Meningitis in your words

Lorna Carmichael's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Lorna Carmichael

I thought I was getting a cold.

It was the first ‘nice’ spring day of the year. I’d started a new job and didn’t have the time to get poorly so I took a Berocca. I stayed in and thought it had become a migraine too.

Over the weekend I felt worse and worse until I went to an urgent care clinic who told me to go to hospital. They misdiagnosed me with a migraine and sent me home telling me to go to bed and I’d feel better.

After a period of drifting in and out of sleep, in and out of pain levels from moderate to unbearable, I called home. Told my parents I had a bad migraine and wouldn’t be able to fly up to Scotland for the weekend. 8 hours later they arrived on my doorstep in London. I was so poorly, I wasn’t going to even bother answering the door.

Roll forward being taken into hospital on a bank holiday Friday, having to be transferred hospitals to get to an MRI that was staffed and have a lumbar puncture - and it was confirmed. Bacterial meningitis - pneumococcal to be exact.

I’ve lost a week or so of my memory from seizures and getting worse, right side paralysed, I couldn’t talk, walk, and even my sight was going before I got better.

Another hospital transfer and I started to slowly feel better whilst trying to regain the ability to walk and talk etc.

I was feeling terrible being in hospital now for a month and asked to get home. I was allowed out with a line inserted to my arm for meds to be administered at home. But I was taken home too soon and went downhill fast.

48 hours later I was readmitted as an emergency and needed urgent care again. Another stint in another hospital. This time I got home and stayed at home with nurses coming out morning & night to see me to administer meds for another 6 weeks.

July 4th was my Independence Day from the heavy steroids and anti-biotics. A celebration indeed. But, I found that this just the first stage of the recovery.

"The next 2 years was another battle to regain confidence, memory, functioning, speed and all sorts."

The next 2 years was another battle to regain confidence, memory, functioning, speed and all sorts. Going back to work - and settle in, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

But, I’m happy to stay I managed to get back to (almost) normal and have been back 7 years now in a fairly high functioning job in Consultancy.

Despite the flash backs, depression I suffered & PTSD, 2 x falls that resulted in 2 x surgeries as I became steadier on my feet, tinnitus and deafness, I could go on.

And despite all that - I’m glad I’ve lived to tell this tale. A few years later as I was picking myself back up, I met a lovely man and am now happily married and life, though a little different to before - and I tell this tale thinking ‘really, did this happen to me’ it did - and I’m delighted to have been fortunate enough to say I’ve pulled through - as I know many are not so lucky.

We must all be aware of the signs to look for - had my meningitis been recognised by medics sooner, it would not have become so serious & complex and I’d have recovered much faster.

Take care.

Lorna Carmichael
September 2019

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