Amanda - I had viral meningitis twice!!

I had viral meningitis on two separate occasions, once in 2001 when I was 35 years old and again in 2003 when I was 37 years old. One Saturday in January 2001

I experienced severe back/neck pain, which felt like a pinched nerve/slipped disc. I decided to take some pain relief medication to relieve the pain and to knock me out. However I would wake up the same, just dopey.

I went to the beach to relax, but found I had to hide from the sun. I was very photophobic; nothing helped - hat, sunnies, shade from a tree, hiding back in the car.

By Sunday the pain was worse, walking was getting harder, every step thumped through my head and back. My eyes ached; it was even painful to blink.

At about 4pm I went to the weekend doctor, who gave me a letter and told me to go straight to the hospital. The letter stated I should be seen immediately. Lots of questions, vomiting and pain relief medication followed. I was finally given a lumbar puncture at 9pm. I was admitted with viral meningitis at approximately 11pm. I spent nine days in hospital and had numerous doses of an antiviral medication. The medication seemed to be very strong stuff and kept shutting down my veins. All I wanted was to be home. My husband & kids missed me and I missed them but I was told I needed peace & quiet.

When I finally did get home, I did admittedly still feel quite fragile and still had headaches etc.

I returned to work after 2 months and I was told not to push it. It probably took me 5 months to feel back to 'ME' again. I realised I had become very run down after being extremely busy and working long hours at work.

In November 2003 I again started to feel run down. I had been working long hours and being a Mum caring for two sons (i.e. taking them to and from school, to sport etc.). - Just normal MUM life!

I went to the doctor at about 9am on a Monday morning with back/neck pain. I suggested, 'IT' (meningitis) was back again. The doctor did not think that I had meningitis again and suggested the pain was due to the way I worked. The doctor suggested I take some pain relief medication, do some stretches, and sleep it off.

At about 5am on the Tuesday I woke my husband and asked him to take me to the hospital - IT'S BACK!!

I arrived at the hospital and was subjected to many questions; I vomited a number of times and was given pain relief medication. I kept telling them 'IT' (meningitis), was back. I was given a lumbar puncture and - surprise, surprise it was viral meningitis.

I was in hospital five days on antiviral medication again. I was treated by the same 'neuro' doctor that I had when I was first admitted with viral meningitis. It was unclear how I had managed to get viral meningitis again. Apparently the virus I had on the first occasion was a totally different virus to the one that caused meningitis on the second occasion.

I had about five weeks off work. I can't cope with the work hours I used to do. I used to have a great memory and was extremely switched on. I was great at multitasking and could concentrate on nine things at once. We (myself, husband & kids), blame my quiet gaps in sentences and memory lapses on after effects associated with the viral meningitis. I'm definitely not as switched on as I once was, which is very frustrating for me. I still have quite a few headaches and still slightly photophobic.