Meningitis in your words

Karen Edmunds's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Karen Edmunds

I had travelled to Spain for a weekend break. I'd had a cold but on the flight out I began to experience nausea and felt very cold.

By the time I got to the apartment I'd rented I felt so tired and cold I just wanted to sleep.

The next day I couldn’t stay awake. I knew I was ill but couldn't think straight. The last thing I remember is being sick.

I was found two days later after my family who were worried they hadn't heard from me, contacted the apartment owners. They had to break in and I was found unconscious on the cold marble floor.

"my family were warned I might not recover"

After 10 days in Intensive Care where my family were warned I might not recover I woke up. By some miracle I was not brain damaged, but I had critical neuropathy which is a temporary total paralysis. The doctors explained I needed to re-learn everything. I also had a very bad pressure ulcer from laying on a hard cold floor for 48 hours.

I was flown back to the UK on 10th February, still unable to walk but I had fed myself for the first time the previous day. I had three weeks on a Rehab ward at my local hospital and seven weeks in a community rehab centre where I got daily physiotherapy and input from occupational therapists. I finally left when I could walk short distances indoors and get myself in and out of bed.

At the moment I'm still off work. I'm experiencing constant dizziness and I've lost some hearing in one ear and have constant tinnitus. I've got short term memory problems and fatigue. My experience was complicated by the fact that I've lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 10. The drugs I was on seriously comprised my immune system. I just feel lucky to be alive. I get down some days as I can't go out on my own yet. I also find I get overwhelmed by noise or too many people.

Because I was initially hospitalised in Spain it's been difficult getting follow up advice. There's very little information online either about the affect-effects for adults. It can feel very isolating. I'm so lucky to have the support of my sister, nieces, Dad and friends. They are still getting over nearly losing me. I have several friends that will visit to take me out for a short walk. It's part of my on-going recovery and really helps me to have hope.

Karen Edmunds
May 2018