In the hospital ward, doctors kept asking me questions but I was unable to answer. At this stage I was semi-conscious. Next morning I was taken for a brain scan and then a lumbar puncture. I was diagnosed with meningitis and moved to a single room. Treatment began straight away that Friday but by the next Wednesday I was still not responding to the treatment. Test results then came back from Birmingham to say I had Herpes Simplex meningitis, which is a very rare form.
I was in hospital for a month. Getting back on my feet was quite slow but I made a good recovery. I have numbness at my right temple. No-one knows why, but it does not affect my day-to-day health.
I am back working at my job as a scheme co-ordinator for the elderly. I feel my work helped me to get back on my feet and I had very good support from my employers. I also got great support from the Meningitis Research Foundation team in Belfast.
I know that without medicines being available I would not be here. I try to do as much fundraising as I can because it is an awful disease.
At 52, I feel that I was not taken seriously about my illness because of my age. Meningitis is perceived as a young person's illness. I still get quite traumatised about it but I am really grateful that Ken did not allow me to be sent home with two diazepam tablets. He saved me. I am glad I am here today to tell my story.
This story is dedicated to Ken, who sadly passed away in February 2009.