Thirty six year old Samantha Vaughan began to behave strangely after contracting viral meningitis. She seemed to take on multiple personalities within a few hours of falling ill.
In the hospital, she began to act like a head teacher, ordering the nursing staff. She got suddenly abusive and cantankerous. Later, she left her hospital bed and began wandering in the hospital in a zombie state.
"It was as though Samantha was possessed, it was horrible and very scary," said her grandmother Vicky Vaughan, 68, from Birmingham. "We just didn't know what was wrong with her and that was terrifying."
Miss Vaughan was diagnosed with a type of viral Meningitis. She developed another condition called Heterotopic Calcification, due to which she had excess calcium in her body. This worsened her condition and she was almost in a paralyzed state unable to walk. She underwent rehabilitation for six months after which she had to learn to use her legs all over again.
She said: "When people think of meningitis they think it only really attacks young children or students. I'd just returned from a holiday in Egypt with my sister and aunt. They had been ill during the break but I had been fine. But when I got home I had headaches, I was dizzy and kept slurring my words. The last thing I remember was going round to my mum's to show her my holiday snaps. Then two months later I woke up practically paralyzed in hospital, with a big scar on my neck. When I was finally able to look in the mirror I barely recognized the person staring back at me. It was terrifying."
In a bid to turn her experience into a positive one, she wants to increase awareness about the disease and explain to people about the signs and symptoms of the disease.