Eloise was taken straight through to the resuscitation unit, the paediatric consultant was there within minutes and he took one look at Eloise and started shouting instructions to the nurses. Lines were put in both her hands at this point but I still didn’t know what was happening and I was overwhelmed with complete and utter helplessness as there was nothing I could do to help her. Within 20 minutes of arriving at hospital Eloise was on her way for a brain scan, the first of many. This is when the doctor said that he had no doubt Eloise had meningococcal septicaemia and he believed it was MenB. Then I was told that she only had a few hours to live and if need be they would contact family members for me. My world ended!
Eloise made slow but sure progress over that first hour, then the next, and then I was told every hour was a blessing. But Eloise made improvements every hour. The doctors and nurses assured me that although she was still seriously ill she was fighting. And after the longest 24 hours of my life Eloise opened her eyes asked for vimto, her favourite drink, and I knew then she would be ok, she had to be.
The first few days in hospital were very scary and lonely, I had no information. I knew about meningitis but not the treatment and had lots of questions. What if the treatment stopped working? What happens now? What about long term, how will she be? I needed to plan how to help my daughter. That was when I googled and found the Meningitis Research Foundation. I made contact via email at 3.30am and a few hours later I got a call from a lovely lady who listened through my tears and sobs and then explained what would be happening and why Eloise was swelling and turning purple. I was filled with information and ready for the doctor to walk in. The very next day I received all the information I needed including My Guide and Journal which was and still is invaluable, I take it everywhere.
Eloise improved every day, shocking the doctors. She slept a lot, sometimes 22 hours a day. She slept like this for weeks then started spending more time awake. Eloise had to learn to walk again and despite the pain she did so without complaint and was soon making small trips to the play room, was carried back to nap for a few hours before wanting to make the trip again. Eloise had also forgotten most of her words. The books we once read, the ones where she would finish the sentences, she had no memory of. All her colours, objects that she knew the words for, had to be slowly learnt again. After we returned home, visited by community nurses twice a day, Eloise's behaviour became unbearable: screaming, not allowing anyone near me or in the same room with us, and she had the worst night terrors I've seen and I have 4 kids!