My wife Barbara died suddenly from bacterial meningitis with septicaemia on the 23rd December 2007. She was 55 years old and was a much-loved wife, mother and sister. Here is the story of my experience.
Barbara had a cold two weeks before Christmas which turned into a sinus infection. She recovered but the weekend before Christmas she began to feel ill again. During the night she was extremely hot - reaching 103oF. She was also breathing rapidly.
Saturday came; Barbara was very drowsy and stayed in bed. We both thought she may have got flu. By the evening her temperature had fallen and I thought the worst must be over. During the late evening she had diarrhoea, stomach and back ache.
On Sunday I noticed she had purple blotches, almost like bruises, on her legs. I immediately called NHS Direct who asked all the relevant questions about meningitis symptoms; I explained she was breathing more rapidly than normal and that she had purple blotches on her legs. He told me to call back in two hours if it was worse.
I knew the tumbler rash test so I tried that on the blotches. They didn't go, but it wasn't a rash.
Barbara didn't get better so I called NHS Direct back and was put through to a nurse who spoke to Barbara. The nurse immediately called an ambulance. The ambulance men were very calm and caring. I realised later that they were very concerned about her pulse and blood pressure and knew it was serious.