Word on Health

In Profile - Jeanette's Story

On October the 15th last year, my mum, Jeanette Powell, who was a fit and healthy 70 year old, felt unwell with flu like symptoms. She began hallucinating and was admitted to hospital.

Within 48 hours she was in critical care, in a coma on a life support machine.

Mum was diagnosed with encephalitis, an inflammation on the brain. This disease can occur at any age and can be caused by infection or by the body’s own immune system attacking the brain in error. 

My dad, Trevor, and I were told to live day-by-day and our lives would be an emotional rollercoaster. My sister who lives in Australia flew back. 

After 16 days, mum was moved to a high dependency ward. However, she was still not responding to any treatment and a CT scan showed a bleed to the brain.

Mum was still in a semi-conscious coma, and on Friday, November 13, doctors told us that it was very highly unlikely that my mum would ever make a recovery and as a family we prepared for the worst.

Two days later, she woke up and opened her eyes - to the amazement of the medical staff. 

We as a family have a long road ahead of us, our lives have changed for ever, and mum was paralysed on one side, unable to walk, eat, drink or talk properly.

She has now been moved to West Park, Rehabilitation Hospital, and will be there for many months to come.

She has now began to use her left side, and can now eat, however she is very confused and needs to learn to walk again and constant care. 

We do not know what the future holds and whether she will ever be able to come home or how badly her brain has been damaged. 

The last few months have been an emotional rollercoaster and continue to do so for myself and Dad. 

Wrtten by Jeanette's daughter, Lisa Slater, of Kingswinford.


Founded in 1994, The Encephalitis Society is a registered charity and the only resource of its kind in the world providing direct support and information to people affected by encephalitis, and to their family and friends. In 2015/16 we provided support and information to around 250,000 people and 169,400 health professionals.  Our website received 190,000 visitors and nearly 700,000 page views from all over the world. The Encephalitis Society receives no Government funding and relies on income raised from individuals, businesses and grant-making organisations.


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