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Natasha’s Viral Meningitis Story | Meningitis Now

December 21, 2019


Well the day before was just like any other
day looking after my toddler and baby at the time. I felt a little bit run down, a little
bit tired, nothing really out of the ordinary. Around dinner time I started to feel a little
bit sick, so I just got an early night, put my head down and thought I’d feel better in
the morning. As soon as I opened my eyes I had the most searing pain in my head, it was
the worst headache I have ever had in my life. It felt like a pressure building up from the
inside out. The pain was in my eyes, it was in my ears, in my throat – it felt like it
was everywhere. I had severe sensitivity to light, couldn’t look at my phone screen. Yeah,
it was quite scary for a while, not knowing what was going on. I was having some seizure
activity as well. I was having what they call ‘myoclonic jerks’ which is like the jumps
that you get when you’re falling asleep. I had a little look on Google, as you do. Google
came up with, initially, meningitis which I dismissed because I’ve never known any adult
to get meningitis before, I think people are under the impression that it’s mostly children.
So yeah, I dismissed that, as well as I didn’t have the characteristic rash that everybody
knows the glass test. So I thought ‘Oh it can’t be meningitis.’ I spent a long time
actually trying to convince myself that it was nothing serious and that I would just
get better throughout the day, which I didn’t. I did put into Google ‘The worst headache
of my life’ which did, immediately, pop up with meningitis and I also did a lot of searches
where I said ‘When do I seek medical attention for a headache?’ It did come up, when it’s
been the worst headache of your life, if you have sensitivity to light, or a very stiff neck which I did, I couldn’t turn my head to either side or up or down. The symptoms started when I first woke up really. I think I left it a good six hours to try and improve,
I was in bed the whole time but I was just progressively getting worse and the seizures
were becoming more frequent and closer together. So I decided to call 111. They asked me to
go to out of hours and obviously, being unable to get out of bed, let alone lift my head
up off the pillow, I couldn’t make it to out of hours, even in a taxi which they suggested.
They had a paramedic turn up in a car and he did some tests, just my blood pressure
and my pulse and temperature which all came back relatively okay but he was still concerned
about the headache, the stiff neck, the light sensitivity and the fact that I was having
these seizures, which I’d never had before. The doctors were very, very busy in A&E, there
were a lot of people going past and not a lot of people coming into the room to check
on me, which I found very frightening, I felt very alone at that point. I didn’t have anybody
with me so I was on my own, not knowing why I was having these seizures. At one point,
my hand seized up like a claw and I was trying to phone my mum at the time to tell her that
I was in hospital and I couldn’t even move my hand, it was fixed in that position, which
is very frightening. The doctors didn’t really take it seriously until I had a lumbar puncture and the results came back as meningitis. Having a lumbar puncture was quite scary, you have
to stay very, very still and lay on your side, and not move, which is very unnatural – you
want to breathe and fidget. You have a local anaesthetic, which stops the pain of the larger
needle going into your spine but it’s still very uncomfortable and you can feel the needle
moving around in your back and you’re led there for quite a long time while they get the amount
of fluid that they need. It’s quite a slow process, it’s like a drip, drip, drip. I was in and out of hospital with the meningitis for two weeks. I was there for one week, initially,
and then I was sent home for two days. I was readmitted because of worsening symptoms,
they weren’t getting better and then I was in for another week in the hospital. It took quite a long time to recover, I was very dizzy and spaced out, slightly worse vision, the
tinnitus got a lot worse. I regularly have quite a loud ringing in my ears all the time. I find I’m quite sensitive to loud noises and bright lights still. I would say don’t
wait with seeking medical attention, it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to
call them, I felt like I was wasting their time. Had it been bacterial meningitis, I may
not be here now. If I had waited for a rash, I may not be here. It’s very very scary, it
happens very, very quickly and I think people need to take it more seriously when they have
any of the symptoms related to meningitis.

12 Comments

  • Reply Top Hat August 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I had the same illness 1990

  • Reply Top Hat August 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I was in a comma for 2 weeks.

  • Reply Karen Mitchell January 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I had viral meningitis when I was 11 which was back in 1975, I was going into sixth grade. I had a severe headache and passed out on the floor. My mom took me to the ER where I was diagnosed. I was in the hospital for about a week. I ended up having memory loss , a complication from the disease.

  • Reply Jennifer Franks March 20, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Very sorry that the doctors did not take you seriously. Sorry to say this is common with younger women.

  • Reply John Wilder April 4, 2018 at 1:23 am

    when I was a baby the doctor thought I had meningitis

  • Reply Alice Turnbull April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    what has this world come too when you have to pose for a selfie at a hospital bed to let the whole world know you got meningitis. I swear some people are so full of it mind. ?

  • Reply WouldYouJust _ August 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    My husband contracted this when he was 11. His mom went to wake him up for the doctor appointment she'd scheduled (she thought he had the flu) and she couldn't wake him. He ended up in a coma for 3 weeks. The doctors said they wanted to turn off his life support, his mother had his last rites performed. They said even if he did wake up he'd be a vegetable, and would never be himself again. The morning they were going to turn everything off he woke up, sat straight up and ripped his tubes out of his throat. Then he called his best friend. The fact he could remember the phone number, let alone speak, completely amazed everyone. He walked out of the hospital 4 days later like nothing happened. Completely wild. I'm glad this lady ended up ok too❤️

  • Reply JP DREAM TEAM September 9, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I had it when i was 16 and was left in a coma for 7 days. I had to learn how to read and walk all over again

  • Reply Nico Flagne Olalo January 11, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    i've been 16 days at tha hospital and many things and person's i can't remember .. So much pain on headache

  • Reply Graham Costello January 20, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Good to see you doing well, I had sceptic meningitis and encephalitis when I was 39, I had surgery on my brain to remove a massive abscess. It's definitely not only children that can get this horrible disease, thanks for sharing your story

  • Reply DaFamous Esavage April 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    I had this when i went to mexico. 1 week later it went away without any antibiotics or medicine. Worst feeling ever

  • Reply Tyler Neeland December 5, 2019 at 1:20 am

    Got this when I was 21….hospitalized for 5 days and nights. Worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I wasn’t even the same for about a month after the fact.

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