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Lel's story

7th June 2020

In a time where coronavirus dominates the media, the threat of other serious diseases hasn’t gone away. Lel’s recent experience of Neisseria meningococcal meningitis is a timely reminder to keep meningitis in mind, as she recovers from the disease

Lel's story

“It started on 24 April 2020, which strangely enough is World Meningitis Day.

"It came on very quickly with bad head pain which l thought was a migraine. I was sick to the extent I could not get out of bed. I couldn’t walk - moving was such an effort. My son phoned 111 and told them my symptoms. He was told to give me Migraleave.

“The next day I was feeling worse, the light coming through the blind was hurting my eyes. My son phoned 111 again; this time the doctor I spoke to was concerned. She phoned an emergency ambulance to assess me. They came quickly and put me on a stretcher. I begged for more pain relief but I wasn’t allowed.

“When I reached Watford General, I was hidden under the blanket. I couldn’t walk. They took me straight in. They gave me morphine, which took the edge off the pain, and a CT scan and chest X-ray were taken. They put me straight into the Covid ward on fluids and an antibiotic drip.

Blood tests and a lumbar puncture

“The next day they told me the result of my Covid test was negative and took me to another ward in a room on my own. I joked and said, “Is this a free upgrade?”... not knowing.

“I was given blood tests and a lumbar puncture, which was conclusive of consistent Neisseria meningitis.

“I continued on a drip of antibiotics and painkillers and after a week I was sent home, in the care of hospital at home. I have suffered some memory loss, I am tired and sometimes am still dizzy.

“I am grateful for the amazing ambulance service and doctors who cared for me. I feel very blessed I have such supportive friends and family, and of course my beautiful son who saved my life.”