Meningitis in your words

Nathan Borg's story

  • Location: Australia
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Hearing problems
Nathan Borg
Nathan Borg - Meningitis in your words

Neighbours actor, Nathan Borg, lost his hearing after contracting meningitis at just three months old. He then went on to have meningitis once more in 2015 when he was aged 19. He feels it is important to share survivor stories to support others and raise awareness. Nathan also feels positively about how meningitis has affected him, stating that he loves being deaf, as it has shaped the person he is today. 

In August 1996,  I was only three months old. On a Saturday afternoon, my mother realised that I seemed quite unsettled.  


By midnight, I was constantly crying and my mother thought I had a cold. She steamed the bathroom with the door closed to help with my breathing as it seemed I was struggling to breathe. Moments later, I fell asleep again but the next morning, I was very quiet and didn’t have much movement. 


My sister Megan realised that my lips and chin were blue. So my mother called her friend, Robyn, to drive her to Bacchus Marsh Hospital. The doctor sent me in the ambulance to Sunshine Hospital. Mum and the doctor were concerned because there was a meningitis plague happening in town. 


At Sunshine Hospital, I was given a spinal tap and some blood tests. They diagnosed me with viral meningitis. 


I was given medication to fight the virus, but the side effects of the medication meant I could potentially become deaf, blind, or suffer brain damage. However, my parents didn't care about the side effects; they just wanted me to survive, as the doctor mentioned that it was likely I would die if I wasn't treated. 


I stayed in the hospital for a week and a half and then got sent home for further recovery.

I believe it's important to share these survival stories to support others, so they don't feel alone and give awareness for people to understand that meningitis can be dangerous.

Four months later, when I was seven months old, the health nurse visited and decided to do a random hearing test. They tried different sounds behind my back, but I wasn't reacting.

My mother was confused because she thought I was usually reacting to sounds, but it seemed like I was reacting to vibrations. 

Nathan Borg as a child

The health nurse told my mother that I should get further tests. My mother and my grandfather (Pop) took me to Hearing Australia in Ballarat.

In 2015, when I was 19 years old, I was camping at a caravan park with my parents in Warrnambool.

I became quite ill with a high fever. My parents thought I had the flu, but the sickness got worse over time, so they took me to Warrnambool Hospital.

The doctors believed that I had meningitis again, which meant I had to undergo a spinal tap. I had never felt so much pain in my life that I passed out from the gas. The drugs made me highly emotional, and I started bawling my eyes out to my sister on FaceTime, begging her to fly to Melbourne. She was living in Alice Springs at the time. I was thinking it would only take a few minutes but that’s not the case. It's a memory that I will always laugh about.

I was stuck in the hospital for a few more days. The doctors never figured out what was wrong, even though I had all the symptoms of meningitis. Unfortunately, I am at high risk of potentially getting it again in the future.

I had ruined the family holidays, as after the hospital recovery, we travelled three hours back home.

I believe it's important to share these survival stories to support others, so they don't feel alone and give awareness for people to understand that meningitis can be dangerous. We need to find better ways of treating and fighting meningitis in a safe way.

Though on the positive side, it’s not a disappointing outcome - I absolutely love being deaf because it’s shaped me into who I am today. 

Nathan Borg

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