Hannah Joels was left in critical condition after suffering from encephalitis. The mother, who first thought she had the flu, was later unable to recognize her own 2-year-old daughter, India.
“That’s only just sinking in. As frustrating as the slow recovery can be, at least I am here for my daughter,” Hannah told Caters News. “It’s horrible to think that I might not have been after I thought I had the flu.”
When she first visited the hospital, doctors assured her that she most likely had the flu. However, the following day she confused and unable to speak clearly. Her husband rushed her to the hospital.
After three weeks in the hospital, Hannah was able to return home, but she’s still suffering memory gaps. She can’t remember people’s names, memories of her daughter growing up, or family vacations.
“I have told my husband on several occasions that it would be my dream to go on holiday to Thailand,” she said. “He has to keep pulling out the photos of our trip to show me that we did it. It’s heartbreaking — not remembering.”
To cope with the memory loss, Hannah writes small notes to herself on Post-its and her cell phone.
“I think the doctors were initially being kind to my husband, but the specialist I am working with now has told me I’m very lucky to be alive,” she said.
Hannah is sharing her story to raise awareness about encephalitis so that they don’t mistake it for the flu.
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Photos: Caters News