Articles, Blog

Viral Meningitis – The Hidden Impact

December 28, 2019


Well I used to work as a physiotherapist,
I was assistant head of physiotherapy with Bro Morgannwyg Health Trust and I worked over
at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. I was full time and I went into work as usual on the
Friday – 31st January 2003 – the date is imprinted upon my soul – and I developed a bit of a
headache but nothing really made any difference, so the following morning I did my best to
carry on. I had a kip in the living room and John looked after the kids and played with
them and then he switched the lights on to ask me if I’d like a cup of tea or something
to eat and the pain, as he switched the light on, was absolute agony. We went to the Princess
of Wales Hospital and I was still trying to convince myself and the doctor that this was
just a bit of a headache, maybe I’d got sinusitis or something but the doctor was actually quite
categorical and said ‘No you’ve got something worse and I think you’re either having a cerebral
haemorrhage or you’ve got meningitis.’ I was admitted to hospital, had a CT scan, I had
a lumbar puncture and they diagnosed viral meningitis that night. It took me a couple
of years really to actually get going to any reasonable functional degree and I also had
some damage to my left ear. There are still those days where I find it very hard to actually
get up and get going. I have to plan things if I know I’m going to expend a lot of energy
one day doing something, then I have to make sure that the following day I haven’t got
much on because I know that I’ll be really absurdly tired still. In my case, although
the after effects are now less severe than they were, they’re still there and I just
have to work round them. Had I actually seen a doctor earlier and the treatment had been
started earlier it may not have been as severe as it actually was. I don’t think I really
appreciated the fact that there were two types, that there was the bacterial form and the
viral form. I was very ill and nothing much registered but I think when I left hospital
I expected, give it a few weeks, I would feel a lot better and I would be back at work and
I was then signed off as retired due to ill health. I didn’t really want to stop working
but I really didn’t have an option. It was ‘Sorry this is it but you have to go.’ That
was when the Meningitis Trust really helped me out because they put me in touch with a
counsellor. She enabled me to see that I hadn’t failed, I hadn’t done anything wrong and therefore
I wasn’t guilty of anything and that actually I had to move on. My husband has obviously
been affected, he’s had to support me emotionally and physically. He’s also, on top of all that,
had to be the sole wage earner. We simply couldn’t do the things that most families
could do and I think the children themselves and in particular our eldest son, Hugh, it
scared him. He frequently talked about the fact that, y’know ‘You’re not going to die,
are you Mummy?’ The Trust have always been there for me and I do know that if there is
a problem or there’s something that relates to this whole meningitis thing, that I can
ring them and they’ll be there for me.

16 Comments

  • Reply MikaGinelle October 13, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I was 13 when I was diagnosed with viral meningitis and the doctors just thought it was a flu at first so it went on until it reached the 3rd week when they finally found out what it was. Is it possible that it could change behavior and sleeping patterns? I used to have so much energy, but since that happened I am constantly tired I was diagnosed with Chronic fatigue syndrome because they couldn't find anything wrong I was just wondering if that could be a reason that I never have energy anymore

  • Reply Meningitis Now October 14, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Although the majority of people who have viral meningitis will make a good recovery, some people can be left with a variety of problems. Extreme tiredness or fatigue is something that can happen after a serious viral infection such as meningitis. Our website has a viral meningitis fact sheet, including a recent survey which investigated the after-effects. If you have other questions and would like a private response, email our helpline team using the details shown at the end of this video.

  • Reply Maduvha Mulaudzi September 29, 2015 at 12:57 am

    i have a stiff neck and a fever and whenever I stand i get severe headaches dat takes away my vision for a few seconds .can it be meningitis?

  • Reply Maduvha Mulaudzi September 29, 2015 at 12:57 am

    i have a stiff neck and a fever and whenever I stand i get severe headaches dat takes away my vision for a few seconds .can it be meningitis?

  • Reply Kevin Saliva February 5, 2016 at 7:53 am

    my friend died last mount in meningitis, this deceased are very very fast to kill my friend,..

  • Reply B Boiy July 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

    help someone please answer, I have a stiff neck, I've had a fever, there's a throbbing pain in the back of my head and it worsens everytime I move, light really makes me feel nauseous. I don't wanna tell my mom because I don't want her to worry. Please answer if I should be concerned!!!!

  • Reply Joost C. December 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    That's exactly what my mom had a few years ago too.
    As the docter thought it was a flue, she only rushed at the last moment to the hospital and almost died from it.
    Luckily she got better, but has to work round the hearing loss, stability problems, longterm memory loss and a visual problem when driven in a car, riding bicycle or walking around.
    Not quite easy to accept, nor for her, nor for us.
    But we get around with a lot of creativity.
    Her stability improved a lot with Nordic Walking sticks.
    Perhaps it can help another survivor too?.

  • Reply Michael Evans April 2, 2017 at 3:39 am

    I'm 4 years post Viral Meningitis- I still suffer from crippling fatigue, migraines and depression. Not many doctors know about the after effects of Viral Meningitis, or the fact that it can leave long term effects that are identical to a brain injury.

  • Reply Antonio Gutierrez June 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I had viral meningitis but had a good recovery while having it I had massive head pain for days did anybody else have that

  • Reply lisa Russell July 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I had menengitis 17 yrs ago.. about 10 yrs ago I developed a brain lesion on my brain stem, as a result I have vertigo and double vision.. can this be an after affect of the menengitis???

  • Reply Jennifer Franks March 20, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is imperative that those suffering get an early diagnosis and treatment. You are very fortunate that your doctor saw the signs and ordered the tests and that you received support after that fact. It's wonderful that your husband supported you through this and I can imagine he had to do extra parenting as well. Sickness is not anyone's fault and is not failure. Why don't people talk about what happens after this disease. They only talk about the bacterial kind. I wish there were more resources on it. God bless you.

  • Reply namnamjams June 17, 2018 at 12:35 am

    I had viral meningitis when I was three or four years old I don’t remember it at all but I do remember the cat scan or mri I had done I don’t know why my mom hasn’t told me much about it that’s why I am researching and I still have strong light sensitivity and sometime dizziness and I have fainted about three times in my life time and it was scary

  • Reply george July 6, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I am just recovering from bacterial meningitis. I was misdiagnosed and sent home. I was dying and they didn't know. I started fading, really fast. I went into a coma and septic shock. My case was really bad, I had a 10 percent chance of living. I'm glad I'm here, but the after effects are so frustrating. I lost feeling in my right (dominant) hand. Apart from just that, I had to relearn how to read, write, sit, stand, speak, eat, hold things, use the bathroom the list goes on. During the infection, a very small portion of my brain that controls feeling shut down. Which is what caused my hand to become numb. I'll never get it back again.

  • Reply pay yang October 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    how long does after effects of viral meningitis will last? my brother has viral meningitis 5 months ago and still experiencing light headache and dizziness.

  • Reply Maryjane Hilar August 5, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    My son had i bacterial meningitis 4 months ago there is posible to come back?

  • Reply 1289dude October 2, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I just got Meningitis back in March of this year. Was in the hospital for 2 months. Had a relapse of it. Had 4 Lumbar Punctures, turned out it was a mild bacterial Meningitis that turned into Viral, and later Chronic Meningitis. I'm slowly making a recovery from it. However I am experiencing fatigue, dizziness, and I have headaches or migraines on the right side, I also have a stiff neck a lot. There are days I feel well and think I am better, but then I end up getting hit by everything all at once.

    Lately my hands have been tingling a lot like they are asleep. I hope these after effects go away soon. It is really having a major impact on my job and life. A lot of people and doctors think I am faking or don't want to believe me which is very frustrating. Thankfully I have a boss that understands and my family members know what I have gone through and am still going through. I know when I do get dizzy or have headaches my face turns red and I can't fake that.

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