Not so long ago my little boy contracted meningococcal septicaemia and at first I had no idea it really was a race against time to get it treated. I am telling my story as a way to let parents know that the rash does not always appear as it does on the posters, and how fast this disease can take hold.
My son had all the classic symptoms of swine flu – cold, cough, temperature and very sleepy. I had phoned the emergency doctors that morning and was told it could be at least four hours before the doctor could get to us.
As dinner time approached there was no change in him, his temperature was still high and he was still sleepy. The emergency doctors phoned me at tea time and told me they would be an hour before they got to us.
About 30 minutes after that call something made me take the vest that he was wearing off. As I did I noticed some purple marks on his hand and wrist and honestly it looked like one of my other children had drawn on him. I told them off and tried to rub off what I thought were pen marks, but it wouldn’t come off. Then 10 minutes later it finally clicked and I asked a friend to get a glass. As I placed it on his wrist my whole world shattered. I panicked and phoned 999 and at this point I couldn’t wake him up.
When the ambulance arrived they thought it was swine flu. I showed them the rash and they didn’t really think it was anything to worry about, but he still had to go to the hospital as he was clearly unwell. The paramedic phoned through to let them know we were on our way.
When we got to the hospital he was taken into the resus bay. It all went very quickly and my heart was shattered. There were lots of doctors and nurses putting needles and fluid into him and then the dreaded words were said – he had meningitis. My world just fell apart. The rash had spread to his face. I was crushed, my little boy was laid there not a flutter or a movement.
I went outside to phone his dad to let him know the crushing news – he was heartbroken and terrified. Unbeknown to me while I was out making that phone call my little boy had suffered a cardiac arrest. The fear it caused is too much to put into words.
All this happened within 30 minutes of the rash appearing. I have never really taken much notice of the posters and leaflets that are available but now I can’t tell people enough how important that information is. It really is life or death with meningitis.
My boy has made a full recovery and back to full health but recently contracted it again, although he has made a full recovery and has had the jab to protect him from getting it again. He has sight problems and problems with the way he behaves, but I’m so proud of my little boy.