Alice McGlynn, from Templeogue, Dublin, is sharing her first-hand experience of meningitis and septicaemia on World Meningitis Day (24 April) to ensure people are aware of the symptoms, know to be vigilant and act fast.
Alice tragically lost her 56 year old husband Mark to meningococcal infection on Christmas Day 2017.
Alice said: “On Christmas eve, Mark complained of a headache and went to bed around 12:30am. Before leaving the room, he said that he thought he might be getting sick as he was starting to feel quite unwell. He had a fever of 102F and took some paracetamol. The next morning his temperature spiked again at 102 so more paracetamol was given to him, and he complained of being extremely cold and was wracked with pain all over his body, especially in the back of his legs, chest and neck. Four hours later a third dose of paracetamol was given to him.
“At around 12pm Mark had fallen in the bathroom and afterwards took a type of seizure. He went sideways, legs spread out straight and back straight and stiff. His eyes gazed up to the ceiling. He did not respond when I spoke with him. I held him in my arms and shouted to my family to call an ambulance immediately. They arrived in 15 minutes.
“The paramedics decided to take him to the hospital and asked him to go downstairs, which he did on his own, although I was extremely concerned about this as he had already collapsed earlier. It was clear they didn’t see the situation as critical.
“After the ambulance arrived at hospital we were told to wait in the waiting area. Over 90 minutes later a doctor arrived and explained that Mark’s heart had stopped and the team were doing everything in their power to resuscitate him. This is when it all became surreal. The doctor went on to say that they were unsure of what had caused the arrest but that the working diagnosis was that Mark had an aortal tear. We asked to see Mark. He was on the CPR machine in the resuscitation room. They eventually asked us for the go ahead to turn off the CPR machine. I knew it was the end. Finally the machine showed the same and the line went flat. My beautiful husband was gone.
“It was two days after Mark had died that we received a call from Tallaght Hospital to inform us that Mark's bloods had come back positive for Neisseria meningitidis.
“Mark was a really funny man, with a dark, dry wit that often went close to the edge of the acceptable. He would have us cracking up laughing at the things that he would do or say - many of which were unintentional. He was a great father and put his children before everything else in his life. We are broken hearted and devastated. Our reality has altered. I miss him every minute of the day.