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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Oliver Jack Taylor

Group B Strep meningitis at 5

Group B Strep meningitis

My son Ollie was three weeks old. Not long after bringing him home and getting into our stride with feeds and sleeps he became unwell he had a very high temperature, a seizure and didn't like bright light. So we took him straight to our local hospital.

The doctors wasted no time with him and did one or two routine tests and suggested we stayed in hospital overnight for further assessment. They ran other tests including a lumbar puncture, which came back as a positive for meningitis.

He stayed in our local hospital for three days, but was then admitted to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington as the seizures could not be controlled. He was intubated and ventilated for 27 hours, with 24 hour nursing in Intensive Care to stop the seizures and let the antibiotics do their thing in curing him.

They invited me into the ward on the Thursday to witness them waking him up; I was able to hold him for the first time in five days. He remained in St Mary's on the Grand Union Ward for a few days for monitoring and antibiotic therapy.

As he grew a little stronger St Mary's discharged us and we returned to our local hospital for further monitoring and care. Ollie regained good strength and was feeding well so we were allowed to go home with him and start our routines at home. We had a nurse visit us every week to do antibiotics via a cannula on his hand – he had these visits for three months to insure both conditions were cured and sorted out.

In the October we went to John Radcliffe in Oxford for an MRI scan where they found he had some scarring to his brain, suspected from the seizures he had plus the meningitis. The doctors couldn't say what his future would hold for him, whether he would have any development problems or other after effects. We've returned to our local hospital for further paediatric follow-up appointments with doctors who cared for him during his meningitis which are routine check-ups and milestone development.

He has started school now and is in some areas showing good steady progress, though the school has now highlighted several areas where Ollie has problems. He is now being tested for Asperger Syndrome or ADHD. We don't know if these are linked to his meningitis though it is hard to not have these thoughts in the back of your mind, knowing how ill he was and how bad the after effects can be in those that survive.

Other than those awful days just over five years ago, and these ongoing tests, he's happy and healthy and seems to have a real lust for life. Not one day goes by where I don't think about his meningitis or the possibility of after effects, and wherever I can I try and spread meningitis awareness so that other people know what to look for and don't miss signs and symptoms of meningitis.

KATY IZZARD

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