Meningitis in your words

Jerome Stevens's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Amputations
Jerome Stevens

Hello to you all. My story begins Christmas 1973. I was 2 and a half I was not well, being sick. Well, it was coming out from both ends, lol

My mum woke me on Boxing Day morning to find the dreaded rash on my body, she went to the phone box which was up the road and phoned the ambulance.

When they came I was rushed off to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool. After a short amount of time at the hospital they came out and told my mum and dad what I had. Back then people did not know much about this meningitis and the ones that did, their children had passed away.

I fell into a coma and slept for 2 weeks in intensive care, the team of doctors and nurses had a fight on their hands. Little did they know I was having a good fight myself, lol.

The morning I awoke the cleaners were cleaning away, making noise. I told them to be quiet, lol. The team that had been fighting so hard to save my life had won. I still had a long road to go, but somehow I had awoke. I was seen as a miracle baby, the first one out of Alder Hey to live.

After about 2 months my leg was not getting any better, the decision was made to remove my lower left leg (below knee).

Two months after that I got my first leg (time to learn how to climb again lol). My left arm was heavily scared, grafts to patch me up lol. After spending 6 months in hospital in the burns unit, I made it home. 

"My mum woke me on Boxing Day morning to find the dreaded rash on my body"

My mum put me in mainstream school where they told her I must go to a special school. My mum told them, “no thank you”, and kept me in where they had never seen a child with one leg before climb up the climbing frame, lol. I still had to go to and from the hospital, but I was growing fast, breaking as many wooden legs as they gave me, lol. Don’t go near water they said, as water and wood don't mix, hmmm....

At the age of 10 I had to go into the hospital again for an op. Summer hols, roasting hot summer, not happy. The op was on my lip and arm, a quick fix and this boy was off again to show the world back then the word no meant yes I can do it. So I set the trend to have a go at everything. I tried roller skating and ice skating, narrrrr not for me, lol. But 44 years after meningococcal, it has never held me back. I am a father to beautiful kids, Jessica and Samuel, well they are grown up now. Oh and I am grandad to - soon to have number 2 grandchild.

One thing is me and my mum never spoke about what happened back then, people just didn't. We just cracked on until recently when me and my mum filled some spaces in my history, lol.

If anyone reads this please don't let life hold you back. Live life to the full. It's hard at times but it's just life testing you again.

I am 46, a father, grandfather, married and I smile every day. My face has lots of scars, my body is missing a leg, but this miracle baby is alive and loving life and this is the first time I have wrote about it, lol.

Take care and be strong xx

Jerome Stevens
April 2017