Meningitis in your words

Maria Foster's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Learning difficulties
Maria Foster

I was out walking with my daughter Maria who was in her buggy, at the time she was three years old.

I remember her crying a lot that day,  I just thought she was coming down with something. Then I was walking down a long road to get home and every time we went down a path she screamed. I thought this was strange, then I noticed she was making a funny moaning noise. I shook her and starting panicking – I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what.

I was near my doctor's by this time so I took her out of her buggy. She was limp and moaning I was scared and crying and saying ‘Oh my god’ a lot. I rushed her in and asked to see the doctor but to my horror the reception lady said no, not without an appointment. I was horrified, I couldn’t believe it. I just looked at her and said ‘but my daughter is ill’ she said ‘I’m sorry’.

"She took one look at my daughter and rang an ambulance"

I was terrified at this point. I ran home with my daughter and told my mam. She couldn’t believe it and the next door neighbour just happened to come in and took one look at my daughter and rang an ambulance. I said ‘why you doing that?’ she said ‘look at the rash appearing, it looks like meningitis’. I was shocked.

The ambulance came and rushed her in. The doctors said she needed a lumbar puncture and explained what it was. I was crying and shaking and couldn’t believe it. They came back and they said ‘yes she has it’. I just fell on the floor, I was sobbing, my family were all crying, we thought the worst.

So they started treatment; they said she may be blind, lose a limb or have learning difficulties. I remember thinking ‘I hope she is ok, as long as she lives we will deal with the outcome’. She was so ill, I was there every day. We had to wear gowns and wash our hands before we went in the room it was awful. I never slept I was too scared, I never ate. I was planning to get married that month in 14 days time. I had everything booked and I thought we would have to cancel it.

She was in for 13 days; we had a priest in to say prayers for her as we thought the worst, but she slowly got better and 12 days later she was sitting up and was fine, we couldn’t believe it.

After 13 days she came home we were so happy. The next day we got married she stayed for the wedding and then went home with my father for the night.

It was about a month later she went for tests and they told us she had learning difficulties. We dealt with it, she went to a special school aged five and we had help all the time. It was hard but with help we got there. She is 20 now and at college we are so proud of her.

Julie Foster
September 2011