From Hangover to hospital

October 22, 1999

Look sharp, spot the signs

Richard Cuthbert, 20, third-year marketing student, Aston University

I owe my life to my flatmate because she skipped an early morning lecture.

I had gone tobed early the night before, as I had been suffering all day from what I thought was the most atrocious hangover. I had had quite a heavy night out and it felt like someone was hitting my head with a hammer. I felt really lethargic and disorientated and the headache continued all through the day and night. At 5am the next morning, I went into my flatmate's bedroom to ask her for some painkillers. I went back to bed: and that's the last I remember until waking up in a hospital bed. I asked the nurse what was wrong and she said I had meningitis. I was shocked. I thought meningitis was something that happened to unhealthy people. I had no idea what the symptoms were.

My flatmate had thought it unusual I had woken her up just because of a hangover and so she decided to check on me. She had found me having a fit on the floor and called the ambulance straight away. The doctors told my parents I had a 50 per cent chance of pulling through.

Thankfully, after two and a half weeks in hospital, I was allowed home. I took seven weeks off university as I was determined not to let it put me back a year. There was an unrelated case at Aston eight weeks later. Unfortunately, he died.

I am not paranoid about meningitis, but I know now that it exists. I look out for my mates and make sure that they know how to spot the symptoms.

Perhaps if I had been more aware I could have diagnosed myself a lot sooner.


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns