Meningitis in your words

Chloe Watson's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Teenager
  • Relationship: Brother or Sister
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Chloe Watson

Kevin came back from a two-week boys holiday to Tenerife; all of them bar Kev had flu-like illnesses whilst they were away but Kev apparently only started to feel unwell on the plane. He told his friend that he felt like he had been run over as his body really hurt. 

A couple of hours after being back in the UK the sickness started so Mum collected him from his girlfriend's house and bought him home. 

A visit to the doctor's resulted in him being sent home with gastric pills, an 18-year-old just home from Tenerife didn't raise any alarms, the doctor simply though he had overindulged. For some reason I left work early (I think I knew inside that something was wrong). When I got home Kev was burning up and was saying that his legs were really hurting. By now me and mum were really worried so I went straight back to the doctor and insisted that he see me as Kev was just too unwell - luckily he did and he then called an ambulance for a suspected 'Meningitis' case.

The ambulance men, the doctors and the nurses all thought Kev was a typical 18-year-old and had either taken some drugs or drunk too much on holiday. He was conscious and talking to us but felt very unwell. The sickness had stopped but the oxygen was helping his leg pain so he felt a little better.  

Not long after I noticed a small flat purple splodge on Kev's hand, so I asked him if he had had any fights whilst away; he said he hadn't. Almost instantly another splodge appeared so I grabbed a passing doctor. She took one look and lots more doctors and nurses started appearing. We were ushered out where I found one doctor looking in a medical book of tropical diseases as they did not know what was wrong. This tipped me over the edge as by now I knew something was seriously wrong with my brother. 

"I lost my brother and a best friend; 13 years later and that void is as raw as ever."

After some time we were told that Kev was being given a lumbar puncture to check for meningitis, as well as taking lots of other blood and sample tests. I have no idea how long this all took but eventually we were told that Kev had meningococcal septicaemia. Nothing was really explained, just that he wasn't very well. Me and my sister were told to go home for the night and only Mum was allowed to stay. Unbeknown to us this was the last time we would see our brother alive. I won't go into what Mum had to endure alone that night, needless to say everything got worse. Kev's body was slowly shutting down, he didn't know where he was and was in tremendous pain and my poor Mum had to suffer it alone. By the time me and my sister arrived the next morning Kevin was in intensive care and we were being told to say our goodbyes.

Kev went through a lot during the six weeks he was in intensive care and luckily for him he never regained consciousness. On 29th September 2005 he passed away after we decided not give him any more pills to keep his heart pumping. He had suffered enough and even endured a few amputations due to the septicaemia.

That night, aged 21 years, I lost my brother and one of my best friends; 13 and a half years later and that void is as raw as ever; part of me will never understand and accept it and another part of me has learnt that I have to. I hate that life has moved on and I now have an 11-month-old baby boy who Kev would have adored, plus he has three teenage nieces, only two of which he met.

The Foundation has been a great source of comfort; I trained to become a Befriender which encouraged me to talk and share, plus I managed to help others who had also lost their siblings.

I met some amazing people and it was really good to talk to others who knew what it was like to lose someone to this silent disease. 

Chloe Watson
April 2009