My mum picked me up from school and an emergency doctor’s appointment was made at my local GP’s. My mum kept checking my rash and pressing it but I didn’t know why. When I got to the doctors I described my symptoms and she had a good look at my rash. She then left the room for a little while (unbeknownst to me she was calling an ambulance). My GP gave me intravenous penicillin before the ambulance arrived, which undoubtedly saved my life.
Once in the ambulance I was told that they suspected I had meningitis and embarrassingly, I had no idea what that was. I think this is a crucial part of my story, because people need to be aware of the symptoms, as meningitis is a disease which needs fast and immediate treatment. I only knew it was something serious because of the horrified look on my mum’s face!Meningitis and septicaemia can affect people differently and can be mistaken for other diseases.
My rash was not initially typical of meningococcal septicaemia. It started as big red blobs that faded with pressure but then tiny purple ‘freckles’ started to appear that did not fade. Some of these joined together to form bigger ‘bruises’ like the one on my arm which worried my GP. My joints ached incredibly and when my mum took my socks off to show the doctors the rash on my feet I pleaded with her to put them back on as my feet were so cold!
I spent a week in hospital receiving my treatment (four IV doses a day!) and although hospitals are scary places to be in, the nurses and doctors made me feel incredibly comfortable and made me laugh as they whizzed me around in my wheelchair