Meningitis in your words

Clara Maria de Bruyn's story

  • Location: South Africa
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Clara Maria de Bruyn

It started on Sunday night the 29th of March 2009 with a slight headache.

I watched TV with my husband Kobie and 16-year-old daughter Cara until about 11pm. At about 2.30am I woke up with a terrible headache. I thought it was a migraine and took some tablets. Shortly after I started vomiting and getting a cold fever. My husband woke up and tried to help me, to no avail. 

"At the hospital I tried to attack the personnel, none of which I could recall."

I lost consciousness for four days, in which time they had to tie me to the bed. By the fifth day I started to remember and recognise some people.

I spent 14 days in hospital and then went home, but by the Monday I was back in hospital. The pressure on my brain was still 32. I had no sense of balance and could not stand or walk upright, my eyesight was very poor and I was deaf in my left ear. Eventually the doctor sent me to a neurologist, who prescribed pills, and whom I had to visit on the 15th of May for another lumbar puncture. The brain pressure was still 28.

I started working again on the 17th of June, but only half a day. I am still deaf in the left ear and my eyesight is not right. When I am tired I feel dizzy and have no sense of balance, my left arm sometimes starts jumping of its own accord, and I get terrible headaches.

Some days are better than others, but all in all I can say I am lucky I survived and I have decided to be positive and spend the rest of my life as useful as I can be. 

Clara Maria de Bruyn
July 2009

Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
Meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia
A major cause of meningitis