Nwandieze's Story

Nwandieze, Nigeria

My name is Nwandieze Fortune Onyedikachi (37) and I'm a survivor of cerebrospinal meningitis.

 

I was about 12 years old in Lagos State Nigeria, Badagry precisely, when it all started with a headache, and after a few days I come down with a very high fever that came with chills.  The general assumption at that time was that I had malaria, so I was treated for malaria which had absolutely no effect. A day or two later I noticed stiffness of neck which was also assumed to be as a result of sleeping in a bad position. 

Within a space of 5 days, I started experiencing terrifying hallucinations (a sensory perception of something that does not exist, often arising from disorder of the nervous system). As if this wasn’t enough, excessive sweating, horrible tremors, insomnia, restlessness, disorientation and anxiety set in and I had chronic photophobia (afraid of light) with constant vomiting and myalgias (muscular pain or tenderness). This stage in meningitis is said to be the advanced (chronic) stage. 

After all these horrific symptoms have fully displayed, my parents on a Saturday early morning rushed me to The Great Physician Hospital in Badagry where the, then Chief Medical Director, Dr. Akinlade, (I won't forget his name in a hurry) attended me and diagnosed me with Spinal Cerebromeningitis. 

It was the first case in Badagry, maybe in Lagos State at large, although, I was not the only patient admitted that same day. I met a girl (Chineme) and we were both in isolation together. During treatment that lasted for about a week or two, doctors constantly checked for changes in behavior both physically and mentally as a series of tests were run to match their observations. Fortunately, we survived but unfortunately for her she lost the ability to hear after fully recovering. She was given hearing aids, a device plugged into her ears which helped her hear properly. 

Due to our cases, meningitis was declared an epidemic and this raised the campaign for vaccination against meningitis in the whole of Badagry and Lagos state at large in the late 90's. 

Meningitis is an airborne disease that more often than not leaves its patient with life-altering after-effects. This could be blindness, deafness, mental disabilities etc., I was privileged by God's grace to survive without any of these after-effects.

To read another personal meningitis story from around the world, click here.

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