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Lucy O's story

29th October 2018

Lucy O’s 71-year-old mum Barbara thought she had caught a cold when she first started to feel ill but what happened next was the start of a very scary journey for them both. Here Lucy, from Grimsby, recounts how it felt to be told her mother might not survive

Lucy O's story

“We had been away on holiday and my partner and I got engaged. I rang my mother to tell her the news, she sounded very croaky on the phone but said she just had the start of a cold.

I told her to rest up, and we exchanged texts. Everything seemed ok.

“Two days later we arrived home and that evening my mother’s friend rang to tell me she had been admitted to intensive care with a suspected stroke. Hospital was 1.5 hours away from our home, so we drove off after receiving the news at about 10pm.

Intensive care

“When we got to intensive care at Pilgrim hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, my mum was unresponsive apart from a few coughs and groans. We hadn’t been told it may be meningitis and I spent hours resting my head next to her on her pillow, hugging and talking to her.

“My brother arrived in the early hours from Bristol and the doctors then came to talk to us. They told us it was meningitis and the chances of her surviving were very low. That morning she was intubated and put in a coma. The next day there were no improvements, but she bit through her breathing tube so she had a tracheostomy fitted.


“Doctors tried to wake her but had no success - we were then told the likelihood was she would not survive and at best may be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. A week and a half went by, and they managed to wake my mum. After two days she started to speak. The first thing she did was look at my engagement ring and grin.

“Mum was moved on to a general ward where she suffered with hallucinations at night and was extremely distressed. She had to learn to walk again. Mum has been left completely deaf in one ear, but continues to live independently on her own. She works two days a week in a charity shop, and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Mum has always lead a healthy, active lifestyle and even now continues to walk her dog for miles every day. She never expected anything like this to ever happen to her”.