My boy was six months old when he got meningococcal septicaemia.
He had the usual flu symptoms: fever, hot to touch, sleepiness, off his food and drink. This lasted for about eight hours; I gave him Calpol but his temperature was not going down. I phoned NHS Direct who were very helpful - they kept phoning me back with support - but my boy was developing a rash and I was told to go to A&E.
Because his temperature went down slightly and was sitting up no medical examination occurred by a doctor. The next morning (which was a few hours after A&E) my son's skin looked so pale. He was lifeless, shallow breathing with a high pitch 'scrawk' every now and again. I went to the GP and begged for him to examine my son. I was told not to worry as 'there are no serious viral illnesses going around'. His temperature or pulse was never taken.
Within two hours after the visit to the GP the real rash became apparent. I phoned for an ambulance, no messing about this time. He went into resusc and I was told to expect the worst. He was in ICU for one week. His fingers and toes went black, his tiny body ballooned up so badly, he was unrecognisable with all the tubes and wires -I had no control. I waited second after second, while other people's children were dying around us, was mine next? A feeling I will never forget.
He made it, he was one of the lucky ones. The physical side effect is the septicaemia has damaged his growth plates. His bones in his lower part of the body are not growing, so more hospital nightmares of him having operations.