My dad arrived and I told him I needed to go to hospital. He said we should go to the GP as we had the appointment. On the way to the surgery I was violently sick four times. I was in a bad state sitting in the doctor’s room – not able to concentrate, headache, shivering/hot fever, generally not with it, lethargic etc. The doctor told me she would contact the ambulance on a non-emergency call and in the meantime I should take paracetamol and drink some water. I did this when I got to my parents’ home but they came back up as I vomited again several times. I laid down on the sofa and put a blanket over myself. I don't remember anything until I was shaken awake by a paramedic. I remember moaning and complaining of how I was feeling, I wasn't able to tell them some information and I remember feeling quite disorientated. They put me in the ambulance and I deteriorated badly and they blue lighted me to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. I remember waking up in a ward to four doctors surrounding me. In that time I’d had two MRI scans and the doctors had told my parents I may have to be moved to intensive care, and they didn't know if I was going to be lucky enough to make it through a second time.
After the first night in hospital the chance of survival improved and I was awake and chirpy one day then sleeping and feeling ill the next.
I remember on a bad day when the doctors were still unsure if I would make it through I held my mum and cried 'Am I going to die? Please don't let me mum, I've got so much left to do'.
I remember her telling me I would be OK and not to think like that.
I remained in hospital for two weeks, and gradually got better. I was allowed to return home and a district nurse had to come and continue my IV treatment.
My shoulder was diagnosed as having septic arthritis, however it is unknown if this was linked to the meningitis or not.
I had a follow up appointment and it showed I have a possible toll like receptor defect and still have a poor response to type 18C. It has been shown that patients with toll like receptor defects can have recurrent problems with pneumococcus. The doctors are still awaiting the information about the type of meningitis of my recent infection and my specific antibody results.
I am now taking 500mg of penicillin twice a day for life instead of amoxicillin.
I still remain a medical mystery but it seems more information is being found out about me to explain everything, but to this day why I have been through what I have is not clear.
When I see people who have suffered this disease and come away with after-effects or disabilities I feel guilty that I have been through it twice and have come away with nothing wrong. I feel for the people who are suffering bereavement too and you are inspirations to the people who have been through this and not lost a relative or loved one.
There needs to be more awareness of the severity of this disease and how it affects the people and relatives that have gone through it.
I am now aiming towards becoming a paramedic.
Thank you for taking your time to read my story :) x