Poetry corner

10th May 2017

Andrea was 16 when she contracted meningitis and to cope with the experience she started to write poetry. Here she shares her story and poems

AndreaAfter seeing our blog about the power of poetry on social media, Andrea Mclay got in touch to share her story and poems with us.

Andrea was 16 when she contracted meningitis in 2002. Unfortunately, she also suffered kidney failure, but luckily after just ten days on the organ donor list she received a transplant on Christmas day – what a present!

Sadly this was not the end of Andrea’s traumatic experience, as after a series of operations doctors broke the life-changing news that she would need to have a double below-knee amputation.  

Andrea spent nine months in hospital, having treatment at both University Hospital Wales, and Morriston hospital in Swansea, before returning to school and then university, where she trained as a nurse.

Six years ago Andrea emigrated to New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and 22 month old daughter.

During Andrea’s time in hospital she would write poems as a way of coping with the experience, which came as a surprise to her mum Mary who said: “We didn't even know Andrea wrote poetry until she was ill”.

Andrea’s poems give a real insight into what it’s like recovering from meningitis in hospital.

We hope you enjoy reading her poems!


We started off sitting
No walking or swimming
We threw balls back and for
To try and improve my body core

We now are just like friends
Not just a physio and patient making amends
You were really chuffed when I could walk.
Many people just thought it was all talk

You supported me through my hard times
It’s been so special I’m writing in rhymes!
Then the bad news came along
But we together stayed strong

The operation went ahead
For a week I had to stay in bed
Since then things have changed
And my confidence I have regained

Now we swim every week
And these are the times when I most peak
You smiled when you saw my new legs
I was relieved they weren’t just pegs

And now when I walk you smile
One day I’ll race you – a mile!
Thanks for all the things you’ve done
I feel as though my life has just begun.


My body is scarred and discoloured
Some days I wish I could be covered
The tip of my finger and toe have gone
I’m still waiting for day I’m strong
I take one step forward and two back
I wonder will I ever get back on track?
Things go well for a while
But then suddenly I’m back a mile
The physios all I cannot fault
But at the moment sessions are at a halt
I get so far and feel really well
But then it changes and I feel like hell
The outcome of all this is fear
If I think too hard it brings a tear.


For a while you looked after me
Between you all you kept me alive
Your smiles greet me when I visit you
To see all the wonderful staff at P.I.C.U!
You kept my family and friends’ spirits high
It’s down to you all that I didn’t die
All the time it took for my dressings
It’s a lot shorter now – that’s a blessing!
I know I was pretty sick
But now I’m better, I don’t miss a trick
The first place I want to walk
Is back to you all
You saw me in the beginning – you’ll see me at the end
You’re seeing me now that I’m on the mend
You deserve a reward, praise and more
Because you all made me like I was before!