Meningococcus and medical finalsBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7524.1090-a (Published 03 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1090
- Deborah White, foundation year 1 doctor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
I never thought I was going to die—despite coughing up blood so much I couldn't keep my oxygen supply on. Despite the answer when I asked why my feet looked bruised (“You're peripherally shut down”). Despite seeing a consultant rolling up the bag to squeeze fluids into me. Despite being rushed through the corridors to the intensive treatment unit.
Less than two weeks before my final exams I was admitted to hospital with a temperature of 39.7°C. I was developing meningococcal pneumonia and septicaemia, and within a few hours I had haemoptysis and was hypoxic and hypotensive. In intensive treatment I received non-invasive ventilation and intravenous antibiotics.
Despite an apparently remarkable recovery, I was frustrated from the start by my inability to get better faster. It was all I could do to get out of bed to go to the bathroom during my first week in hospital, I was so exhausted, breathless, and in pain. The nurses fussed about muscle wasting and deep venous thromboses, which made me feel it was my fault …