The next day she woke with a very high temperature and within three and a half hours she was rushed to hospital unconscious. We were told that Elise's brain was swelling and she was being treated for meningitis. Elise had to be transferred to another PICU. In Holland only university hospitals have paediatric intensive care units and the university hospital we were in did not have any PICU beds available that day. Elise was taken by ambulance with police outriders escorting us to get there in the minimum time. The medical team with their expertise tried their hardest.
On Friday morning after performing extensive tests we were told that Elise's brain was not functioning and that she would not recover. At 8pm her life support machine was switched off. The medical team showed great compassion towards Elise, to us, to her sister and also to our family who came immediately from London, Paris and within Holland to be with us.
Our world had shattered. The numbness and shock set in, which for me continued for many months as slowly the enormous reality of what had happened started to creep in. Some months later we met with the doctors and nurse who had looked after Elise. We spoke at great length about Elise and meningitis.
Very soon after Elise's death I telephoned the helpline of the Meningitis Research Foundation. There I spoke, again at great length, with the staff on the helpline who provided support and a good listening ear. Through the charity's befriending service I was put in touch with a lady who had a similar story to myself. At that time it was a lifeline to be able to talk to someone about the disease and who understood the sheer speed that the illness can take.