Inspiring mother who lost feet and hand to meningitis now able to drive and wants return to work

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A BRAVE mother-of-one who spent 12 days in a coma before losing a hand and both feet to deadly meningitis has spoken of her determination to return to work.

Linsay Robertson, an office manager from Edinburgh, thought she was coming down with flu when she started to feel unwell at work.

However, just hours later, the 44-year-old was being rushed into hospital and fighting for her life as her body began to shut down after contracting a form of meningitis and septicaemia.

She was in a coma for 12 days and woke to the devastating news that her right hand and both feet would have to be amputated.

 

Linsay is now able to drive again and is looking to return to work

 

After months of gruelling rehab and learning to walk again, Linsay is ready to return to work and wants to share her story to make others aware that anyone can be struck down by the devastating disease.

Speaking about the day in May last year, Linsay said: “It all happened really quickly. I remember being at work and in the afternoon feeling like I had a fever.

“I was meant to be going to my mum’s for dinner that night but I cancelled because I felt really ill.

“I finished my full day’s work and went home and just threw myself into bed because I thought I was coming down with the flu.

“I remember my daughter coming to check on me a few hours later, she noticed I was hot and went to get me some paracetamol.”

As Linsay’s condition grew increasingly worse, she began to vomit and suffer from bouts of diarrhoea.

Her partner, Graham Welsh, arrived to check on her but in the early hours of the morning it became clear something was seriously wrong and an ambulance called.

 

Linsay and her partner Graham

 

Linsay continued: “I honestly thought I had the norovirus and when my partner called NHS 24 and gave them my symptoms, they thought I had the flu.

“I remember waking up about four in the morning with chronic cramps and I knew something was seriously wrong. I was curled up in a ball.

“By the time Graham had phoned the ambulance it was getting worse and I remember I screamed ‘I think I’m dying.’

“By the time the paramedics arrived, I think my lips had turned blue.”

Linsay was rushed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and placed in an induced coma.

Her family, including her 16-year-old daughter Morran, were told that her organs were failing and that she had bacterial meningitis.

She was in a coma for 12 days and woke to see her toes looking like “black chips” and that her fingers were “turned in like claws.”

The doctor told her that he was going to have to amputate but Linsay was determined she would have a normal life.

After six months in hospital, she was discharged last November and is now able to walk on her prosthetic legs and has started driving again last month.

She is keen to return to work and wants to make people aware that the disease can affect anyone, no matter their age or circumstance.

She said: “The impact of this disease has lessened though time, although kidney failure is my constant worry now.

“When the doctor said he was going to leave a bit of my thumb, I thought to myself, ‘what am I going to do with half a thumb?’

“But it’s amazing all the things I can do. It’s helped me keep my freedom. I can cook, clean and drive.

“Some days are harder than others but I have come through it and I’ve always been determined.

“If I can get through it, anyone can do it. It’s been a massive adjustment for all of us.

“My daughter, Morran, is now attending counselling and is part of a young carers group.

“I’ve always had great support, nobody treats me any differently.”

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