I was just a school student when life decided to change its course and give me a challenge to deal with.
It was late March when I fell sick. I wasn’t feeling well enough to go outside with my family for an outing and spent my day staying in. The next day I was down with slight fever which was accompanied by pain in the nape of my neck. Mum thought it was just a muscle strain while sleeping. A week passed, but the fever still persisted and was getting worse.
It had developed into neck stiffness, mild headache and low grade fever, then within weeks it turned unbearable. I used to feel so cold yet my temperature would be 106°F and used to reduce after sweating. The headaches were the worst. It felt as if I could feel my veins pulsating in my head. They persisted for a very long time during the day (2-4hrs each time) and would subside only after vomiting. I went through a series of medical tests. My doctors from a nearby nursing home weren’t sure as I did not show any other symptoms like rashes or photophobia.
It was much later when I was finally diagnosed with meningitis. The doctors said that if we were a day late to bring me to the hospital, then they could have done nothing to save me. I might not be alive. I was saved but it came down to the very last wire.
I was put under immediate observation and started with my treatment. I was hospitalised for about 10 days while my medications continued for an entire year.
It was 2015 when this happened. Half a decade later, I am here sharing my story as a school graduate now. I miraculously survived and recovered. The toughest decision which followed was dropping an entire academic year for my speedy recovery. Even after that, I continued my studies, became a meritorious student, and brought many laurels to my schools the following years making my parents proud.
I became aware of what I have been through and all I could have lost. This made me not lose hope.
I was attended well by the medical staff immediately. I owe them. But this is not how it is supposed to be. Several patients live with many disabilities after being diagnosed with Meningitis.
I am a living proof of how you can recover and live a normal life. Yet I would want people to not wait for a month to be treated! It's fatal! This disease can kill within 24 hours. People won’t take fever, headaches or neck stiffness as serious symptoms. Apart from this, they hardly think about getting vaccinated. We can defeat meningitis together only if people are aware of this disease, its symptoms and take action as soon as possible.
I am thankful and blessed enough that I myself am sharing my story with others.
We surely have plenty of survivors and I would request them to share their stories with the rest of the world too, letting the patients know that they are not alone.
- Shahrish, India.
To read another personal meningitis story from around the world, click here.