A 20-year-old British college student who thought she had a hangover after a night out ended up slipping into a coma and fighting for her life, according to the Mirror.
Speaking during Meningitis Awareness Week, Alice Baird, a student at University of Portsmouth of Orpington, Kent, recalled how she went out with her friends one night in March and had a couple of drinks.
"I woke up the next morning with a headache and, although surprised, I wondered if it was a hangover," she said. "I had a really bad headache but though I tried to sleep it off, I couldn’t. I rang my mum early in the morning and said I didn't feel well but was going to back to sleep for a while — I was conscious I had to meet up with my uni group later because there was a presentation I had to do by the end of the week."
An hour later, however, Baird was reportedly in serious pain.
"My headache had just got worse, and I had flu-like symptoms," she said. "I called my mum again and said I felt really unwell, which was unusual for me because I'm normally fit and healthy, and I asked her to come and get me."
The student's mother then drove two hours to the college, only to learn that her daughter's neck had become stiff. As she took Baird to the hospital, the 20-year-old purportedly suffered convulsions. Doctors there quickly diagnosed her with meningitis — a deadly inflammation of the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
"I was in so much pain and so unwell I was put into an induced coma and kept in ICU for three days," she said. "It was a really worrying time for my family who didn’t know whether I would survive, or whether I would come through it without brain damage, deafness, sight loss or limb loss — all of which can happen as a result of meningitis and septicaemia."
Fortunately, Baird ended up staying at the hospital a mere two weeks before she was discharged. Since then, she has been raising awareness of the dangerous infection, which is often characterized by fevers, headaches, seizures and, occasionally, rashes.
"It frightens me to think of it even now," she said. "I was so focused on my future and yet it could have disappeared in an instant."