The doctors sedated Dylan. I was glad that at least he didn’t know what was happening.
I had to go to the phone to speak to environmental health and go through details of Dylan’s creche and get antibiotics for everyone who had been in contact with him.
We were told we had to wait on a bed at the Royal Victoria Children’s Hospital in Belfast, but may have to travel 150 miles to Dublin if we couldn’t get the intensive care bed.
Dylan was connected to so many wires. I went in to him and so did his dad. All we could do was kiss him and will him to make it. I never prayed so much in all my life.
Eventually the nurse came and told us they’d secured the bed in the RVH in Belfast and that Dylan was stable. I couldn’t travel with him as they needed room for a doctor and two nurses to transfer him.
Myself, Mal, my dad and my brother travelled up the M2 and two police motorcyclists escorted Dylan’s ambulance up past us. I was sure he’d taken a turn for the worse, as they were going pretty fast.
I was convinced if he did make it, he’d have to lose a limb or something. I’d heard so many horror stories about meningitis, and my uncle’s grand-daughter had died with the condition.
My partner stayed very optimistic; he was sure Dylan had got through the worst of it and that he’d make it.
We arrived at the RVH at 3pm and were asked to meet the consultant. Dylan was sedated and connected to monitors and machines. The consultant said Dylan had transferred well and if he kept in the same stable condition for the next 24 hours, he’d put him at the better end of recovery.
I’d never, ever felt so relived in all my life, but still we knew we had to wait and hope.
Hanging around the intensive care unit was an eye-opener into the amazing work the doctors and nurses do every day in their care for very sick children. A small boy of three died from a brain tumour whilst Dylan was in intensive care. How do people get over these things?
I walked the corridors looking at video footage and photos I had of him on my phone, crying and praying and talking to family and friends on the phone. Everyone was so good. The churches in our local community said prayers for him and the messages of support from people we didn’t even know were amazing.
Around 5pm the nurse gave us an update that she’d taken Dylan off sedation to see if his brain had been affected. She laughed and said: “He was fighting to get the wires pulled out, I think we’ll have bother trying to handle that boy.” It was confirmed his brain was fine.
By 9pm the nurse told me to come to Dylan’s room, as she had a surprise for me. He was off all monitors and all wires were gone, except for the drip. The rash was definitely fading. Babies go downhill very quickly when they are ill, but they bounce back quickly too.
He cried when we saw us – he was terrified but was going to be OK.
The next day he got out of intensive care and into isolation where he stayed for three days and then got transferred back down to Antrim Area Hospital for another three days. He was very sick and had to get IV antibiotics for the duration of his stay in hospital, but we got him home a week before Christmas and he was the big present that year for us.
It wasn’t until after Christmas we had it confirmed that Dylan had in fact had meningococcal septicaemia.
Since then he’s developed into a loving, boisterous toddler and has passed all his checks for hearing and development. I worry he’ll have problems with learning in the future but so far, so good and we are very grateful to the doctors and nurses from both hospitals for their care of Dylan.
I’ve joined Meningitis Research Foundation as a member and in May this year we held a charity night and were able to raise £3,550 for the Foundation.
Meningitis is a very scary, deadly disease but with the help of the Foundation, maybe some day their goal will be achieved of having a world free of meningitis.