Many people grow concerned as soon as they start getting the sniffles, run a fever or are generally feeling “unwell.” It could be allergies, it could be the common cold or it could be The Virus.
It doesn’t help that there are many and varying symptoms of COVID-19, but despite its prevalence, there are still plenty of other diseases and illnesses that share some of the symptoms and it pays to be aware of them.
Cher Little from Connah’s Quay, Wales, knows that more now than ever, after a months-long ordeal she experienced this year following what she’d assumed was COVID.
She first got a fever and a headache, but that eventually progressed to a rash and blisters. Then she became delirious and her limbs went purple.
Little was rushed to the hospital by her family, and in less than 20 minutes after arriving, she was put into a medically induced coma and given a 20 percent chance of survival. She’d also tested negative for COVID.
Turns out, she didn’t have the virus at all: She had Meningococcal Septicaemia, a serious blood infection that threatened her life and limb.
For 23 days, the 47-year-old mother was in a coma. She was in septic shock, her limbs turned black and she had to have her legs amputated just below the knee on Feb. 3.
The disease took its toll on her internal organs as well, according to what her sister wrote on a GoFundMe for her.
“Cher has had to undergo extensive surgery; she has lost her spleen, her kidneys have been extremely compromised, her eyesight & hands have been affected and she is in constant pain,” the page reads.
“The biggest impact took place last week — where the Doctors felt they had no option but to amputate both of her legs, below the knees.”
Despite very nearly losing her life, Little is thrilled to have pulled through.
“It was touch and go for three weeks after being admitted to hospital as I was in a coma and my organs had shut down,” she said, according to the New York Post.
“I feel very lucky to be alive and with my children Georgia, 23, Ryan, 19, and partner Mark Rowlands, 49 again.”
“It is horrible hearing the horror stories from my family. The doctors rang my family multiple times and prepared them to say goodbye. The doctors didn’t think I was going to make it but somehow, I miraculously pulled through.
“I woke up after 23 days in a coma to black hands and feet. It was so scary!”
Now she wants others to be aware of the signs of Meningococcal Septicaemia so they can be better prepared if they ever encounter it.
“I wish I would have recognized the signs that there was something seriously wrong and phoned an ambulance sooner rather than later but we were in the middle of a pandemic so I wrongly assumed it was coronavirus and didn’t do a test until several days later.
“At this point my lips were purple, I remember going for a nap and waking up to a blister-like rash all over my face.”
The early signs are similar to many other ailments and include fatigue, vomiting and chills, leading to a dark purple rash.
The disease causes bleeding into the skin and organs, and blood clots cut off circulation to the extremities, resulting in dead tissue and, eventually, limbs.
Little still faces daily pain and has to relearn how to navigate her surroundings, but she is adamant that “having no legs isn’t the end of the world.” She knows it could’ve been much worse, and says the doctors have called her a “medical miracle.”
“I am grateful to be here with my family and I refuse to let anything get in my way,” she said.