Meningitis in your words

Kaylie Knight's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Child 6-12
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Amputations
Kaylie Knight

I had meningitis and septicaemia when I was 7 years old.

As I grew up to understand the disease, I was told it was blood poisoning which affected me. It caused to lose my digits on my left hand, muscle loss, foot drops on both feet, nerve problems, scaring, bone problems, partly deaf and memory lost.

This changed my life completely... I remember the girl who I was when I was 7 years old. But the girl who woke up from the hospital bed, was not the girl I was anymore. I felt like my happy child life was taken away from me. I was not a young happy child anymore. I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't understand what happened to me and due to the fact I was so young I didn't have the knowledge to understand.

It has been a very difficult time... Not only for me, but for my family and parents too. My dad had to look after my youngest sister who was 5 years old and to work his business to survive. My mum stayed in hospital with me for guidance. I had family members who came to visit me, such as friends, teachers from school and I remember being so poorly.

MY DAD & DOCTORS SAVED MY LIFE! - I remember exactly how I caught meningitis and septicaemia... I was an ordinary child who couldn't sleep. I was in my bed and was wide awake. I couldn't stop turning from side to side and I felt hot. I went downstairs to tell my dad I couldn't sleep. My dad told me to try and go back to bed which I did. Few minutes later, I went downstairs again and told him I couldn't sleep. He got up and took me into the kitchen. He lifted me onto the kitchen counter and got me a glass of water. When he gave me the glass of water to drink, he noticed a rash all over my body. I couldn't look at the light either! He stayed calm and told me he's going to call the ambulance. I went into the living room to rest and I felt weak all over my body. I felt like heavy weights were on top of me.

The ambulance came in a few minutes. I saw my dad running upstairs to get my little sister while the ambulance man lifted me to take me into the ambulance van. I was on the bed and noticed wires going all over my body. I was so weak and I was looking at my dad and sister who were watching me... All I wanted is to be in my dad's arms at the time.

We arrived at A&E St Mary's. I remember being rushed into a room and saw loads of doctors around me. I did not know what to expect. My mum appeared out of no-where and kept crying... I wanted to know where my dad and sister was, until I tilted my head to the side and saw them standing behind a blue curtain. I saw doctors putting needles in me and taking blood out of me. I didn't feel anything. I felt my body went all numb. One of the doctors tried to put an oxygen mask over me but then I kept feeling sick. Everything going on for a few minutes and I felt like I went to sleep.

"My dad saved my life due to knowing what the illness was"

Then one day, I woke up in a hospital bed and a room... My dad saved my life due to knowing what the illness was. Luckily he knew what it was! I want to say thank you to my dad and the doctors for saving my life.

GROWING UP - Growing up for many years and suffering from this condition has been the toughest ride of my life and still on-going. Once the disease has past, your life is a battlefield. The condition I ended up caused me consequences. My dad had to make decisions to agree with the doctors to go ahead with surgeries until I reached 18 years of age. I was told I can make the decisions myself. Sometimes I looked at my dad not knowing to go ahead or not. As I have been through so much, I continue to be strong and to get through the pain.

"All I wanted was to be like others in the world and not feel uncomfortable with myself."

All I wanted was to be like others in the world and not feel uncomfortable with myself. It's how I grew up. I became a shy girl who felt different from others. I didn't know the right from wrong or knowledge at the age I should, due to what has happened to me. I needed to learn everything again. I had to learn how to write, how to walk, how to eat, speak, qualifications and life. I didn't go to an ordinary school. My dad put me into a disabled school to help my needs and learning.

As I started to grow up, I wanted to be loved and people to accept me for who I am. I tried so hard to have a life like others. I went to college, made friends and felt the older I become, the easier it was. I had people my age who understood. Not everyone is going to understand my condition, but I felt like most people accepted me as I got older.

LIFE - Life is hard and like a circle. You never know what will come out of situations till you take the chance. Not everything is going to go the way you want it to go. I am 26 years old now. From the experience at a young age, taught me life and knowing what makes me happy. I have seen people who has suffered like me and worse conditions. I look at people and feel hope. Knowing what I have been through, I show people feelings. I show how much I care due to knowing the experience I have been through.

"I never thought I could find anyone who would accept me for who I am. "

Right now, I am happily working for my living and have a partner of my own. I never thought I would have someone to love me for who I am. I never thought I could find anyone who would accept me for who I am. Me and my partner have been together for 9 years and I hope we will last for a very long time. He makes me feel like I am one of the luckiest girl to be alive. He calls me names such as "beautiful", having someone who loves me and says that, makes me feel like I DO belong in this world.

Hospitals to thank you for - St Mary's, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Life is still tough for my right now, as I can only managed and do certain things. I am only capable in certain situations and my main goal in life is, to have a family of my own and have a career. I am struggling with jobs, as in the past, I couldn't stay in a full time permanent job due to back and forward to hospital appointments. I am still looking for a permanent job now and waiting for an employer to accept me for who I am.

I had my last surgery in 2017 in May. I have now got a mental plate in my right leg to help me walk better. In the future, the doctors advised I will get other complications and get worse as time goes by. But they want to leave me alone and for me to try have a life without all the drama.

I am hoping one day it will lead to the direction I want. I want to be able to guild my kids and give them love like my family did. I will need help in future due to my physical side, which will be hard of my benefit. But my family and friends know I will be a good mum in the future. I want to make everyone aware how meningitis and septicaemia can affect someone. There are people who are out there and ten times worse than myself.

I know life is hard and I know there are people who can never understand how hard it is. Physical, emotional and mentally. It will affect your whole life and somehow you will need to fight, be brave and always say to yourself "you can do this"

Kaylie Knight
September 2018

Detailed information about the after effects of meningitis

Mike Davies contracted bacterial meningitis in 2017. This is his story.
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