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Elsie B's story

18th October 2017

Little Elsie, from Whitehaven in Cumbria, beat pneumococcal meningitis in 2015. She tells her story here, with a little help from her parents

Elsie B's story

“My mummy and daddy woke up at 2am because I was making a strange sound in my cot. I was very hot and red and semi-conscious.

"My mummy was calling for me to respond and then I started having a fit – which continued for two hours! My mummy grabbed me and my daddy got my sister Anna and we got in the car and up to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. My mummy is a paramedic and was on the phone to A&E telling them what I was doing so they had everyone ready for me.

“My mummy ran into the waiting doctors with me. They had a doctor who administered some different medicine to stop me fitting but for a long time nothing happened. Daddy was crying and Mummy was too.

Cried a lot

“The doctors said that I needed to cool down and stop shaking and they were getting worried. The doctors said to my daddy that there were only two ways I would stop. One was if the anti-convulsant medicine started to work and the other one was if I was not able to carry on any longer. Mummy and Daddy cried a lot.

“All of a sudden I stopped shaking as much and started reaching out for my mummy's face. I couldn't use my left arm or leg and my face was a bit lopsided. I'd only started to try and walk a few weeks earlier. I stayed in the hospital so they could watch me.

“I stayed in West Cumbria for another two days and they didn't know what was wrong. The doctors at Newcastle thought I might have had a tropical disease and were waiting for blood tests. I pulled out a lot of tubes they kept putting in my arms and legs and they were running out of places. I kept having fits, which was scary.

Try and make me better

“Eventually, I was sent to the RVI in Newcastle in an ambulance but I started fitting again before we got there. When I arrived, the new doctor said that I had meningitis and we would stay there so they could try and make me better. My left side still wasn't working.

“I had lots of medicine and started getting a bit better. My mummy and daddy stayed with me but Anna had to stay with her cousins. I saw a physiotherapist and we played in the sensory room with balls and bubble tubes. My left hand wouldn't open. The physio put some kinesiology tape on it and it seemed a bit better. Daddy then made a new piece of tape on my hand and fingers like Spiderman and I opened my hand for the first time.

“I got better and better and stopped fitting. The doctors were very nice and my mummy and daddy stopped crying so much. The needles made me cry a lot.

Lots better and happier

“Anna came after a few days and we went to the nice park in the RVI and I got lots better and happier. After 10 days they said I could go home. My arm didn't work very well and nor did my leg. Mummy and Daddy said they would deal with whatever happened and make sure I was okay.

“Mummy and Daddy did lots of things to make me use my arm and leg but it took many months. It took my cat Coco to walk near me so I reached out and stroked him and that was the start of my arm getting better. I started crawling again and over time I learned to walk and use my left side as good as I can. I was a very clingy baby... and still want to be near my mummy a lot.

Run and play now

“I can run and play now like I should do. My arm goes like "I'm a little teapot" when I run but maybe that will go away when I get bigger. I'll be 3 in a few weeks. I go to nursery and I can do most things like I had never been sick.

“I’m very lucky because I survived pneumococcal meningitis in 2015. I'm a battler and so grateful for the doctors, nurses and people who supported me. My mummy and daddy and Anna thank everyone who made sure I've made it this far.”