Mick Cassidy

My name is Mick Cassidy and I’m a regular person just like you.

Day 1: Friday April 10, 2010 was like any other day for me. That afternoon at 3pm my wife and I went to have coffee and a muffin, by 4pm I was back working in my garage and when 5pm came with the sunshine it was about 75 degrees. I began to feel a little tired, then started to get a little cold and I thought to myself “Hmmm, maybe I’m getting food poisoning from that muffin” I just eaten. At 5:30pm I could hardly hold the car buffer I was using. Then suddenly I was standing in the sun light with a jacket on shaking and shivering with cold. I thought to myself, “It must have been that muffin”, as food poisoning can come that quickly. Now it is 6 pm and I went to go lay down in bed and covered up in blankets. I could hardly speak my teeth were chattering.

By 6:30pm I thought to myself I need to force myself to throw up and get this bad food out of my stomach. I induced vomiting and I threw up really hard. After that I felt good I sat in front of the TV fixed myself a salad had a glass of wine and at 10:30 pm I went to bed.

At 2:30am I woke up and it felt like my chest was on fire. I didn’t feel too good and as I sat up, I was gasping for air. At first I thought this is a dream. I sat on the edge of the bed wondering what is wrong with me I could barely speak or breathe I could not bend down to put my shoes on. I got my wife to immediately take me to the emergency room. I walked in whispering and gasping saying “I can’t breathe”, the nurse put me in a wheelchair. I had to wait 20 minutes during that time I was craving water. I was so thirsty I did get to have 4 small cups of it. The nurses thought I had swine flu and pneumonia, but that was quickly ruled out. I was now in the Intensive Care Unit and was placed on a breathing machine. I had cat scans and chest x- rays the next day my fever was 98/99 degrees. The hospital had ice packs all over my body as I was burning up. I was also heavily sedated and was not allowed any water only a few chips of ice.

Day 3: I do not remember anything I had to have chest surgery apparently as my lungs and chest had filled with fluid and they used drainage tubes to remove most of it. The next surgery was to relieve the pressure on my heart as fluid had built around it, and this caused my heart to enlarge.
I was sedated all the time I’m told I could not breathe on my own. I was on a breathing machine for the next four days and still in the ICU. During this time the doctors had discovered it was Meningococcal Meningitis. I had four or five IV tubes in my body with antibiotics going every few hours.
Day 8: I woke up and the nurses finally got me off the breathing machine. I was having a hard time wheezing and breathing; I was taken out of ICU. I remember looking down at my chest and all the tubes coming out of it. I asked the nurse what happened to me and she told me I came in contact with this bacterium (Meningococcal Meningitis).

I live a pretty secluded life. I work at home and I am seldom around people. I could not think how this happened. I had been going to the gym a lot and possibly got it there.

Day 9: My coughing was bad, it would not stop. I had constant sweating and drinking iced water. The drugs they gave me kept me calm and I didn’t panic. I did not know how long I was going to be there.

Day 10: My chest tubes were removed and my white blood cell count got closer to normal. The doctors did not tell me much only that I was in the right place and that I was a very lucky person. I got up and started to try to walk a bit, I was gasping for air and out of breath after 10 steps. I could not understand this. I began to pray and do exercises to strengthen my legs which were like jelly.

Day 11: I felt a little better but I wanted to get out of the hospital. I began to think of committing suicide. That there was no hope for me that I was never going to leave this place. At night I had bad sweating fevers and I would wake up thinking I was in a forest. I seriously had begun to think of ways to do it, now I wonder was it the drugs they gave me to keep me calm. My progress was getting better. I felt better and the doctors were amazed that I had not much in the line of side effects. I could be going home soon. I was still on strong antibiotics every 6 hours, and drugs to dry out my lungs which was why my cough had gotten better somewhat.

Day 12: I was going home!! I was happy when I got outside, but the light really hurt my eyes and I felt very strange. When I got home I did not want to be there. It was so quiet; I began to panic if I was left alone. My chest felt smaller and I could not fully extend my lungs. I had difficulty sleeping that night and I was still sweating.

My recovery: I realized that I had survived a deadly bacterial disease when I got home and goggled it. I was worried; as I am an artist. Would I ever paint again? This disease has given me a few minor balance problems and a few headache and lung problems along with major financial problems to the tune of $243,000. I can say that one year later it has completely changed my life. It has given me a new outlook on life. I have experienced survivors’ guilt. I was so lucky I got to the hospital quickly as the first 12 hours are critical to your survival once you come down with the symptoms. It is contagious. To everyone who reads my story I urge you to KNOW THE SYMPTOMS. You could save your loved ones or yourself. I did not have the typical sore neck, headache and nausea symptoms. I was also lucky I did not lose any limbs. There is a vaccine for this.

Mick Cassidy commented 2 years ago
I hope by somebody reading this in the future that my symptoms were not anything like the “text book ” symptoms get your self to the hospital ASAP
and don’t leave the hospital until they are 100% percent sure of your symptoms

Rebecca Shaw commented on Support
Has anyone had any luck with support ? I am on my 2nd month after being diagnosed with viral men. I am shocked and disgusted at the lack of awareness and most of all Drs. lack of knowledge and taking it serious. And most of all the “alone” feeling because family members or anyone whos never dealt with it thinking I should be fine now. The after effects are a nightmare. I am trying to get involved , get help and give help as much as I can. This dibiltating vicious evil thing will NOT win. Since losing my job of 10 years and then falling ill , I have decided to persue one of my dreams to become a personal trainer and my classes start in Oct. getting certified in DEC. Since meningitis entered my life , along with personal training , my focus in training will be able to help those with meningitis or brain injury by training and educating such folks with proper nutrition, exercise etc focusing on the brain. I am also working on getting up my own website or blog to no only help those online that I cant meet with but to also here everyones experience with their meningitis,type, how it affected them , after effects etc. so this may not only help in my learning to help others but so we may all have someone to talk to and compare stories . The hardest thing I have to deal with aside from all the pains and effects is having no one to talk to .Family and friends just give you the ” I understand” what your going through but yet make you feel like an inconvenience.

Anyone who would like to talk and learn of my site and info when I get it going can email me at rshaw82366@gmail.com …I may begin with a fb page just to get something going. I am on a fb support page and as much as I get comfort from everyones stories and words , most are located in the UK. I am trying to focus on the U.S and get this s**t recognized . Best of luck and health to all, be strong .
Rebecca