Meningitis in your words

Helen Brown's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Helen Brown
In July all three of my boys were diagnosed with meningitis. Apparently this is very rare indeed! 

My 11 month old baby was the first to fall ill. He came down with a fever and a spotty viral rash one afternoon. Instinct told me that it wasn't just a standard viral infection and we took him to the emergency doctor. He was prescribed an antibiotic for a sore throat and sent home.

Two days later my middle child showed similar symptoms. I took both to the GP to be told, once again, that they were suffering a viral infection. The rash - which was still prominent on my baby - was put down to being a reaction to the antibiotics and I was told to wait until he had finished the course to see if it eased.

It was two days after that when my eldest fell ill. He complained of a headache at first - something from which he had never suffered before. Then came the fever, followed by vomiting. To be honest, I didn't think much of it at first... but then I saw the rash on his neck. It was unlike any other rash I had seen before and I instinctively knew what it was.

"All three of my boys were diagnosed with meningitis"

Once we got to hospital the meningitis was confirmed but only after they had performed a lumbar puncture when his temperature shot up. They had been about to let him go home, putting the rash down to excessive straining during vomiting! On hearing that my other two children were also unwell, we were told to bring them in as soon as possible.

That night was harrowing to say the least. All three had lumbar punctures and all three received the full course of IV antibiotics. We were informed at the end of the week in hospital that the two younger boys had suffered viral meningitis. They had initially believed the eldest had meningococcal B but later claimed he'd had a milder strain. I'm still unsure of his official final diagnosis. They told us that he showed all the symptoms and that he was 'confirmed bacterial' but that he hadn't actually grown cultures....whatever that means!

It's early days yet for us but all the boys seem fine. They tire easily and are very clingy. Behaviour has also been a problem but at this early stage it's difficult to know what is down to the illness and what is a reaction to the trauma of the experience. They will have hearing tests next month and a check up in six months' time.

Helen Brown
August 2009

Viral meningitis
Viral meningitis
A major cause of meningitis