A STUDENT who almost died from meningitis woke up four days after collapsing to discover that he’d missed his 21st birthday.

University of Worcester student Matthew Griffin was rushed to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital after his parents returned home from a meal to find him collapsed in the hallway.

He is now campaigning for more awareness of bacterial meningitis and urging students to get vaccinated.

Describing the start of his ordeal, Matthew said he woke up and felt "too ill to go to uni so stayed at home whilst my parents went to a family friend’s birthday meal.

"I told them I’d be okay and sleep it off. As the morning went on, I had an intense headache and my neck began to stiffen. I’d never really experienced a migraine before and the pain was unbearable. I then laid in bed with the covers up and blankets over me to keep warm and I got lots of wet flannels and put them on my head to try and relieve the pain.

“I started to feel sick and so I rushed to the toilet. I sat on the ledge of the bath and threw up in the sink. Now I’ve been sick before, from drinking too much on a night out (I am a lightweight!) or eating too much food, but I had never been sick like this before. It was frightening. I was throwing up so hard my ribs were hurting and it was a dark green bile and I was dehydrating.

“I remember our puppy Phoebe came into the bathroom and she just looked at me and the sounds of me violently being sick startled her. It’s like she wanted to help. Something wasn’t right. I tried taking some of my mum’s morphine medicine - anything in the hope the pain would subside - but it didn’t work.

"My parents decided to come back early from the meal, to check on me. It was then that my dad found me collapsed on the floor in our hallway, limp and unresponsive. My eyes were completely glazed over – bulging wide open.

"My dad, being a nurse, was quick-thinking and called 999 immediately and the paramedics arrived to take me to Worcestershire Royal Hospital."

Matthew was taken straight to the intensive care unit where it was confirmed he was suffering with bacterial meningitis – the deadliest form.

He was put on life support and given antibiotics through a drip on Monday, October 14.

Matthew recalls waking up in a dream like state: “It was the most bizarre feeling: I was in a hospital bed with a couple of nurses looking at me. I thought I was having a very vivid dream or some sort of hallucination!

“The consultant came and told me what had happened. That’s when the reality settled in. I was very poorly and no matter how much I wanted to, I was not going anywhere. It was then I looked up at the clock to see the time and the date - October 18, three days after my 21st birthday.”

Matthew is now doing well but admits recovery has been far from easy.

He said: “One day I just cried and cried, and that’s okay. It’s okay to have days where you feel emotional – after all meningitis is a very serious illness.”

Matthew,from Stourport, is trying to make other young people aware of the disease and the symptoms that can present as a typical hangover.

He is also urging students to get the MenACWY vaccine that is available to all those starting university.

“So many young people are at risk of contracting this disease and are unaware of how serious it can be. The effects can be devastating.

“I cannot thank the NHS staff enough for the care they gave me. They made sure I was safe and comfortable. I feel very lucky to be here in one piece.”

Although still recovering at home, Mathew is positive for the future. He plans to return to university after Christmas and is hoping to begin training for the London Marathon in 2021.

Matthew added: “The time that you spend at home getting stronger is not wasted. It gives you time to re-evaluate your life, what really matters and what do you want to do.”

“Meningitis is a terrible disease but having had it, I don’t think I would undo it if I could. It’s made me prioritise family time more and worry less.”

To read Matthew’s full story visit: https://www.meningitisnow.org/support-us/news-centre/meningitis-stories/matthew-griffins-story/