and the only way to test for meningitis was with a lumbar puncture. This was performed and the results came back the following morning. I was then discharged from hospital on day 5. I was unable to lean forward for the first week after the lumbar pucnture as the spinal fluid needed to settle. I was also unable to walk for a week or so and needed a walking stick.

I have been left with heightened senses, anxiety, photosensitivity, a completely new prescription for my glasses as my sight in fact improved (though I now have reading glasses and those for distance) and sensitivity to hearing behind me. On the plus side, I am now back running again as I was before and complete regular parkruns which is aiding my mental health and wellbeing.

Since coming home, my dog Buddy has been by my side and is really aiding my continued recovery. I'll never be the same again as meningitis changes you forever but I am feeling more positive about the future as each day passes. 

There is hope beyond meningitis but do please give it time... I am not a patient patient, and even 6 months down the line, I am still very much affected by my experience last summer but rather than looking back, I am choosing to look forward to a brighter future.

Naomi Aylott in recovery

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