Meningitis in your words

Elizabeth Cove's story

  • Location: Canada
  • Categories: Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Other
Elizabeth Cove

TB meningitis changed my ideally healthy world four years ago in October 2006.

I was experiencing severe headaches when my husband had to call an ambulance to take me to the hospital, where I was misdiagnosed to have liver cancer. Due to lack of beds I was transferred to another hospital close by. There, I was again misdiagnosed to have brain cancer.

Because TB meningitis was not prevalent in British Columbia, Canada, the doctors had a hard time diagnosing it. Apparently, I picked up the TB bacteria during my trip to the Philippines, which laid dormant for six months in my liver, the weakest organ in my body because I had hepatitis A as a child. But, after six months, the bacteria travelled from the liver through my central nervous system, and went to the brain, giving me TB of the brain, where it then affected the meninges, causing the stroke, which left me paralysed on the left side of my body.

"I stayed almost six months in the hospital"

I was the first case of this disease here in BC, so the doctors (oncologists, etc.) had a very hard time diagnosing the disease correctly. I've had a brain scan, CAT scan, MRI, etc. which were not enough for correct diagnosis. The last procedure was the lumbar tap, which correctly diagnosed the TB meningitis.

I stayed almost six months in the hospital, from October 8, 2006 to March 31, 2007. The stroke caused some paralysis on the left-side of my body, affected my short-term memory and left me unable to walk.

It's now 2011, I'm still struggling to walk properly as my left leg/foot is perpetually stiff, numb and spastic. I can't use my left hand because the fingers are constantly cranking – it can't grab anything. I use my right hand only in everything I do. The stroke also affected my eyes! I suffered Graves’ Disease, which nearly caused some blindness. I had to have two eye surgeries to save my eyesight but I still suffer from double vision. I may have a third eye surgery in spring 2011 to correct the double vision, however I'm grateful my eyesight was saved!

Now, I have given up my wheelchair and practice walking without any aid, however wobbly and shaky, but I'm learning to walk just like a baby on his first steps. I have physiotherapy every Friday and a massage therapist every Tuesday. Both come to the house to treat me. I still take Gabapentin for my pains, and 80mgs of Baclofen for spasms. My left limbs are constantly in spasm, my left limbs are constantly causing unpleasant sensations.

Elizabeth Cove
January 2011

Detailed information about the after effects of meningitis

Many of the after effects of meningitis aren't immediately obvious. In this blog, Support Manager Cat explains how we can help.
Stories that inspire us to create a world free from the diseases.

Whether you are living with the after effects of the diseases or coping with the death of a loved one, we are here for you.

Provide a lifeline for those in need
Provide a lifeline for those in need
£6/€7.20/$8 pays for a 30 minute call from a trained support officer.

They listen to the issues faced by someone struggling with the impact of meningitis, and provide detailed information and support.
Membership and support

The MRF Membership and Support team are here for you for any questions you might have about meningitis and septicaemia and their effects on you, or your family and friends.

Tel: Helpline UK 080 8800 3344 Ireland 1800 41 33 44