Meningitis in your words

Lu Olson's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Child
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Co-ordination problems
Lu Olson

Hi! Thank you for taking the time to visit! My name is Stephani; I am the daughter of Lu Olson who was diagnosed with BACTERIAL SPINAL MENINGITIS not once, but twice.


She was diagnosed with Bacterial Spinal Meningitis which is a bacterial infection that surrounds the meninges in the brain and spinal cord. She was in coma for a WEEK and doctors told my grandma she wasn't going to make it. The doctors at the time plead with my grandma to remove her from life support but she refused faithful that God would not let such a young, healthy, kind hearted kid die. A week later my mom pulled through the odds and WOKE UP. She woke up a very different person unable to write, talk, walk and hear from her left ear. Her memory of the event was scarce and she was scared. Doctors now said she would have these disabilities the duration of her life, they were WRONG. Aside from the hearing loss in her left ear my mom was able to make a slow but full recovery. She graduated high school and shortly after became a mother.

"She woke up a completely different person though she NEVER lost the smile on her face"

My mom beat all the odds against her after 6 weeks hospitalized and MONTHS of physical therapy, speech therapy and learning to cope with the hearing loss.

At 18 my mom had me; I am currently a LAPD Police Officer and a Medic in the United States Air Force. At 20 my mom had my sister Kristen who is now a Physician Assistant (PA) in the United States Air Force. At 27 my mom had my sister Jazmin who is a pre-med student at the University of KU. At 34 she had my brother Elijah who is an 8th grader and the most kind-hearted boy you'll meet. My mother raised us as a single parent always ensuring she worked 2-3 jobs to give us everything we needed and more. We never went without and she always made sure to make it to EVERY sporting event my siblings and I had regardless if she had just worked an 18 + hour shift.


She was diagnosed with Bacterial Spinal Meningitis and AirEvac to the nearest hospital where she was in COMA for the SECOND time. After weeks in the hospital day in and day out there was little hope from the doctors. I remember being asleep in a chair by her bedside watching her thrash about, TUBE down her throat making the most odd sounds you can ever imagine. I remember the restraints on her arms and legs to help prevent her from injuring herself. One morning out of nowhere, she WOKE UP.

She woke up a completely different person though she NEVER lost the smile on her face. She was very discombobulated as you can imagine and I remember when my grandma told her what happened and my mom just started to cry.

She AGAIN was unable to write clearly, unable to walk and permanent brain damage causing memory loss and learning disabilities. It took her months of physical therapy to regain the ability to walk from point A to B. She spent months working with the physical therapist to be able to place square blocks through a square hole or determine the relationship to two objects. She kept a smile on her face and was determined to make a full recovery....and THEN the insurance stopped and the hospitals refused to authorize basic "non-emergency" care let alone to the specialist she needed (Neurologist, Physical Therapist, Pain Management and the list goes on).

She's spent the last few years living with my sister unable to work. She still can't do simple tasks that we take for granted. She can't stay awake for longer than a couple hours before her body just shuts down. She has an intense debilitating migraine daily. She can't walk up or down hills/stairs without the assistance of someone or something. She can't remember what she did yesterday. She has trouble looking up or down without feeling dizzy. Overall, she is in a daily exhausting and painful struggle.

The thing that amazes me though is she has never, ever, EVER lost hope that one day she will be independent. Unfortunately, as time has pasted it's apparent In order to make her dream come true she will need the help of specialists we can't afford.

"Recently she has had complications with a Cochlear Baha Hearing Aid implant she was able to get 3 years ago"

She never complains and on the outside you would never know the pain behind her eyes. She is still the most kind-hearted, loving person willing to lend a hand or dollar she doesn't have to SOMEONE ELSE she feels is MORE in need. She's the type that doesn't ask for help so I'm asking for her. She needs it so she can start LIVING life and not existing.

Recently she has had complications with a Cochlear Baha Hearing Aid implant she was able to get 3 years ago. The rod they placed in her skull to help her hear has become infected and very painful. Because the infection is so close to her brain this has potential to cause other complications if left untreated.

My dad passed away this year and that was hard enough, I can't imagine a life without her in it. I am asking for donations to help get my mom the medical care she desperately needs.

If you have a dollar to give, it's a dollar more than she has. We will be FOREVER grateful and someday in someway, you will be repaid

Stephani Block
April 2014