Meningitis in your words

Rata Sidwell's story

  • Location: New Zealand
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Hearing problems
Rata Sidwell

Hi from New Zealand, I am a 48 yr female. I have had VM twice.

The first time, Xmas Eve 2010, I presented with nausea, a bout of diarrhoea that graduated to photophobia, dizziness and a massive headache. I went home that night and on Xmas morning felt just as bad but did the presents giving and breakfast at a friend’s place, but was very ill.

"I was experiencing vertigo whenever I moved my head"

My twin sister, a nurse, contacted our free Medical Helpline for advice. I was driven to an afterhours but was met immediately by an ambo that took me to hospital. Spinal tap was done and verification of VM - was put into isolation for 7 days. It took about 2 months to slowly come right as I ended up with a secondary lung infection.

Just recently, mid May 2014, I was experiencing vertigo whenever I moved my head. Then a week later my nose started dripping. It led to a bout of vomiting, photophobia, splitting headache; again off to the doctor who said I may have meningitis but to go home and call the next day. By then I was in excruciating pain - I went to hospital and was kept in overnight after a spinal tap confirmed VM. Treated with Acyclovir - although have no trace of the herpes virus. It took some time to find pain relief. Which finally came in the form of Tramadol.

"My short term memory is rubbish"

I was sent home and told to manage the pain with 50mg of Tram every 8 hours, panadol and ibuprofen every 4 hours. I was a mess. I live alone but wrote up a tight medication schedule and set alarms to keep on top of the pain. I ended up back in hospo 2 more times to assist with pain management. I would tire incredibly easily. Even walking to the bathroom in my tiny cottage would leave me drained.

I am quite forgetful now - my short term memory is rubbish! I wake each morning and all my joints ache like the dream monsters have put massive staples through me. I was training for a 1/2 Ironman (Dec 2014) but that has all gone out the window. And I respect that our bodies get so knocked around by am eating lots of veges via juice and trying to keep myself positive. During my 2 months off work I honestly thought I was going mad with the constant pain in my head. Grateful to be alive and kicking!!

Thanks for reading.

Rata Sidwell
May 2014