George Zographou’s Story

Meningitis Stories

George fell ill shortly after arriving at the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall on Thursday 10 August. He experienced vomiting and general feelings of unwellness by the evening of his arrival.

He was unable to bear weight on his leg, and he had cramps. He was taken to the festival’s medical tent.

George had a mottled, bruised, non-raised rash that looked like a tribal sign horizontal across his left foot. After a number of tests were done, the conclusion was drawn that George might have a stress fracture on his ankle, and was suffering from dehydration.

His heart rate was triple his normal level, at 100 bpm and there were no other symptoms.

George was then moved to the ‘wellbeing tent’, where he became confused and agitated and was unable to lie on the bed, instead being given a space on the floor with pillows.

It was here that George went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by staff, but remained unconscious.

He was rushed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. George then remained on life support and took his final breaths on Wednesday 16 August at 13.34 all by himself, without the machine.

The three of us were there; Mum, Dad and I, holding his hand. My mum was in the bed with him whilst our closest magical friends and family were not too far away.

A conveyor belt of people who loved George had been coming in and out to see him, talking to him. I didn’t realise until now how kind he was to others and so supportive to all his friends.

I felt like I had been floating, looking down on myself. I felt like I had been living someone else’s life. How was I reading public health statements and news articles about my little Brother? How is my George, a fatal menB statistic now?

We were at the hospital for five days, living through waves of utter despair and devastation, mixed with laughing and sharing huge waves of love and memories.

There were moments of hope, and moments of complete darkness. I looked around me and saw people from all walks of life – many strangers before this; flooding in, holding hands, hugging and helping each other. Bringing us up when we lost the floor from beneath us.

It’s been a real domino effect – a ripple of grief. Over those five days in hospital I saw the most incredibly beautiful and traumatic, harrowing things – all at the same time.

I have seen the best in so many people through utter darkness. Let’s treat each other like this more, not just when loss brings us all together.

I truly hope that no one ever has to experience this utter true life tragedy, watching tubes being removed until your loved one passes away. To say it has been crippling is not enough.

My future is now completely blank and terrifying. There were certainties that are no longer certain. I have no idea how this story goes now. The story of my life without George.


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