Jonathan's story

12th February 2015

Jonathan Davies, 50, was leading an active life, training for his first open water sea triathlon, when viral meningitis struck. He thought "I'll give it a couple of days and I’ll be back to normal." Not quite...


"In July 2002 I contracted viral meningitis. For about ten days before I was diagnosed I had a headache, which got progressively worse and I felt more and more ill.

"Finally, after my wife was unable to wake me, a doctor was called and I was rushed to hospital. After a short stay in hospital, much shorter than it should have been according to my neurologist, I was discharged.

Left hospital a changed man

"I expected to be back to full speed pretty soon. But I was wrong. When I left hospital I was a changed man – I could barely walk and struggled to string a sentence together. I was dizzy and confused, and just three days later, I was back in hospital.

"I was bedridden for six weeks, off work for just under six months and kissed goodbye to being a triathlete for around five years.

"I was left with after-effects, including a constant headache, which varied in intensity, joint pains and mild photophobia. I also have short-term memory problems with certain things like directions and names, and gaps in my memory for the period after viral meningitis struck. My doctor thinks the after-effects are probably permanent now.

Lucky to come through

"Despite the constant reminders of the attack of viral meningitis I really do consider myself to be lucky to come through.

"Now, over ten years later, I'm back to full fitness and completing triathlons again. For me, viral meningitis is a life-changing experience full of compromises, after-effects and adapting what ‘normal’ means. I no longer worry about trivial things and I try to balance my work and home life better."

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