At 3pm I received a phone call from our daughter Morag to say Dad had noticed black marks on the back of his hands and on looking found his elbows and knees had big black bruise-like marks also. I put the phone down and was just wondering what could be wrong when from the depths of my mind came MENINGITIS! Surely not, because he is 48 and children get meningitis, not usually adults. I called the doctor, and asked could he please do an urgent home visit because I was thinking of meningitis. He went straight away and, though not sure of a diagnosis, gave Bill a large dose of penicillin as recommended for the initial treatment for meningitis and sent for an ambulance. By 5pm Bill was in hospital being seen by a consultant.
The consultant did a full examination of Bill who was still feeling rough with his joints being very sore. The consultant thought the problem was maybe something to do with the kidneys and we should not worry. Bill told me to go home and reassure Morag and his parents he was OK. Before going I set up a support to keep the covers off his legs because of the pain; there were no cages available so I improvised with a bedside table. At this stage no nurse had been in to see him other than to say a quick 'Hullo'. I went home and had a cup of tea then returned to the hospital.
As I arrived back Bill acknowledged my arrival and said a nurse had been in to take a history. A colleague arrived to take a chest x-ray (I am a radiographer) after which we had a wee chat. All the time I was watching Bill and I noticed he was not paying much attention and he was not as restless as he had been. As my friend left I went over to him and saw he was looking up at the ceiling and not responding to my voice. I was not happy with this and went to the door and shouted for a doctor NOW! They came running, took one look and said they were moving him through to the coronary care unit. Things moved fast as they realised how poorly he was and I was directed to the waiting room. They worked on him for a while then the consultant came to me with an antibiotic, which I had to take immediately and then I had to give the same to our daughter and granddaughter, thus requiring a trip home. We live 12 miles from the hospital and I was barely in the door when the phone rang: "I don't want to worry you but we think you should come straight back to the hospital, Bill has stopped breathing."