fighting meningococcal disease   |   Support, Awareness and Reducing deaths in WA from meningococcal disease

STEF’s Story

On Sunday 8th January, after a long weekend celebrating Mums Birthday, a few friends and I went to the local Byford Pub for dinner. I ordered my favourite chicken parma and salad. I was dissatisfied with the meal, it tasted bland and powdery. Assuming it was undercooked or off I decided not to eat it and we all went home. Once home, I started feeling very nauseous and unwell so I went straight to bed. Little did I know that my symptoms had already started.

Monday 9th January 2012. It was 5am and I had woken up sweaty and very distressed. My legs were cramping, my head was pounding and my stomach was churning. I managed to drag myself out of bed and go into the kitchen for a glass of water and Panadol. My Dad came out ready and about to leave for work, and he saw that I was pale and crying. He walked me back to bed and awakened my mother.

Half an hour passed and I somehow managed to get to the toilet where I continued to vomit for what seemed like forever. I was trying to yell out to my Mum or Nana who were sleeping at the other end of the house, but they could not hear my cries. It was 6am when Mum woke up and went into my room to check on me, but it was in the toilet, hugged to the bowel, where she finally found me. I couldn’t stand due to the shooting pain through my legs, and it took both my Mum and Nana to carry me back to bed where they gathered my things and decided to take me to Armadale Hospital.

I was admitted in the hospital, where they gave me some intravenous fluids and a tablet to stop me vomiting. After the bag of fluid had finished I then felt a little better. With the colour coming back into my face the hospital ruled it to be food poisoning and sent me back home.

Not even an hour had passed since being at back home when I went downhill very, very fast.
Lying in Mum’s bed my vision became blurry and the light was very bright. My lips were blue and my face pale and grey. Just being touched caused intense pain. My Mum called an ambulance. My Mum and sister, Dayle, came in the ambulance as well, with Dad following in his car.

Back at Armadale hospital I was taken straight into the emergency ward for test and fluids. As they were putting sticky dots onto my chest for an ECG, my sister said, “Mum, Is that a rash?”  Overhearing Dayle’s comment, the nurse inspected the pin prick dots that where showing on my belly and quickly walked out of the room. Seconds later she arrived with at least a dozen doctors who inspected the rash. I was then taken to a separate non-contact room and was put on a penicillin drip. Blood tests where taken as they believed that I had Meningococcal Meningitis.
An hour later they confirmed my diagnosis of Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B.

Mum and Dad were taken into a room with the doctor and where told to expect the worse as he did not think I was going to pull through. By then I was going in and out of consciousness and the rash was spreading quickly around my whole body.

I was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital ICU where I spent the next three critical nights.  I cannot remember much at all from leaving the Armadale Hospital or even being in ICU. I woke up in a ward where I then spent a week and a half on a course of antibiotics. I saw a physiotherapist who helped me to get up walking, which was very hard due to the swelling in all my limbs (thankfully I had not lost any). After being discharged I continued to recover at home. It took a few months before I was able to return to work and carry on with my normal daily tasks.

For about a year after my illness, I was weak and nauseous, and not able to eat at times. I had recurring headaches, which eventually went away with a course of medication. I still find, over a year later, that I suffer frequent colds and flu’s. My rash has finally started to subside and fade away as bruises, some completely gone and some that are taking their time. I do also find that when I become run down and very tired, my rash will flare up and become noticeable, I guess that’s its way of reminding me to slow down.