After a week in intensive care the doctors were happy that the meningitis itself had been dealt with, but we were now left with problems caused by septicaemia. I was therefore flown home to Scotland and immediately admitted to hospital.
I spent six weeks in St John’s Hospital in Livingston where I underwent four operations to repair the damage caused by the septicaemia. This treatment included a skin flap to my right ankle and numerous skin grafts to my legs. The plastic surgeons worked wonders but warned me that arthritis was likely in future years. I spoke with a counsellor several times which was very comforting.
After being discharged from hospital I required physiotherapy but was able to stop using crutches after about three months. I then returned to work, almost six months after leaving to go on my holiday to Tenerife.
As the plastic surgeons predicted, I was always bothered by pain from my right ankle. I took painkillers regularly and was referred for physiotherapy on a few occasions over the years. However, the pain got steadily worse until it got to the stage where I was offered an operation to fuse my ankle. The fusion of the joint would stop it moving and therefore cut down the pain.
I had my ankle fusion operation two years ago and, although it meant being on crutches again for six months, I’m delighted to say that the pain is now far less than before.
I am now doing very well and have a lovely family, with two great children. I have been very lucky, and the only other after affect to speak of regards my lack of short-term memory, which was never great anyway!
I became a member of Meningitis Research Foundation after deciding to raise money for them at the time of my 30th birthday. I’ve received great care and support from many people, from the time of the initial illness and beyond, and I think it is only right to try and give something back. Thank you.
Written by: Alan Smith