Good to good until...I developed a really bad throat infection which just wouldn't clear up. Eventually after two weeks off work I went back, still feeling unwell but couldn't quite understand why. The month passed and Christmas Eve was here before we knew it. Boy was I looking forward to Christmas with three new grandchildren to share it with, and my daughter announced a new arrival coming in July. Talk about waiting for buses then they all come at once...
I left work at lunchtime on 24 December 2002 with a very strange pain in my left shoulder, went off to do some last-minute shopping and my left leg gave way. During the course of the rest of the day I felt very 'odd' and developed a headache I couldn't explain. I just couldn't face my usual visit to midnight mass and went to bed around 10pm.
25 December 2002 I woke so excited at the thought of Christmas Day at my daughter's, new babies, and the first Christmas I was to spend with my son for seven years. My head was pounding I could hardly stand with the pain; I dosed myself up with tablets and just tried hard to get through it. I reached my daughter's house and just don't know how I sat there opening presents and watching those babies in their chairs. My leg was hurting, my headache was getting worse - come dinner time I couldn't sit at the table, I had to lie down on the couch. I really don't remember much more about the day, except I was in my daughter's spare room sleeping when I woke with my head about to burst, it felt like a balloon that needed to pop. I crawled from the bed to a door screaming with the pain trying to get myself heard in the early hours of the morning. I did not know anything else until 1 January 2003!
I am told:
- When the paramedics finally arrived they wondered if I had taken an overdose as I was slurred and incoherent (I have no knowledge of that at all);
- When I arrived at hospital a consultant suspected what I had and gave me the strongest antibiotic immediately, which saved my life;
- I was transferred, blue light etc to another hospital with my family in tow not knowing what was going on, where I stayed in ITU until a couple of days after I regained consciousness;
- It wasn't until I was moved onto a ward when I was told with my husband, son and daughter that I had meningococcal septicaemia. I was told I was a very strong lady with an amazing constitution. I had been about two hours away from singing with the angels.