Diane from New South Wales was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis last year.
“Last year, on the 16th May, I had a seizure at work. I’d had a terrible headache that morning so I left the office to visit my granddaughter and get some fresh air. When I returned to work I was feeling much better. But the next thing I remember is waking up two days later in hospital.”
Diane was found unconscious in a conference room by two colleagues. She was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma for two days before being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.
Diane was already familiar with the world of pathology. She had been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid two years prior to her meningitis diagnosis so she was used to going for regular tests to monitor her medication and hormone levels.
It was Diane’s sudden, life-threatening infection that really showed just how important pathology was to her well-being.
In the months prior to her seizure, Diane visited her GP three times with severe ear ache. He could see nothing wrong at the time but ultimately pathology saw what Diane’s GP alone, could not. Once in hospital a lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap) confirmed that Diane had contracted bacterial meningitis and this allowed her to receive the life-saving treatment she needed. Since then blood tests have monitored her anti-seizure medication and kept her well.
Unfortunately, that first hospital trip would not be Diane’s last. Just three days after returning to work, she was hit by a second seizure. Luckily her daughter came to find Diane and took her to the local hospital immediately. Diane was transferred by helicopter to Newcastle Hospital where she underwent surgery to fix three holes that were leaking fluid from her brain. Six months on and Diane is back at work and looking forward to a healthier future.
“When I look back I think the scariest part of the whole thing is that there were so many warning signs. I’d been unusually tired, had suffered a string of coughs and colds that I couldn’t shake, and friends had mentioned I didn’t seem myself. Without pathology there would have been no answers to what was wrong with me.
Now I keep a diary to keep track of how I’m feeling and if I’m concerned that something is wrong I don’t hesitate in visiting my doctor. I’ve learned the hard way that even if something seems like a minor problem, it could be a sign of something much more serious. I’d rather have a test for peace of mind than leave it up to fate.”