Meningitis in your words

Flora Southern's story

  • Location: UK
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: 60+
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
Flora Southern
My story began on Wednesday 13th December 2017. A few days prior to this I had been feeling unwell feeling sick, a headache, aches and pains. This started on the Sunday night and I gradually felt worse and worse.  On the early hours of Wednesday morning my husband came to wake me up as we were going on holiday to India that day. He found me unconscious in bed with my eyes wide open barely breathing. The paramedics came immediately and they thought I had sepsis.

I was rushed to Watford General Hospital (my local hospital) where they did a lumbar puncture and found I had bacterial meningitis.  At that stage I still had my hearing. I had no idea where I could have caught this from but realise now I was very run down and my immune system must have been very low. I was in Watford for about 5 days and then transferred to Queen Square in London and put into an induced coma in ICU. I was in a coma for 10 days and woke up on Christmas Day so I was considered a Christmas miracle! Sadly I lost my hearing completely and a few days later the surgeon came to see me regarding cochlear implants. At that stage I was able to lip read and have no idea how I did this. 

I was then transferred to the ENT Hospital where I had 2 implants fitted. I was under the audiology department at the ENT Hospital who have since moved to UCLH. It took a couple of weeks before they were able to switch on my implants and I will never forget that day when I could finally hear.  I was then transferred back to Queen Square to a ward where I was an in patient for 2 months. Queen Square had been absolutely amazing during my stay there and my care from the staff was excellent.

I was finally discharged and sent to Willesden Community Hospital where I had to have rehab to learn again how to make a cup of tea and to walk with a stick. I had lots of physiotherapy whilst I was there and they were absolutely fantastic. I was finally discharged at the beginning of March 2018. I am obviously still under audiology at UCLH where every year I have check ups for my implants and raise any concerns if I have any. They are saints and wonderful.

It has been almost 6 years now but my life changed in that split second. I still feel dizzy and disorientated a lot of the time. My balance is not great and I walk with the aid of a stick when I am out. I do go on buses and go out whenever I can as I don't want my disability to stop me from doing normal things.

Yes your life does change but I cope with my implants and try to make the most of what life has to offer. It is just getting used to a different way of life.

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