Sunday 30 April 1967
I was four years old. A healthy and happy child. That day, for the first time, I had a fever and did not feel well at all. But for the rest of the week, no symptoms of my sickness showed.
Saturday 6 May
That morning, my fever returned. My mom called a paediatrician. He came to our home and told her that I had rubeola (measles). At night, my mom decided to sleep with me. Today, she feels ashamed because she remembers begging me not to shake my legs and arms so she could sleep.
Monday 7 May
In the afternoon, my fever was still high. My mom called the paediatrician again and he came back to see me.
Tuesday 8 May
While my dad went out to buy medicine, I got worse. Early in the morning, my parents took me to the children’s hospital.
There, for the first time, I was not able to bend my neck. The first rashes showed. Our doctor proceeded to a lumbar puncture. My parents had to leave while they waited for the results although my father expressed his wish to take me home. The doctor told him it was not possible because it was too serious.
At 4pm, my parents received a telephone call from the doctor. “Congratulations, it is meningitis,” he said.
My mother was shocked. The name of the disease terrified her. The doctor replied, “Calm down, we feared septicaemia. You could have lost her.”
I received antibiotics to fight the meningococcal bacteria and stayed in hospital for 11 days. I was fortunate to make a full recovery and to be left without after affects. My parents did not know anything about meningitis prior to this experience.
Because I am a survivor, because I feel that it is a miracle to be here, I am very concerned about this disease. For the rest of my life, I will work to tell other families about the disease, to get their children vaccinated and to rush to the closest hospital as soon as they recognise the symptoms.