Meningitis in your words

Robyn Jackson's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Child 6-12
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Sight problems
Robyn Jackson

December 2010, I am 11 years old at the time.

On a normal school day at about 10am, I get a horrible headache. The headache just came upon me, very suddenly. I had just assumed that I was thirsty, as I hadn't had much to eat or drink that morning. I thought this was very strange because I never get headaches as a way of my body telling me that I am hungry or thirsty. So I drank quite a lot of cold water, thinking it would help. It didn't help, so I thought maybe I was just really hungry, which again I thought was strange because I don't get headaches if I am hungry or thirsty. 

The headache only got worse during the course of the day and by the time I got home by 4:30 I went straight to bed and slept the whole night through. 

I was woken up at 6:00 the next morning, after sleeping for nearly 14 hours. I immediately cried out to my mum, because I had felt much worse than I did the day before. 

After that, I ran to the bathroom and vomited, I stayed off school that day and went to the hospital. They told me that there was a bug going around, so they gave me paracetamol and sent me home. 

This pattern continued over the course of four days, in which time I developed a stiff neck, constantly vomiting and had a strong dislike to bright lights. 

On December 16th 2010, I went to the hospital as I had been for the past few days before, my mum had asked the doctor whether I had meningitis, because she had seen a medical segment of a morning show that in order to have meningitis you can have those specific symptoms, but you didn't need the rashes, because they may show up later or possibly not at all. 

"I still suffer to an extent to this day, nearly seven years later."

The doctor assured us, that I didn't have meningitis, because I didn't have the rashes over my skin. So as I had been told for so many days previously, they told me that it was just a bug that was going around and they sent me back home again. 

On December 17th 2010, it was roughly 7:30am when I woke up, vomiting and feeling worse than ever. I was being aided by my mum and nan, barely able to stand by myself and rushed into the bathroom to be sick. That's when, in the hallway, I collapsed to the floor, bringing my mum down with me. 

I lost all memory of what happened that day. I was taken to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with viral meningitis. Bearing in mind, this was at the same hospital where I was told for four days in a row that I just had the bug over Christmas.

I was then transferred over to another hospital where I was in a critical condition. It took me two and a half weeks to recover from this illness and I was released from the hospital on January 1st 2011, on New Year’s Day.

I still suffer to an extent to this day, nearly seven years later. I suffer with cluster headaches mainly in the left side of my head, and I have problems with my sight such as often blurriness and double vision. So I often have to wear glasses. I also suffer from severe fatigue, so I can be up for barely a couple of hours before I need to go to sleep again because I feel tired where I can sleep for two or three hours at a time.

Robyn Jackson
July 2017