Meningitis in your words

Carson Smith's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Carson Smith

I had only had my son Carson home from the hospital for only 10 days when he started vomiting his formula and crying every time we tried to pick him up or change his diaper. I knew something was wrong, he had been such a happy baby the first week and now he seemed more lethargic.

I took him into his pediatrician and he had me feed Carson right there and we waited to see what would happen. He vomited within a few minutes. His doctor then went through routine tests on his legs, hips and back and noticed Carson became very pained as soon as he tried to move him.

His doctor then told me that he wanted Carson brought to a major children's hospital and that I had two choices, either I get in the car with him right this second and take him or he was calling an ambulance. Since I had my vehicle right out front I told him I was going now and not waiting for an ambulance.

"He was only the 19th reported case for having this form."

We got to the hospital and the staff were already prepared for us, they performed a spinal tap and admitted Carson. They started him on antibiotics right away and had him quarantined in a private room, where only a few family and the staff were allowed inside, and even then under strict washing and safety protocols.

We were told quickly that he had meningitis, but it took three days to narrow down that he had a very rare form of bacterial meningitis called Capnocytophaga canimorsus. It is carried in the saliva of cats and dogs and is usually transferred through a bite. My baby had never been bitten, he didn't have so much as a scratch, but there were animals in the home. He was only the 19th reported case for having this form of bacterial meningitis and they were not sure how to treat him, and as an infant even more unsure.

I stayed by his side for over a month as they pumped him full of antibiotics, repeatedly having to find new veins, putting in a PIC line in his head and watching him lose weight and go from a healthy 9lbs to a sickly, lethargic 7lb baby. It took over a month for Carson to show enough improvement that we were confident he would make it.

After a month and a half we took him home, three months later he was tested for after effects and everyone was astonished that he had no hearing loss and after nine more years he is a healthy, happy, strong little boy