In the last week of May, I took a trip to Portugal and was helping a family friend on their farm.
I was bitten by an insect in the long grass but dismissed it because this often happens. Within a few days of my return to the UK, I started to feel unwell. The bite became red and black. I spoke to the GP and sent them a picture and they prescribed antibiotics. Over the next couple of days, I felt worse despite the antibiotics so went to see the GP. I had not realised how sick I was but the GP was fantastic. He took one look at me and immediately referred me to A&E and then organised an ambulance to take me there.
Care and attention
On arrival at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, I could not have received better care and attention. Initially, they could not diagnose what was wrong with me. They ran extensive tests including blood tests, ECGs and a chest X-ray. While trying to diagnose the problem they gave me a cocktail of treatments and monitored me carefully. I was transferred to ICU where I received 1:1 care 24 hours of the day.
The staff were amazing. They were compassionate, kind and supportive. Not only to me but also to my wife, keeping her up to date on my condition and enabling her to visit me or speak to me when she could not be there. I cannot remember everything that happened, or unfortunately, everyone that looked after me, whilst in ICU. But do remember how caring everyone was. One doctor even held my hand when I was at my lowest, that act of kindness was very reassuring and I will never forget that gesture. They looked after me and made me feel that nothing was too much trouble even though I felt a burden.
With the help of colleagues in Oxford, London and Public Health England they were able to diagnose me with Mediterranean Spotted Fever from a tick bite and gave me the treatment I needed.
After 5 days in ICU and a further 4 days on a ward, I was allowed home. I am still recovering but should get back to normal thanks to the fantastic, professional and caring service I received from the NHS.
Go and see your GP
If you ever get bitten by an insect, either here or abroad, do not dismiss it. Insect bites can cause as many problems as spider or snake bites which you may take more seriously. If you feel unwell or the bite starts to get red make sure you seek medical advice. If after starting antibiotics you feel no better or worse go back and see your GP.
Whilst it is very easy to complain I felt compelled to put pen to paper and say what absolutely fantastic treatment I received both from my GP and everybody at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The NHS is a wonderful institution with some amazing people that deserve to be recognised. No one wants to be critically ill but it is reassuring to know that we have some outstanding individuals that are dedicated to making you well again and look after you when you need it. I would not be here today without the wonderful team at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and I cannot thank them enough.