The ambulance arrived and I was taken to A&E at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. Initially I was still being sick and had diarrhoea and was losing consciousness every so often. The nurses found it very difficult to check my vital signs as they couldn't seem to find any veins to take any blood, but eventually were able to do this. I must have been given something to stop me from being sick as I remember sitting up not feeling quite as bad. The doctor said I had a severe case of gastro-enteritis. But a little while after this I called a nurse because I was beginning to find it difficult to breathe.
A nurse came to check me and whilst doing so looked at my feet and lower legs. I can remember thinking: 'Why are you looking at my feet; it is my head that hurts?' I was then suddenly moved to a resuscitation room and my breathing became increasingly difficult and I was terrified at what was happening. My parents and Steve came into the room and a doctor said they were going to make me go to sleep so a machine could breathe for me, which would make me more comfortable. By this time I really didn't care what they did to me - I couldn't think straight and all I wanted was to feel better.
Unbeknown to me, my parents and Steve had been told I had contracted meningitis and septicaemia. Due to the fact I'd had the disease for four days all my major organs had begun to shut down - in effect I was dying and my only chance of survival was to be put on life support. My body was using all its energy to breathe, so the machine would breathe for me, giving my body the chance to fight the disease. My parents and Steve were told my chance of survival was 30% and they had to prepare for the fact I would probably not wake up from the sedation. All three of them had to come in and say 'goodbye' but not to give me any indication that there was a serious problem as the doctor felt this would panic me.
My memory of my initial stay in hospital is quite sketchy - I know I was taken to ICU where the staff proceeded to give me massive doses of antibiotics every two hours. The drugs I was being given were incredibly strong and they had side effects - I hallucinated, had nightmares and was paranoid. Unfortunately I suppose due to the fact no-one really knew how much I could hear or was aware of, these side effects weren't explained to me so my mind was a very frightening place. I spent 10 days in ICU and for the entire time was on life support - this is quite unusual as people tend to only spend a few days on life support. Being on the machine for this amount of time had caused me to completely lose my voice and my lungs were irritated by the tubing going down my throat.
Luckily I made good progress and after 10 days I was moved to a high dependency ward - whilst on this ward I was taken out of the sedation. This was very traumatic - I can remember coming around and a nurse was sat by my bed. She told me her name, where I was, what I had wrong with me, the date and time - I cried and asked for my mum. I was very confused and spent a good hour crying, especially as it was around 9.30am and my mum wouldn't be allowed in until visiting hours at 11am.