On Tuesday 2nd February I had a call from his nursery saying he had a slight temperature so Jane picked him up. He perked up back at home and slept well so I went away on Wednesday morning with work as planned for a couple of days. I still have the text from Jane saying he was full of life and she was exhausted. He tired that afternoon after playing with his friends but again slept well. We kept him off nursery again Thursday as a precaution but again he had a lively day with his Mum and Isobel. On Friday morning I stayed home with him to give Jane a break and although not right he was no worse than we had seen him before with viruses. We decided that if he didn't perk up as he had the last three days we would call NHS 24 that evening. He slept a lot that afternoon and when I came back from work about 7pm Jane immediately remarked that he had got worse in the last 20 minutes.
His eyes were now half open and he was struggling to respond. NHS 24 got us to sit him up and walk a couple of paces. It was at this point he was sick. We were given an appointment at the local out of hours surgery. No ambulance as he was just about conscious. We were there by 8pm and we have subsequently found out that the doctor there sensed problems as she could not find a vein. Jane also felt him starting to stiffen and slump back in her arms. By 8.30pm we were at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh by ambulance and there were people everywhere.
We were told they suspected a serious bacterial infection and were going to do a CT scan. I don't know why but I blurted out meningitis and was told that it was a possibility. The good news was that we had caught things early. By 11pm Jacob was in intensive care with tubes and wires everywhere. He had been completely sedated when he arrived and I remember trying to reassure him that all would be well as they were doing this - the last time we saw him conscious.
Jane and I were up with him all night and I recall having a conversation with the senior consultant around 2am by his bedside. Meningitis was suspected, the stiffness and slight swelling around the brain that the CT scan had indicated were the concerns. The fact that all organs were functioning and he had not fitted or seized was positive, and they reiterated that we had acted quickly. They were treating for everything and Jacob was critical but stable.
By 10am there had been no developments - a positive. I asked the senior nurse directly what his chances were. She said it was unlikely he would die but after effects were impossible to tell. Things went very wrong shortly after.
The nurse was checking his pupils around 10.30am and his right eye was bigger, the left bigger still. I said immediately that that couldn't be good. The consultant then informed us that another CT scan was required and they were preparing theatre for an emergency operation. The next 45 minutes feel surreal. Jane and I have spoken since and though you are supposed to be positive we both feel we knew that we were about to lose our little boy.
Around midday we were told that his brain stem was infected and that there was no response from his brain. They needed to check again once his medication had worn off but they were certain he was lost. Jane and I knew we had to let him go. I can barely recall the next five hours but by Saturday teatime we were told that tests still revealed no activity post the medication. It had all happened so fast that they still weren't certain of the type of meningitis. We sanctioned a lumbar puncture so we could get results in a couple of hours meaning there would be no requirements for a post-mortem.