Meningitis in your words

Jamie Cowey's story

  • Location: Northern Ireland
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Jamie Cowey

Jamie awoke that morning, bright as a button. I took him downstairs and we both had a big breakfast. We played for a while and then went to get dressed. 

Early that afternoon, Jamie was falling asleep in his Daddy's arms. It was unlike him but we put it down to a busy weekend. He awoke two hours later, but he now seemed different.

Jamie didn't really want to be moved, and he was moaning a bit when his Daddy lifted him. He was a bit hot so I said I would give the doctor a quick ring. It was 4pm. At 4.30pm we set off for the doctors. Jamie seemed a bit brighter, but as he was sitting on my knee in the car I noticed a purple spot on the back of his neck.

We saw the doctor who sent us home, and told us to ring back if Jamie got any worse. 
At around 6pm, Jamie started to vomit. He seemed so thirsty, but could not keep his bottle down. I rang the doctor again and we went to the hospital. Jamie was admitted at 10pm. 

Everything went so fast then. Our world was turned upside down.

Jamie had needles coming out of everywhere. He had diarrhoea and he was stripped to his nappy. We could see that the purple spot was spreading like a rash down his chest. He was awake and was looking for us. 

We were so confused when they mentioned meningitis and told us that our baby had to be transferred to a bigger hospital. Jamie was then taken to theatre were they put him on life support. He was taken by ambulance with a police escort to another hospital. We followed behind in his grandfather's car.

"They told us that Jamie's wee body could fight no more."

We got to the hospital, and were told to sit down. On arrival, Jamie had taken a massive heart attack. He was nine months old. He was still living - he had waited on us. 

We went to see him in ICU. He was so small, surrounded by all this beeping machinery. His eyes were covered, but you would still know it was him. He was on life support and the machines were breathing for him. We talked to him and held his hand. Every so often they put us out of the room as his heart kept failing. Somehow he held on. Doctors came to talk to us and explained how bad everything was. We never gave up hope. 

His wee body was now completely covered in the purple rash. We just waited for him to get better.
Near 11am the next morning, the doctors came to talk to us. They told us that Jamie's wee body could fight no more. They said that the next time his heart were to stop, that we would have to let him go. We all went in to see him in his room. We watched the monitor that showed his heart beating.

We saw that it was slowing down and the nurses lifted him out into our arms. Jamie's Daddy and I held him so tight. We told him to be brave. We kissed his tiny head and told him Goodbye. Jamie's heart stopped beating at 11.10am.

Nothing made much sense afterwards. We gave the nurses his clothes and he was dressed and wrapped in a blanket. We carried him to his Granda's car and brought him home.

The next few days are such a blur, but the pain of losing Jamie lives on.

We were contacted by Meningitis Research Foundation, and we realised that we were not alone. As a family we have gained strength, through raising money for research into this terrible disease, and through raising awareness. If we were to save even one more family from going through what we have, we have a reason to go on, for our sakes, but especially for our wee son Jamie. 

Emma Cowey
March 2009