got back home and found the urine sample had leaked everywhere! I called the out of hours doctor who suggested going first thing in the morning to the hospital.
That night around 10pm Herbie vomited for the first time. He was sleepy, hadn't eaten or drunk for about 12 hours and still didn't have a temperature. I continued checking for rashes as I always do when my children are ill...there wasn't one.
Early the next morning we went to the hospital. Herbie was no better and no worse. He slept his way through A&E and lo and behold he had a temperature, nothing remarkable but I felt happier as I figured it was viral as we thought all along. The doctors checked his urine, clear, his lungs with an x-ray, clear. His tummy was soft and his temperature came down with Calpol. However the doctor was concerned that he was still very sleepy so he admitted us to a ward for six hours observation. We had to try to get him to drink but he didn't want to. He took some Dioralyte and stopped being sick. He sat up briefly to watch Waybuloo on TV. The hospital discharged us. In fairness to them they said we could stay overnight but that they wouldn't do anything we couldn't do at home. We took Herbie home but put him in our bedroom to watch him overnight.
At 5am I awoke to a high-pitched wailing. I turned on the nightlight and looked in horror at Herbie, his eyes were open but totally white (rolled into his head), his arms were stuck up to the side of his head. We called an ambulance and he was rushed to A&E. I thought that he was gone forever. He arrived at A&E and they treated him for meningitis immediately.
He spent 17 days in hospital and had 17 days of antibiotics. They still don't know if it was the HiB strain which he had been inoculated against but the tests suggest it was. He was too unstable for the lumbar puncture to be done until day seven. He was given loads of fluid and was swollen and plump. Getting blood out of him was a nightmare, the cannulas just as bad. During his time in the Paediatric High Dependency Unit (PDHU) he had a blood transfusion, two platelet transfusions, a bleed in his stomach, problems urinating, two CAT scans – the first showed nothing but the second a week later showed a fluid collection.
He had a couple of vomiting episodes, one of which kept him in the PHDU for seven days instead of the four they had hoped. He had very low blood pressure, then high blood pressure. His heart rate kept dipping.
The strain on us and our other three children (seven year old twins and a two year old) was hard but a great network of family and friends helped us through.