Our daughter, Melanie, was five and a half years old when she contracted septicaemia.
She developed a high temperature but when we administered the good old Calpol and later Nurofen it was not enough to reduce her temperature. By now Melanie was complaining of a pain in her hip. When she got the Nurofen she vomited and at this stage she was burning up.
As it was evening I contacted the after-service doctor who advised me to take her to the surgery in Letterkenny. We felt she was not able to sit in surgery so it was suggested to us to take her straight to A&E at Letterkenny Hospital. This was the best decision we could have made. On arrival at the hospital she was seen quite quickly and a sample of blood was sent to the lab. Meningitis was ruled out as Melanie had none of the normal signs of the disease. She had a small rash on her chest and when pressed it disappeared immediately. While waiting for the blood results she was sent for an X-ray which showed she had inflammation on the hip.
The blood results showed Melanie's white count was extremely high, which indicated she had some sort of infection. At this stage our girl was very sick and she was shivering like a leaf. The paediatric doctor arrived and he decided to administer intravenous antibiotics. This was the saving of Melanie and we will never forget Dr David Khavia, indeed Melanie drew some pictures for him to keep.
The blood culture results shocked everyone; Melanie had meningococcal bacteria in her blood. Thankfully Melanie had started to recover when we received the results. It scares us to think our little girl was so ill and how easily we could have lost her.
It took Melanie approximately two years to recover completely from her illness; she found normal life a struggle and indeed family life was tough going. She found it hard to keep abreast of every day tasks. We became members of Meningitis Research Foundation after Melanie's sickness and indeed raised much-needed cash for the organisation last year. This was a small bit of appreciation for what we have been spared by our child's life being saved. Nothing can repay that but we may be able to help another family in a similiar position and that is something.
We did not realise the Foundation helped with the aftermath of the sickness; if we had we would have made phone calls for support, advice and help.