JAMES FLINDERS, Halifax Chair, has returned to campus after suffering from a severe bout of meningococcal septicaemia at the end of last term. The gruelling experience, which lasted for over a week, has left James reeling from the unpredictable killer bug.
For almost two weeks he had felt tired, lethargic and suffered from joint pains, but he put it down to a simple lack of sleep. But after attending Xtra, the Halifax College club night, the disease finally got the better of him and he was struck down as he struggled to make his way home from campus.
It was only thanks to the timely response of his housemates, who noticed he wasn’t eating or drinking and couldn’t rouse him from sleep the next day, that a then delirious James made it to hospital.
He commented, “My housemates saved my life. If I hadn’t been taken to hospital, I would have died within two weeks.”
Under isolation, James had to spend a week in York District Hospital, where a meningitis rash was discovered and it dawned on hospital staff that he had the infamous disease. Describing the experience as confusing, James was dosed up on antibiotics and was subject to a comprehensive series of tests, but was reassured by visits from a range of friends and family.
Praising the hospital treatment, James said: “The care I received was excellent; the medical staff couldn’t have done a better job.” But he went on to warn that, “Meningitis kills. If you or a housemate has any of the symptoms, make sure that you get it checked out with a doctor. I had no idea I was ill until I was sent to hospital.”
Now back on campus, and in the driving seat of the largest College on campus, James explained that the disease had made it difficult to settle back into his routine. However, he is keen to continue his work for the College, including the introduction of ethical college merchandise, an inclusion programme and improving the JCRC’s constitution. He said: “I’m glad that I can continue to work with others to make the biggest and best College even better.”
James suffered from meningococcal septicaemia, which invades the body entering from the throat. It then passes into the bloodstream and travels via the blood to the meninges (the lining of the brain). The bacteria releases toxins, which can damage any organ of the body, and in the worst cases affects the brain.
The symptoms for meningitis include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, severe headache, neck stiffness, joint pains, dislike of bright lights, drowsiness and confusion. If you suspect you have meningitis or septicaemia, then you are advised to contact your GP immediately, or ring the NHS Direct helpline on 0845 46 47.