Every SECOND counts. If you suspect meningitis, GET MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY. Call or see your doctor / Call an ambulance / Get to a hospital.

Malina's Story

It all began on a Tuesday afternoon. I went off to bed feeling like I was cloming down with the flu.

I woke in the early hours of Wednesday morning and I just knew something was wrong. My head was pounding. Having suffered migraines for 10 years I was used to headaches, but this was different.

I woke Mum and said we needed to go to the after hours medical centre. She asked if it could wait till the morning, no I said, something is wrong.

The doctor at after-hours checked my temperature and all the usual things. I didn’t have a temperature, no stiff neck, no rash, just a headache and sensitivity to light. He believed I had a migraine and gave me a Voltaren injection and sent me home. I explained I didn’t feel it was a migraine but I had no clue what it could be.

I came home and went to bed hoping I would wake and feel better. I woke at 6am and again knew something was very wrong. I felt nauseous, my headache was worse.I felt very unsteady on my feet and it was hard to explain to Mum just how bad I felt.

I phoned the after hours medical centre and they recommended I wait and see my normal GP. While waiting for my GP surgery to open I sat on the floor at home, rocking back and forth, unable to do much else. Mum helped me to the car as by this stage I could hardly walk or talk. Things get a little fuzzy from this point.

My GP felt I had a migrane, I again said I didn’t think it was a migraine. I still didn’t have a stiff neck, rash or temperature. My GP gave me a pethidine injection and left me with a nurse and a trainee nurse.

I began vomiting constantly and by this point I was asking mum to kill me - the pain in my head was so bad. After maybe an hour I was feeling no better. In fact by this point I don’t remember much at all. I just remember being hot and cold and vomiting over and over.

The nurse decided not to wait any longer and told the doctor we needed an ambulance. The ambulance came at road speed which seemed like forever. I don’t remember being in the ambulance at all. I remember waking at the hospital with them trying to get a line in my arm to give me painkillers. The last thing I remember is blood everywhere as I had a seizure and the line came out of my arm.

Mum has filled me in on the next part of my story.

As the doctors tried to get another line in my arm they found a couple of tiny spots on my arm. The meningitis rash. At this point things went a little crazy, I was rushed to ICU, and Mum was told to go home while they settled me into a coma and began antibiotics.

The next thing I remember is something being pulled from my throat and someone asking me what day it was. “Tuesday” I answered. “No it’s Thursday, you have meningitis and have been in a coma,” replied the person. “It can’t be I have to go out to dinner tonight, Julaine and Johnny are leaving to go to the UK.” The person who was a lovely male nurse whose name I can’t remember said, “Julaine has been to see you and lots of your other friends but you won’t be going out to dinner tonight”.

The next week is all a bit hazy, people visiting and telling me I scared the shit out of them, flowers arriving from my best friend and his brother in the UK, more visits and people telling me they had come and sat with me while I was in the coma.

I found it all very overwhelming seeing as I don’t remember nearly two days.

I was told how lucky I was, that they didn’t think I was going to survive. That I was lucky I hadn’t lost limbs, that I hadn’t lot my hearing. And I feel I definitely was lucky!

I still have many after effects that I will have forever. Headaches, fatigue, concentration and memory issues. It has taken me a long time to get used to all these things, but after 12 years I’m beginning to really know my limits and work with them.

I am so very lucky the doctor at the hospital noticed the tiny rash otherwise the ending to this story may have been very different.  


Disclaimer - The Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand promotes the prevention, control and awareness of meningitis. It is not a professional medical authority. The text on this website provides general information about meningitis and septicaemia, not medical advice. It is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of these diseases. Please consult your doctor to discuss the information or if you are concerned someone may be ill.

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