I dozed off for maybe 30 minutes but awoke with a stronger pain in my head. I decided to have another aspirin. I lay down again and as time passed my headache became more painful, by this time looking back I think I was dazed and going downhill fast. I tried to go back to sleep thinking that it must be a strong flu bought on from my exploits the night before and that in the morning I’d be as right as rain.
It could have been another 30 minutes before I acted again but it seemed like 30 hours trying to get some sleep. It must have been about 2-3am when I rummaged through my student starter pack and found a doctor’s telephone number. I put on a jacket and stumbled to the payphone down the road. Luckily someone picked up and after I blabbered gibberish, they said they would send a doctor to the Halls.
After returning to my room and laying back down on my bed my head was banging and I was very very groggy. I don’t know how long had passed but it seemed an eternity until there was a knock at my door. I mumbled something and in came the doctor (I think!). He looked at me, pulled out some needles and bottles and the next I know I’m being wheeled into the ambulance. From that moment onwards till three weeks later I don’t remember anything.
I woke up in an old hospital out on the Moors in Yorkshire, it reminded me of the hotel in One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. I was weak, had grown a beard by now and there was a constant stream of doctors visiting me.
Two further weeks passed and they allowed me to return home 'down south' as my Northern friend from York would say!
I returned to university after Christmas, still low on energy but determined to carry on. I passed my first year and continued on to complete my Honours Degree with a respectable 2:1.
I met a Spanish lady while doing my placement year and have since moved to Spain, working in a reputable company, learning Spanish from scratch and now speaking it fluently and happily married with two sons.
The events from nearly 20 years ago are forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life but from time to time, something jogs my memory and I realise more and more how lucky I was and how much I owe to the doctor who identified this devastating disease so quickly. Thank you
Stephen Paul Veness