On the evening of Sunday 11th September 2005 I went to bed feeling fine.
With in a few hours, I was vomiting and in pain, I felt tired but I couldn't sleep, my neck and back hurt and my headache was unlike any headache I'd ever suffered before.
On the morning of Monday 12th September (the next day) my symptoms were a lot worse.
I was so ill I couldn't look at the light as it hurt my eyes, even the day-light outside was a strain on them.
I couldn't even get my 5 year old daughter ready for school and take her that, instead I had to ask my mother who was visiting at the time.
I was scared, I didn't know what was wrong.
At the time I lived less than a minutes walk from my doctor.
I somehow managed to get to him, he examined me and told me to go straight to hospital as he thought I had meningitis.
I went home and my parents drove me to hospital, stopping at least 5 times during the 20 minute drive there as I was violently vomiting.
I arrived at A&E, rather than taking a seat and waiting, they took me straight through to the doctors.
I was examined and admitted with meningitis.
I was taken to an isolation room.
My parents were allowed in after about 3 hours but only while wearing white gowns and face masks.
I was given a lumbar puncture, a procedure where I had to lie on my side with my legs lifted up to my chin and a needle is inserted into the lower part of the spine.
Fluid is withdrawn for testing.
The procedure took approximately 30-45 minutes to complete..
Next I was attached to an IV drip where antibodies were used to kill the bacteria.
Apparently I don't have very good visible veins so trying to insert the IV drip took sometime.
I was poked and prodded and all while I was vomiting in between.
The nurse tried to insert the IV drip on my hand and failed so tried the other and yet again failed.
Then she tried via my arm and failed, she then tried the other arm but again failed.
Then a doctor tried my hands and arms and he too failed.
Eventually he was able to attach the IV drip through my foot.
I was bruised due to the failed attempts.
I was in hospital, in the isolation room for a total of 5 days and during that time I was parted from my 5 year old daughter.
Only my parents were allowed to visit.
I was heartbroken, not being able to hold, hug and kiss my little girl.
Eventually I recovered and I was allowed home.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining to the brain and spinal cord which are protected by membranes.
Membranes are structures that act as a lining of protection, or partition in an organism.
There are two types of meningitis; bacterial and viral.
Bacterial is the most serious of the two.
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can develop hours or over a few days.
Early symptoms can mimic flu like symptoms.
Signs to look for in birth to 2 years;
High fever, constant crying, sluggishness, lack of appetite, excessive sleepiness, a bulge in the soft spot on the top of the baby's head also known as the fontanel, stiffness in the body and neck.
Signs to look for in 2 years to adulthood;
Stiff neck, sensitivity to light, no appetite, no thirst, headache, nausea/vomiting, high fever, seizures, concentration difficulty, sleepiness/hard to wake, (sometimes but not always) a rash.
Viral meningitis also known as non bacterial meningitis is less serious but still a worry.
The cause can be a number of different viruses.
Adults can get it but mostly its just children..
The signs to look for in both children and adults are;
Headache, fever, stiff neck, sore throat, fatigue, rash (but not always).
Symptoms can appear with in one week of exposure.