Raising awareness Your Stories Isabella's Story Towards of the end of the half term holidays in October 2017, my daughter Isabella went from being a lively, bubbly nine-year-old to suddenly complaining of headache and flu-like systems (writes mum, Madalen). Over the weekend, Isabella would only sleep and drink water and go to the bathroom when she needed. She did not have much of an appetite for eating anything – which was not like her at all. On the Monday morning, I called the GP and got Isabella an appointment in the morning. Isabella complained of having no energy to walk to the doctors so I got a taxi there and back. This was odd as the doctors surgery is only a five minute walk from our house. Needless to say, I was very worried. When I got to the see the doctors, they thought that Isabella had caught a bug that was going around. We were told to carry on with Calpol and Neurofen every four hours like I had been doing. Isabella had a temperature and was a bit pink at the back of the throat. They said if there were no changes in a few days, I should bring her back to the doctors’ surgery. When we got home, she was very pale and very quiet which again was not like her at all. She managed to eat a little soup – not too much, however. Not long after lunch, she sat glaring at the wall and was not responding to me when I was said her name. This led me to call the ambulance service. The ambulance turned up quickly but it seemed like it took forever. I was so worried for Isabella. When the paramedics turned up, they did a number of examinations, all of which had very little response from her. Then as the paramedics starting putting Isabella in the ambulance she suddenly started fitting. We were taken to our local hospital and they tried everything for Isabella before rushing her to another hospital that dealt with intensive care for children. We finally got to the new hospital and Isabella was in a coma for 10 days. The medical team then did various tests on her - MRI and lumber puncture tests etc. It took three to four days before they diagnosed Isabella with encephalitis. I had never even heard of this condition. It was a very big shock to the system when they told about the condition, the doctors where great on explaining what it was etc. When Isabella started to come round after about 10 days, she would sleep, wake for an hour and then fall back to sleep. She was very drowsy and did not have a clue what was going around her most of the time. When Isabella started her rehabilitation such as physiotherapy, speech therapy and trying to get her to remember . She started to make progress bit by bit which was good. Isabella would start to remember people she know such as school friends, teachers and family she missed. Her concentration span is not brilliant at the moment but that can be slowly worked on within time the doctors say. After spending nearly eight weeks in hospital the doctors said yes a week before Christmas to let her come home. That was the best Christmas present ever! We have still got quite a few challenges ahead of us all. She has quite a few appointments and check-ups with doctors. But Isabella started going back to school after the Christmas holidays for a couple of hours a day which is a start. She loves being back at school with her friends and back into a routine. And she is being very chatty all the time. One thing I have to admire Isabella is her determination to get better and stronger and pull through this. And all the support we have had from family and friends has been shocking and grateful of it all. It has made us stronger as a family for sure.