Joe Swash is best known for his cheeky, bubbly persona, but the star, who is currently competing in Dancing on Ice, has taken a much more serious tone in the past when speaking about his battle with meningitis. In 2005, the EastEnders actor was struck down by the life-threatening illness, resulting in him being rushed to the hospital. The father-of-two was visiting family at the time.
Speaking to News of the World more than ten years ago, the doting dad explained: "I was certain I'd die. My head hurt so much I wanted the nurses to cut it off." Speaking about his symptoms, the 38-year-old continued: "I knew something was wrong and it could kill me. I was sure I'd suffered a stroke because my body was numb. Then the headaches started and I thought it was something much worse. I've never felt pain like it."
Joe spoke frankly about falling seriously ill
He continued: "I couldn't feel the left side of my body. It was numb. I tried wiggling my toes and my legs. My arm felt like it was sagging, almost hanging off my body. Then I tried to move my mouth and felt sheer terror come over me - I couldn't move my lips."
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Terrifyingly, the actor thought he'd never be able to work again, believing he had lost the ability to talk forever. Joe elaborated: "Because of the numbness my first thought was that I'd had a stroke. My second thought was that I couldn't work again. I've spent half my life trying to be an actor and I work on a show that I love. I felt it had all slipped away because I'd now lost the most important thing you need to be an actor - the ability to talk. It was terrifying. I've never been that scared before."
Fortunately, after a short stay in the hospital, Joe recovered and was able to return to work.
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