Meningitis in your words

Eric Higgins's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Husband or Wife
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Eric Higgins

We lost Eric to pneumococcal meningitis on 22nd December 2008. He was 58.

He was such a quiet and gentle man, but this devastating disease took him and left a huge hole in our lives. He was a wonderful husband, dad to our three children and granddad to his six grandchildren.

Eric was active, fit and well. He never learned to drive - said he couldn't be doing with all hem idiots on the road - so he used to commute on the train to Wallasey where he worked as a plasterer. Things like colds never used to bother him, but a few days before the meningitis manifested itself he had complained that he had the flu; he never laid in bed, but this 'flu' was taking it out of him.

On the Saturday he got up out of bed, said he had a banging headache and that no matter what he did he couldn't get his feet warm, and that he was just going to sit on the couch for a while. I kissed him goodbye, but when I returned around two hours later he was unconscious, one side of his face had fallen and he had blood coming from his mouth.

"We were told he was 'brain stem dead'"

He was taken to hospital where he was taken for a brain scan which showed he had had a bleed on the brain. The doctors immediately suspected meningitis and began him on a course of antibiotics. They then had to do a lumbar puncture to take some fluid from his spine to see what kind of meningitis it was. On Sunday the results came back that it was pneumococcal meningitis.

On Monday they did the tests to check for brain activity; Eric didn't respond to any of them and we were told he was 'brain stem dead'. Such horrible words. To think that his heart was still beating, but he was gone.

Eric would have liked to help someone else live after his death and he donated his liver, kidneys and heart valves, all of which have gone on to give others a better quality of life.

At Eric’s funeral we had a collection for MRF and have all registered as members. We have given out flyers, put posters everywhere, and carried out fundraising. MRF do a fantastic job, they are there if you need them and raise awareness. I hope with all my heart that one day there might be a cure so no one else will have to go through what our family went through.

Diane Higgins
February 2012

Pneumococcal bacteria
Pneumococcal bacteria
A major cause of meningitis