To this day, no one has been able to determine how this occurred in me, despite examining me for puncture wounds. I don't remember any of the time I spent in intensive care, apart from having hallucinations of moving wallpaper on the ceiling. I woke up in a general ward with a catheter and no idea of why I was there.
Whilst on the general ward I was very confused for the first week, didn't eat for the first eight days and my husband had to keep telling me what had happened, and what day it was. I was unable to shower myself, read or watch TV as I couldn't concentrate and suffered severe neck pain. I had problems with my vision, had difficulty walking due to the collection of blood in one of my feet and became very weak due to severe anaemia. I felt depressed and miserable though I couldn't explain why. I was allowed to go home after 14 days of intravenous antibiotics and spent 14 weeks at home recuperating, initially needing a seat in the shower, a walking stick, and a wheelchair to get out of the house.
My blood count returned to normal after a month of iron tablets, but reading and writing was impossible for the first eight weeks and I still have days now when I can't write the letters of familiar words in the correct order. Reading anything but a short paragraph or two is still a problem as I can't remember what I've just read and I still have severe memory problems, confusion and disorientation and weakness in my limbs.
It is only with the help of the Meningitis Research Foundation that I have established that all of these things can be side effects of both meningitis and septicaemia. My husband found the Foundation's website when I reached desperation point. Having returned to work on a part-time basis, I found I could no longer do the work I'd previously done, and my hospital consultant just put it all down to stress. Fortunately my GP referred me to a neurologist who also confirmed the symptoms I was experiencing. I contacted the helpline to talk about the emotional effects of the illness and after six months of feeling awful, I started to find ways of dealing with what had happened to me. I'm now waiting to see a neuro-psychologist to find ways of dealing with my memory problems.