West Sussex woman had to teach herself to walk again after spending a month in hospital battling meningitis
A 41-year-old woman from Burgess Hill is urging people to know the symptoms of meningitis, after contracting the diseases in early 2020.
Jamini Wright spoke out about her illness this week, during Meningitis Awareness week.
The charity Meningitis Research Foundation says it expects cases of meningitis to increase in the next few months. Every year there are more cases as we move into autumn and winter, and post lockdown, as social distancing eases, it will become easier for the bacteria to spread.
Jamini began to experience joint pain and repetitive vomiting in January 2020.
She was told by a doctor that was most likely to be ‘just a virus’. Over the weekend Jamini’s condition worsened and she struggled to move her legs. At a further visit to the doctor she was told again it was probably a virus, but blood was taken for testing. Later that same evening, Jamini received a phone call telling her an ambulance was on its way. “My CRP levels [a sign of inflammation] were the highest the doctor had ever seen,” said Jamini. “That was when I knew it was something serious.”
Jamini was given antibiotics as soon as she arrived at Princess Royal Hospital and tests were carried out. She was then transferred to the specialist Infectious Disease Unit in Brighton. Jamini spent four weeks in hospital having contracted potentially fatal meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia (also known as sepsis). She said: “When they said I had meningitis I was terrified, but by that point I was beginning to recover - so there was some relief in knowing what it was at last.”
Meningitis is spread through close contact and new figures from Public Health England Meningococcal Reference Unit show that cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia dropped significantly in England and Wales during lockdown – currently at less than a third of cases compared to the same months in previous years. However, as restrictions ease, cases are expected to rise and Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is warning people not to be complacent.
Fortunately Jamini survived but lockdown created additional difficulties. “All of my follow up and physio appointments were put on hold,” she said. “I had to teach myself to walk again, to use my wrists again, to try and get back to normal.”
Jamini continues to suffer after effects, including limb pain, severe fatigue and headaches. “Nobody talks about meningitis, but it can happen to anyone. It could’ve happened to someone sat right next to you, and you’d never know because not all after effects can be seen straight away.” She added: “If telling my story can help just one person, even just one, then it will have been worth it.”