Maggie arrived in Stoke PICU the next day and was also very poorly indeed, although not requiring full ventilation and not having so many convulsions. I would describe the next three days as 'hell', with both twins fighting to pull through, despite further complications and undergoing a multitude of unpleasant, but necessary medical procedures. The staff were amazing and cared for me and my husband Jonny as well as for Maggie and Hazel. Their dedication and kindness was unwavering.
Maggie showed signs of recovery after two days in PICU and was subsequently transferred to the children's ward, with Hazel remaining in PICU for a total of four days before both girls were taken back to Hereford Hospital to continue their treatment and recovery. After ten days, Maggie was discharged although she remained with Hazel in hospital so that I could continue to breastfeed and care for her whilst remaining with Hazel. Hazel became well enough to return home after a total of two weeks in hospital, although she remained on anti-fitting medication for some three months after the meningitis and encephalitis episode.
The twins' recovery is ongoing and we are worried about possible after-effects, especially with Hazel who, although apparently cognitively alright, does have some developmental delays with regards to her mobility. However, she has physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and is progressing well. Maggie appears to have no after effects, however, for both children it is a waiting game as no-one can tell if their brains have been permanently damaged, or to what extent. Problems may not become apparent until they begin school, for example.
It's hard not to worry about the girls' long-term development, especially when looking at Hazel and then at Maggie, and seeing the differences in development between them. My concern is: when will we know the extent of any developmental delay, and - for Hazel - will she be able to live a 'normal life'? No one can answer these questions at the moment - the brain is such a complex organ that we still don't know the ins and outs of how meningitis affects it. It's vital to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, to trust your instincts as a parent, and to have the confidence to get medical help if you suspect a case.
The girls are having follow-up care to check on their development. Both have three-monthly checks with a community paediatrician and six-monthly check ups with the consultant at Hereford Hospital who treated them.