Bacterial Meningitis B Septicaemia
In 2009 I survived from the disease Bacterial Meningitis Septicaemia. As a coping mechanism, I joined as many charities and groups as possible to help others suffering with the disease and their families.
Bacterial Meningitis Septicaemia is known as the ‘Killing’ Disease. When you hear of kids getting ill suddenly and then dying within hours- it is normally because they have contracted Meningitis. Unfortunately the ‘B’ strain has millions of different bacterial viruses and therefore it is incurable by vaccination. People do not come out of it unscathed-most have limbs missing or severe brain damage. It is unheard of when someone actually survives.
I too came out of the illness with certain brain damage and a very low immune system. I lost how to walk and talk and was in quarantine in hospital for a long time. Fast forward to the present day and I am fine. I was lucky. Incredibly lucky.
So why am I telling you this? I want to raise awareness. I also want the families out there to understand what happens when someone they love contracts the disease. All the questions on peoples mind I hope to answer in this post.
So how did I get it?
University. The most common place to contract Meningitis due to food being left out for longer than it should and general bad living conditions. I contracted it through the ear. I survived with the bacteria for 10 days. My body tried to fight it. I was unusual. I was branded by doctors as a miracle and I am the first case of Meningitis B that has been around for that long in the body before the disease caused it to break down.
I went home from University. I woke up the following morning and could not move without being in severe pain. It felt like someone was hitting my head repeatedly with the strongest metal object you could find. My eyes were blurry. I was taken to the doctors by my mum. When the Doctor saw me she panicked. She told me to go immediately to hospital.
I got to hospital. I was screaming in pain. I was whisked through to see a triage nurse who admitted me into intensive care. I was then given strong pain killers by a doctor and sent home with a bad case of flu.
I felt fine, and went to meet my boyfriend at the train station. I fainted. Next thing I woke up in bed being sick constantly. I then lost the feeling in my legs and arms. I screamed that I needed to go to hospital. At this point trying to put on my shoes was incredibly difficult. Through my eyes I could see the boot and my foot, but in actual fact the boot was about a metre away from my foot-but this did not register-this is the first sign of brain damage-mis-coordination.
I got in the car and could not move my legs. My mum drove me to the hospital. I went into a coma. My mum got to the hospital and thought I had fallen asleep and so drove back home. My father opened the door to the car and had to carry me inside before telling me to go to bed. He let go of me and I collapsed. I fell on the bucket I had been sick in and banged my nose and eye. Bleeding nose and black eye I lay on the floor. My parents called the ambulance and they arrived. They looked at my face and immediately thought that I had been abused by my parents. It was not until they saw the foam at my mouth they realised that I was fitting and dying. I was taken to hospital. My parents were told that I was going to die and that if I didn’t I would be severely brain damaged.
I do not remember anything, the reason I know all of this is because people have told me what happened. All I remember is a bright light of a street lamp and the most amazing calm feeling. I went from severe pain to none at all. That was it.
I woke up two weeks later. Still in intensive care I could not talk and walk. That is when I was told that I had sceptacaemia. This is the blood poisoning that causes limbs to be removed. I had rashes over my legs and stomach. At this point they did not know the extent of the damage-but the fact that I could not walk suggested the worse.
I was moved into quarantine. Quarantine is a private room away from everyone. It is used for when someone is extremely contagious. For a long time all I would see is people in masks, gloves and aprons.
The first time I tried to walk, I was on my own bored in my room. I would only be able to be awake for about 20 mins at most before I fell asleep again. I pulled myself out of bed and tried to stand. I was frustrated that I couldn’t. I pushed myself, hanging on for dear life, to walk around the bed. I collapsed. I did not give up. I tried to walk everyday when people were not there. I also tried to copy other people when they spoke. 6 weeks later the physio-therapists turned up and tested me climbing the stairs. I could not and I burst into tears.
In a matter of weeks my body had gone from a 20 year old to having the strength of a 5 year old. It took me a year to go through rehabilitation and relapse stage (relapse stage is when you are most susceptible to contracting the disease again-this is when you could potentially die from the disease as the medicine you have already taken would not work as well.)
My nearby gym gave me a free membership to try and work on my legs. I had gone from being a professional at swimming to not being able to stay afloat.
As a result of surviving unscathed I had to go through lots of tests. I was prodded by millions of needles and went for many scans. I had to talk to loads of doctors so that they could make notes on the condition.
I was lucky. I survived.
There are millions of people out there who die from this disease and even more are left in a condition that changes the rest of their lives.
I have spoken to many mothers who have lost their children to this horrific disease, and there is only so much I can say to them. All I can do is assure them that with Meningitis B that the pain goes so quickly. The initial pain is horrible but then it goes within a few hours.
What are the early signs?
A bad case of flu is the first warning. A rash and a headache. That is it.
So what do I want to achieve by writing this?
I want people to know my story. I want them to see that miracles do happen. It is possible to have a life after a horrific illness. There is hope. I also want to inform people about the disease as well as be there for people to ask questions.
- State declares meningitis outbreak at Princeton University after fourth case reported (nj.com)
- World Meningitis Day (mama.ie)
- Meningitis: Keep Watching (amummysview.com)
- Caution advised after meningitis cases (cltv.com)
- April 24th, 2013. World Meningitis Awareness Day. Parents, do you know the symptoms? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Familiarizing Yourself With Signs And Symptoms Of Meningitis (dietnewsinfo.com)
- Meningitis – What You Need to Know. (mdlivehealth.com)
- Preventing Seizures in a Meningitis Patient (everydayhealth.com)
- Meningitis Risk Factors (everydayhealth.com)
- Safety and Effectiveness of Meningitis Immunizations (pediatrics.answers.com)