Meningitis in your words

Travis Taylor Atkin's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Toddler 1-3
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Travis Taylor Atkin

On the day before Easter, Travis was sick twice. He was still his happy-go-lucky self and I just thought he'd either eaten too much OR he was coming down with something. That night he went to bed as normal, and I still didn't think anything of it. 

On Easter Day he woke up screaming. I went in to check on him and he had been sick again. So I got him out his room, took him into the living room, cleaned up his sick and washed him down.

As I was washing him down I noticed a little purple mark on his chest (I thought it was a blood blister), maybe he had caught it in his onesie? (he was forever unzipping and zipping it back up). He was still his normal self, did an Easter egg hunt, and then, all of a sudden, he just went to sleep on the sofa. He was no longer himself. 

I took him round to my mum’s house, she lives 5/10 minute walk away. When we arrived at my mum’s I asked her to look at the mark on his chest and she said I should get him in a lukewarm bath.

I went to put him in the bath and he screamed, he kept his eyes closed, his head was heavy, and his hands and feet where cold (Travis’ hands and feet are always cold). 

When I took him out the bath more of the purple marks were all around his body (about 5 of them). We did the glass test and they didn't go. I asked my mum if she thought I should ring an out of hour’s doctor. She told me to take him home, where it’s quieter, and see if he is a bit better there. So I took him home.
Within an hour of us being home, he went floppy, couldn't open his eyes, couldn't lift his head and his hands and feet were freezing (a lot more than normal).

I rung 111 and explained all his symptoms and answered her questions. I was told I had to wait 2 hours for a doctor to call. I told her I'm not waiting 2 hours, she either gets a doctor to ring me OR ill just ring 999 (which I wish I’d done a lot sooner, to be honest). 

"The nurse scooped up Travis in her arms, looked at me and told me to run."

As soon as she put the phone down, a doctor rang me. He told me I need to ring an ambulance straight away. 
I went to the hospital with him and we were there no longer than 2 minutes before a nurse came over and asked me to fill in some forms. She took one look at Travis and got a doctor. They both came over to us, the nurse scooped up Travis in her arms, looked at me and told me to run. 

We got into a side room where, I kid you not, 20 doctors/nurses came in. They told me he needed fluids and that I should wait outside as he will soon open his eyes and get stressed and upset if I'm there. 

I went outside, his dad and my mum came to the hospital. We were all sat in the corridor outside his room. A doctor came out and told me that Travis was finding it hard to breathe on his own, so he needed to go on a ventilator and be rushed into ICU at Southampton Hospital. 

It took us 5 hours to see my little boy. When I finally got to see him, he no longer looked like Travis, wires, tubes, the lot, everywhere. I couldn't help but feel as though we had lost him already. We got rushed off to ICU in Southampton, I sat by his side, all day and night (with his dad). They took bloods as soon as we got there to tell us what was wrong (because no one knew). 

It was heartbreaking seeing my little boy laying there. I told him every day me and daddy are here, that we loved him so much and that his big brother was looking down on him so he will get better. 

The day after, on the Monday, we got his results and we found out he had meningococcal septicaemia - luckily they had caught it in time. 

Within a few days of being in ICU he started to wake up and they turned his ventilator down and he started breathing on his own, and his medication was turned down. 

Two days after they took his ventilator off and his medication was stopped (apart from his antibiotics). Later that day he opened his eyes for the first time. How I had missed seeing his beautiful blues eyes. We were allowed to hold him for the first time in a week. 

The day after we went back to our general hospital in Portsmouth and he was getting better, but his infection levels were high still so he needed a few more days on antibiotics. 

After a few days at Portsmouth Hospital we were allowed to take him home for 4 hours. When we got back they told us he had to stay in for 2 more days and that he can go home after his antibiotics had stopped. So his antibiotics were stopped, they took bloods and his infection levels were low. 

We took him home. He was brilliant, as if nothing had happened. We took him back on the Friday for a follow up and his infection levels were high again, so he needed another dose of antibiotics. We were in there another 3 days and came home that Monday. 

We are now waiting for his 3 month check-up, which will be in the next week or so. He hasn't changed at all :) I thank his angel brother for watching over him.

Natalie Blower
July 2015