Meningitis in your words

Diane Pitt's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Diane Pitt

I fell ill in August 2015 following a weekend away with my husband, Adrian.

On Monday morning I started to feel generally unwell and thought I might have flu. On Tuesday I was worse. By Wednesday morning I had a high temperature, vomiting and was very drowsy. Adrian had stayed home from work as he was worried and by now I had a severe headache too so he called an ambulance. I was diagnosed with a bad migraine but by 2pm he could not rouse me.

He called an ambulance again and this time I was blue-lighted to A&E. I don’t remember much at all about the following week as I was transferred to ICU and placed in a medically induced coma.

The hospital diagnosed pneumococcal meningitis. Apparently my whole body swelled up so I looked like a Michelin man! However, I slowly improved and was woken up to find I couldn’t move my right leg and my right arm was also very weak.

After more scans, they told me the meningitis had caused a kind of stroke called a watershed infarct affecting both sides of my brain.

By now, after a few days on the high dependency unit, I was transferred to the stroke unit. As you can imagine this was not a lot of fun as I was one of the younger patients, but I was given a side room and slowly began to improve. I was having regular physio and was only just able to stand at first, but gradually my walking improved and after 20 days in hospital was discharged home.

"... if he had gone to work as usual on that Wednesday, I would not be here."

3 1/2 months later, I returned to my job as a radiographer in the same hospital where I had been a patient. I am so grateful to all the staff who cared for me, for the wonderful support I had from family, friends, my church minister and work colleagues, for their ongoing research, and mostly to my husband Adrian because if he had gone to work as usual on that Wednesday, I would not be here.

In July 2016, Adrian and I completed the London to Brighton cycle race to raise funds for Meningitis Research Foundation which was one of the proudest days of my life.

Diane Pitt
January 2019

Pneumococcal bacteria
Pneumococcal bacteria
A major cause of meningitis