Meningitis in your words

Adam Thomas Gray Hodgkinson's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Child 6-12
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Hearing problems
Adam Thomas Gray Hodgkinson

Adam was a happy, healthy eight year old. Our evening at home had been like any other. Adam had gone to bed normally but woke in the early hours very distressed. His temperature shot up and he appeared quite unwell. He complained of pain in his tummy and his legs. I took him to the out of hours GP, they said he must have a virus. We returned home, Adam went to bed. He was no better in the afternoon, we saw our own GP who arranged admission to hospital.

Next morning Adam seemed better, he was discharged early afternoon. By tea time he was complaining bitterly of headaches, he ached , he didn’t like the lights and he started vomiting. There was no rash. Instinctively I had looked for one. Phew I though at the time it can’t be meningitis.

"Never did we think our precious son would not hear our voices again"

Adam was taken back to hospital. Within a very short time he said his teddy needed new batteries. This teddy had his brother’s voice was working....why was he telling me it wasn't? Panic set in , there was clearly something wrong . He started fitting....we were told he had pneumococcal meningitis.

He started on antibiotics but over the next 48 hours his condition deteriorated. He went to theatre where he was ventilated and transferred to a children’s hospital. We followed in the car.....the longest journey of our lives.

Days later when he was woken up we hoped he would be able to hear us again, never did we think our precious son would not hear our voices again. He couldn’t. We had to write things down for him. His younger brother became invaluable as Adam started to follow Josh's lips when he spoke. Josh was and still is an amazing source of strength and support for Adam.

We were eventually transferred back to our local hospital for another two weeks of antibiotics and physiotherapy to get Adam walking again.

Adam was fitted with two hearing aids...'they are rubbish' he said.As a family we were gutted – Adam had survived against the odds, we were incredibly thankful for that but he was now deaf, he couldn’t walk in a straight line, his balance all over the place.

At the time our world had crumbled around us. Our lives were then taken over by professionals who were to become an integral part of our lives and we are truly blessed by their involvement now.

Adam received his first cochlear implant six months after the meningitis had so cruelly taken his hearing. Everyone sounded like robots but Adam’s brain started to adapt and he began to start asking why both ears couldn’t be the same. After much battling to secure funding he had his second implant 18 months later.  When asked if he can remember what it used to sound like before he went deaf he says I can’t remember, this is normal now.

Adam has often said he's glad he 'only got deaf'. Two years ago Adam was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis if he hadn’t had enough to deal with. Adam attends mainstream secondary school. He is affectionately known as the 'miracle boy'. He will ALWAYS be our miracle.

I spoke with a befriender in the very early stages of Adam's illness and from that day to this we have always been truly thankful. The last six years have been life changing for us as a family.




Adam was very successful with his GCSE results and is now coming to the end of his A levels and has been successfully offered a place to study Geology at Royal Holloway University if he achieves the grades that they have requested. His determination, dedication and personality have been a real blessing to him. Adam's cochlear implants have given him an amazing opportunity to succeed and to live a normal and fulfilling life. He is currently working towards his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award.