Meningitis - adults can get it too

Seventy-four-year-old Mike, from Kent, fell ill with meningococcal meningitis in September 2018. 

He is backing Meningitis Now’s ‘Adults Get it Too’ campaign, to raise awareness of the increased risk of this devastating disease among older adults.

“I went up to bed a little before my wife, Meg.  I had been below par all day. I didn’t join my running group in the morning and cancelled my volunteering stint at the local theatre. 

“My wife came upstairs to find me sprawled over the bed, sweating profusely and unconscious. She called the emergency services. 

“This call certainly saved my life. How do you repay a debt like that? I was in a coma and on a ventilator at the Princess Royal University Hospital. I came to six days later.

Many after-effects

“I was profoundly deaf and wheelchair bound. My eyesight was impaired, and I was doubly incontinent. My legs ‘fizzed’ all the time.

“I was in hospital for seven months, the last 20 weeks being in rehab at Orpington Hospital. 

“The NHS were superb. They saved my life and have worked very hard on my rehabilitation. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more time in rehab and have gone backwards since leaving. 

Back home

“Since coming home I’m dependent on carers. This has been good for me but not for my wife and 28-year-old autistic son, Andrew.

“I’ve been told I will never walk again but I’m hoping that physio will help me get more independence. 

 “My worst problem seems to be neurological. My ‘fizzing’ legs have worsened and feel like they are burning and are about to explode. 

 “But I am lucky to be alive and see and hold my granddaughter Lexi born to my youngest daughter Maria and spend more time with family, with visits from my sister and nephews from Australia soon. 

Improve my physical condition

“I hope to really get to grips with physio to improve my physical condition. Although I feel I’ve gone backwards since the attack, I am alive and kicking and positive about the future. 

“I want everyone to know that adults canget it too. This is the second time for me, so I know this especially well. Twenty-five years ago, I had viral meningitis from which I made a full recovery, but this time I have not been so lucky.

Positive about my future

 “Meningitis has been a devastating experience, and I have lost a year of my life. But I’m still here and very positive about my future.

Meningitis – Adults Get it Too

Many people still believe that meningitis only affects babies and young children; this is not the case. Anyone can be affected by meningitis – but adults, especially those over 65 face an increased risk, as our immune systems weaken as we get older. 

To find out more and to order a free awareness pack visit: www.meningitisnow.org/adults

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