Meningitis in your words

Marcel Felimond's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Wife
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Marcel Felimond
It was Christmas Day, Marcel said he was not feeling great, headache, congested, body ached felt sure he was coming down with flu. He did what most of us adults do, he took a couple of paracetamol and headed to bed early.

Throughout the night he was up and down with vomiting and diarrhoea, now joking my sister-in-law’s cooking was to blame.
It was not until the early hours of the morning he stumbled coming back to bed and when I helped him he was no longer able to communicate with me properly. Calling the ambulance, I had heard of food poisoning causing someone to be delirious, but the ambulance crew were suggesting a stroke.
We arrived at the hospital and eventually there was a mention of the possibility of septicaemia. Blood tests were being taken, results due in three days I was told, a lumbar puncture to follow in the afternoon. "Don't worry Mrs Felimond, we will get your husband up to ICU and make him comfortable and then you can sit with him." I kissed Marcel on the forehead and told him not to worry, I would see him upstairs

"How was I going to tell our two little boys that daddy had gone to heaven?"

That was the last I saw of him. Hours later a doctor came in, asking me to describe the course of events and in conversation suddenly used the past tense. "You are not here to tell me bad news are you?" not for one minute expecting the answer I got. "Sorry Mrs Felimond your husband has died."

At that moment my world fell apart. Disbelief, helplessness, anger, and oh my god, how am I going to tell our two little boys, who were sleeping when the ambulance left the house, that daddy has gone to heaven?

In a matter of hours my fit healthy, at least two pieces of fruit a day, gym-going husband had been taken away from me by a disease I did not even know existed in adults. How could this happen? Why had I not insisted on seeing him? Why had I waited patiently as instructed while they "made my husband comfortable”? Why did I not know about this disease?

Two years on, the grief does not go away, but you learn to control it. Our two gorgeous boys, five and seven, now talk openly about their amazing dad who is now an angel. I am on my third fundraising event, helping me to feel less helpless.

I will always ask myself if there was something more I could have done if only I had known. I talk openly about meningitis and septicaemia and how it took my husband. If I can help to create awareness then I believe I can help to save a life.

Karen Felimond
February 2012

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