Tina's Blog

Hi, I’m Tina Chisnell; welcome to my blog. If you are a prospective client please take a moment to browse through the showcase pages for examples of my portrait photography.

 I like to think of this blog as my virtual scrap book; it’s the place where I keep the other photos and stories I collect as I go about my days, building my business around my passion. 

World Encephalitis Day

February 22, 2019
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In June 2016 I was ill. They said I had a bug. They said I had the flu. They said I was exhausted. In fact I had encephalitis. It’s no one’s fault – it’s a rare and hard illness to diagnose and does appear a lot like flu to begin with. However, when the confusion begins and your loved one starts to talk utter nonsense, you know it’s not the flu.

I don’t remember what happened. I don’t remember anything of that whole year. My husband remembers vividly but even now, almost three years later, he struggles to talk about it in great detail. He tells me it started with bad headaches then vomiting and then me calling him repeatedly at work talking nonsense.

Eventually I did end up in hospital and after a few failed attempts using a cocktail of drugs they diagnosed me with autoimmune encephalitis. My family had never heard of it, my mother, who used to be a nurse, had never heard of it.

I had multiple seizures. I had hallucinations - I still have messages on my phone telling a friend there were sleep walkers at the hospital and they wouldn’t let me out. I could hear loud music that no one else could hear and flashing green lights that no one else could see. I thought I had gone mad. I remember arguing with doctors and nurses convinced they secretly had me in a psychiatric unit. My husband says I was aggressive, scared and difficult – so much so that they asked my husband to stay with me over night while I was there to keep me calm.

I didn’t know my address or phone number, I didn’t even know that I had children at one point. I couldn’t subtract 7 from 100, I couldn’t form my own signature, my handwriting was not mine but a squiggly, uncontrolled scrawl, I couldn’t remember my bank pin number to allow my husband to transfer money.

My children were two and one when this happened. My eldest had his third birthday while I was still in hospital; he had a small party with a Thomas the Tank Engine cake and balloons at the hospital with me.

A few days before I was discharged the doctors allowed me to come home for a few hours to test the water. I didn’t recognise the journey home, the road where I lived or our house. My husband told me we lived in a pink house – I picked out the wrong pink house.

I was so excited to finally be discharged and to be back with my family. However, things were far from easy when I came home. I vividly remember standing in front of my wardrobe and sobbing because I didn’t know where all my clothes had come from. I had no idea what my children ate, when they napped and what activities they did all day. It was a matter of relearning a lot all at once.

However, saying all this, I am one of the lucky ones. Although I have lost a lot of memories from my past, I am able to retain memories since my illness. I have three beautiful years of memories of my children and thousands upon thousands of photographs which I treasure.

The Encephalitis Society states that 78% of the general public do not know what encephalitis is. I want to help in any way I can to bring that percentage down.  Like a lot of illnesses, the quicker the diagnosis the more successful the recovery so greater awareness is crucial. 

Please help me to spread awareness  by talking, sharing and reading about the signs and symptoms of encephalitis. 

Thank you. 

Tina x