Holly was four weeks old to the day on 29th January 1988, the date imprinted on my mind.
Norman and I were in Safeway doing the weekly shopping. Holly started to cry as soon as we walked into the shop and her cries became shriller the longer we were there. We realise now that the fluorescent lights must have been causing her agony. After a few minutes, I decided to wait in the car for Norman and try to feed Holly. She fed OK, but then threw up everything almost immediately. After that she refused to feed at all and started to run a temperature.
We went home and called out our GP, who arrived within 10 minutes. She said she wasn't sure exactly what was wrong, but that there was obviously something serious and we should go to casualty. By the time we reached Queen Mary's in Sidcup, Holly's fontanelle was bulging and she was floppy and unresponsive. The paediatric registrar did a lumbar puncture and by midnight we had the diagnosis confirmed - Streptococcal A meningitis.
Holly was extremely poorly for a couple of days, surrounded by the paraphernalia of serious illness - drips, tubes, incubator and most of all, doctors and nurses. We were asked on several occasions if we wanted to have her baptised by the hospital chaplain. She had massive fits and stopped breathing, her skin turned blue and we feared the worst. However, she's a fighter and after day three she seemed to be starting to pick up. Unfortunately, this improvement didn't last and a week after she'd first gone into hospital, Holly was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.