Georgina Allen

Georgina Allen

Georgina Allen
County Wicklow
Georgina Had Bacterial Meningitis In 2009
Aged 19 Years

My name is Georgina. I would like to share my story and highlight the importance of being aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis. I contracted meningitis at the age of 19 and spent my 20th birthday in hospital on the 28th of August 2009. The doctors couldn’t confirm if it was bacterial meningitis, but they treated me for it then and also 2 months later. I woke at about 5:30am in the morning, with an awful headache and I got up to go to the bathroom, as I felt I was going to be sick and sure enough I was vomiting. I went back to bed to try and sleep it off, as I had to work later that morning driving the taxi for my dad. So I went back to sleep and slept until 11:00am. I got up and still wasn’t feeling the best, but as I suffer from migraines, I put it down to this.

My parents advised me if I wasn’t feeling well that I should go back to bed and sleep it off, as I had always done before, when I had a migraine. I went back to bed until about 3:30pm and when I got up, my mother checked me over and said if the headaches are still bad, that I should go get checked out with the doctor, as sleep didn’t seem to be helping me. I had really bad headaches, stiff neck and vomiting, so I went to my GP, who diagnosed me with suspected meningitis and referred me to the hospital. I went to hospital and was seen straight away. They started me on antibiotics immediately and later I had a lumbar puncture, to diagnose meningitis. I was put into quarantine and moved to a ward.

I was in quarantine for 5 days and only family were allowed to visit me. They had to wear protective clothing, in case they would contract it. I had my smart phone and I looked up what it was on the internet, as I wasn’t really aware of meningitis, but quickly learnt. I was let out for the day on the 2nd of September, as it was my 20th birthday. My mother treated me to getting my hair done, so I went home and relaxed for the day, had a few visitors and it was back to the hospital with me that evening. I was released and got myself back to normal, but around 2 months later, I was shopping in Carlow and didn’t feel very well. I started vomiting at the petrol station and went home. Again, I put it down to a migraine, but later my mother and father were worried, so I was taken to hospital again.

We met the ambulance along the way and as I had meningitis 2 months previously, they didn’t think it could be that, so they thought it was swine flu. They put me in isolation in a room, took tests and closed the accident and emergency, for fear it was swine flu. They later moved me to a room that was used as a store room, as they needed me to be in isolation. Later on I was moved to an isolated room and had to get another lumbar puncture, as I had symptoms like headaches, vomiting and a stiff neck. So I was kept in hospital for another week and was only released as I had my graduation in college to attend to and they weren’t sure if they should release me. They only released me the day before the graduation, but I was still on antibiotics.

But the second time I took my time getting back to my job and college, as I wasn’t 100%, but 4 years later I’m fighting fit. My advice to people is, if you are in doubt what could be wrong, get it checked out by your doctor, or go straight to accident and emergency.

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