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Hannah W’s story

4th April 2017

In 2004 Hannah from Selby, North Yorkshire started to feel unwell whilst on a school trip. She was 15 and her symptoms started with a headache

Hannah W’s story

"While away on a school trip I began to feel ill with a headache.

The next day at school I was falling asleep in lessons and unable to concentrate because of my headache. I was sent home and went to the doctors to be told I had flu and to just sleep it off.

"Everything I ate made me sick and I just spent the next few days in bed unable to move because of the stiffness in my neck. After time I started to hallucinate which obviously panicked my step father who took me back to the doctor.

'Bad case of flu'

"I was sent to the hospital for tests, and they believed I was just very dehydrated and had a very 'bad case of flu'. That night at staff change over a new doctor came to look at my notes and recognised the symptoms of meningitis. Doctors did a scan on my brain where they discovered fluid had built up. By this time I was drifting in and out of consciousness. They told my mother they would operate to drain the fluid from my brain, but to pray as time was limited.

"After a nine hour operation my mother was told I was very much still in the woods and if I pulled through there's not much chance I would walk again. After a long road of recovering, learning how to eat, talk and walk again I was allowed to leave the hospital in time for Christmas Day. Two years on from this, I was finally discharged and was told I had as much chance of getting this again as anyone else. For me there's not a great deal I remember, but I do remember thinking it was never an option not getting better and not being able to walk again - but for my parents it's obviously a very scary memory.

Normal life

"I still struggle with neck problems from the muscles never getting their strength back, but apart from that I lead a very happy and normal life with my two year old boy and fiancé - who I will be marrying at the end of May this year.

"I hope anyone going through this or anyone who knows someone who's going through this knows that people do pull through. It takes time but you do get there and you can carry on with your life, just as the rest of the world does.