Meningitis in your words

Elissa Roper's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Bacterial meningitis
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Elissa Roper

It started on a Tuesday when my beautiful girl started complaining that the light was hurting her eyes. Panicky I called the doctors and took her straight in. Once there I was assured that it was just a viral infection and should give her Calpol/ibruprofen to bring her temperature down and she would be fine in a couple of days.

The next day a rash appeared, a small area on her forearm with lots of tiny spots all grouped together. Immediately I did the tumbler test which made it disappear, still to be safe I took her back to the doctors. He prescribed penicillin for a throat infection and reassured me once again not to worry.

Thursday she woke up with lots of spots so I assumed it was chicken pox, called the doctors to ask if she still needed to be on the penicillin, to which he said yes as she might have both. Friday her lips were swollen and she just seemed really unwell so I called the out of hours doctor as it was past 6pm and we went into the hospital at 8pm. They confirmed it was chicken pox and told us to stop the penicillin and continue with the Calpol.

"I kept mentioning the rash was getting worse but no one took any notice"

Saturday – more spots, Sunday she was really bad, was throwing up, was cold but had a temperature. In the end I called the hospital again and my husband took her in at 8pm. They admitted her for tonsillitis and dehydration and said she had to stay in overnight. But this rash – not like chicken pox now, more blotchy and not crusting or having a head at all – was a mystery.

The next day they started treating her for Kawasaki disease, they gave her aspirin and a drug to calm down the infection and reduce the swelling in her blood vessels.

By Thursday there was no change so we were referred to St George’s in London to be monitored and see if they could figure it out. I kept mentioning that I thought the rash was getting worse just after the penicillin but no one took any notice until the Friday. Saturday she was put on a different antibiotic, was going cross eyed, her heart rate was slow and erratic at times, she'd had a heart scan which showed fluid round it, they now decided she needed a ct scan and a lumbar puncture.

Saturday night we were given the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis. Luckily, my pushing about the antibiotics meant she had been on the right antibiotics to treat the meningitis for 36 hours already. She spent the next week getting better, her eyes went back to normal after three days and she came home after six days on the antibiotics and had her last lot yesterday (September 2011). She seems to have no side effects, she has a hearing test on Monday and will need blood tests done in a few weeks to check and make sure everything is alright