Meningitis in your words

Arthur Thurston's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Arthur Thurston

Saturday, and our children’s Godmother was sitting so we could go to the cinema, first time child free in four years! When we returned Arthur was really grumpy. He hadn’t had a nap so I assumed he was overtired. He had a slight temperature, 38.4 and was a little pink cheeked. We put it down to teething, gave him some paracetamol and just kept an eye on him. He seemed a bit better and come bedtime took his last feed OK, but had a very fractious night.

We got him up at the usual time on Sunday and he took some porridge and milk but wasn’t himself, still had a slight temperature, so we gave him some more paracetamol.

We carried on regularly checking him and his temperature (39+) wasn’t dropping. We called the doctors who said he sounded dehydrated as he had slight diarrhoea with teething. We gave him rehydration solution which he vomited out. He refused lunch and we were having trouble getting fluids into him. Anything we managed to get in was coming straight back out.

"I was helpless, all I could do was hold my little boy who was like a rag doll"

We took him to the out of hours clinic as his temperature got to 40.8. We stripped him down to his nappy but nothing helped. By the time we went from home to clinic (about 10 minutes) a rash had started behind his left ear. The doctor was concerned, said it was probably a virus, but wanted paeds to check.
We went to A&E, noticing a rapid deterioration in his condition. They gave him a paracetamol enema, he didn’t flinch and at this point I started to realise something was very wrong. Paediatricians arrived and the rash had spread into an inch band across the back of his shoulders and neck. His temperature was now over 40, but hands and feet were blue with cold and he was looking very grey. His breathing was rattling like he was congested and he was floppy. I couldn’t believe that within an hour he had gone from not very well to this.

My baby was very poorly indeed they had to get IV fluid and antibiotics into him as quickly as possible. The doctors at Yeovil were amazing! They tried for nearly 30 minutes to cannulate him without success as his little body was shutting down; his veins were collapsing every time they tried. As they were exploring other ways to get fluid in they struck a vein that held out, took some blood to be sent to the lab then started treatment.

I was helpless, all I could do was hold my little boy who was like a rag doll, and sing to him so he knew his Mummy was there and he wasn’t on his own. I was so scared this wasn’t going well at all.
My husband, daughter and I were all treated with oral antibiotics then taken to an isolation room in the children’s ward.

They had an IV line running fluids to him and a monitor on. Further blood tests were done from pricks in his heels, toes and fingers as they couldn’t get further access to his veins.

Lots of tests and four days later we were told he had aseptic meningitis (viral) and he was well enough to be discharged.

He still isn't quite himself, sleeping lots but his appetite is back and when he’s awake he's a smiley happy little man! It is only a week since our experience so we cannot be sure of any lasting problems but he has bounced back from this incredibly quickly. We are looking forward as little guy turns one in three weeks!!