My daughter phoned at 9.30am through tears - she told me Katelyn was in St John's Hospital on a life support machine. The doctor had arrived quickly, injected her and bundled her into his car and into the hospital - it was lucky my daughter lived so close to the hospital. Katelyn was to be police escorted to the Sick Kids Hospital when she was more stable. Our nightmare was just about to start.
I phoned my son, who lived in Edinburgh, asking him to meet his sister at the Sick Kids Hospital. None of us realised the extent of what we were up against. The nurses could not tell us anything other than Katelyn had meningococcal septicaemia. Katelyn spent eight days on a life support machine, all her blood was changed and all her organs were worked by machines. The nurses told us it is like a river - no-one knows where it will stop. Soon we became aware how this could end; after three days my daughter was asked if she wanted Katelyn baptised. The shock was now upon us all as a family; I managed somehow to stay calm and answer my daughter's anguished question, "what will I do, what does this mean?" I told her and Katelyn's dad to take a walk and think about it, saying that this will only give her added strength. They decided to have her baptised. The following day at 2pm Katelyn was baptised - the nurses laid a baptismal gown over her tiny body. With God on our side at 3pm amazingly Katelyn began to stabilise. By this point most of her body was black and the open wounds appeared, but the blackness miraculously stopped just at Katelyn's ankles and at the wrists. Each day she made small improvements as her organs began working on their own, her machines were gradually removed and on the eighth day she breathed on her own and was removed from intensive care. The nurse asked my daughter if she had a Christmas tree, to which my daughter said no, and the nurse said to go out and buy one as your daughter will be home for Christmas. There are no words to describe the joy felt.
Katelyn's recovery was remarkable: she had open wounds where the blood tried to boil through her body, these were dressed daily and when she returned home it was not long before her mum could do this for her. The doctors spoke about skin grafts, however to this day she needed none, the scars she has are a reminder to us. Katelyn is now nine and she has all her limbs and functions normally.