It was only after a lumbar puncture that Catarina, 30, was diagnosed with a form of viral meningitis. She told us what happened.
“I started to have symptoms on 24 March 2019 - headache, lower back pain, nausea. I went to hospital and was sent back home with paracetamol."
“The symptoms got worse, and I started to lose consciousness, so I went back to hospital but was sent home again with medication. The symptoms continued to get worse and worse, and I returned to hospital for the third time. We had to argue with the doctors that something was definitely wrong and they needed to do more tests."
“At this point I started to lose feeling in my legs, I was unable to go to the toilet, and I was paralysed from waist down. I spent two weeks in hospital before a lumbar puncture was done. I was then transferred to another hospital where I had three more lumbar punctures, a CT scan, a PET scan, MRIs, blood tests etc. That was when they discovered I had meningoencephalitis, which is a bacteria that affects the brain and the spinal cord, causing confusion, loss of memory, and affects movement."
“Thanks to great physios at Neurology Hospital in Russell Square I was slowly able to start walking again. I am currently on steroids, and still not back to normal, my walking is still slow and I stumble a lot. My short-term memory has been highly affected and the side effects of steroids have had a major impact on my life. I am still doing tests and been off work since March. I’m not sure when the doctors will allow me to work again, but I have high hopes it will be soon.”