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Don’t ignore the signs

13th November 2015

On Sunday, D was quieter than usual and had a bit of a temperature. He’s just got over a bad cold and this seemed fairly typical of another one. We gave him Calpol and went about the day as normal.

On Monday, D’s nursery commented that he wasn’t himself, and he started to become snotty and a cough developed. Still a bit of a temperature. Standard for D when he has a cold.

Tuesday and Wednesday were much the same but with a bit of an upset stomach. Oh, maybe it’s a little tummy bug then. Again this behaviour is normal from him with these things.

Thursday, I considered not sending D to nursery as his cough was quite bad and I was worried about his upset tummy, but he ate breakfast well and seemed fine other than the snot.

I got a call to come and collect him just after lunch. He was the same as he had been in the morning, completely normal but snotty and coughy and temperature was up and down. We had a good afternoon together where he played normally.

And just before dinner, spots appeared. Little pinprick ones. The same ones he had had and we panicked about last year, only to be told it was hand, foot and mouth disease. We thought the same this time. They looked nothing like anything we could google.

We had dinner. He ate well and behaved normally. We had a bath and brushed teeth. He was completely normal, even more so than he had been all week.

And I noticed his hand had suddenly turned purple with the amount of spots on it. And they did not fade when pressed with a glass. I checked D’s temperature: 39°. His feet were cold. He was otherwise completely normal. Everything we read about rashes that don’t fade was prefixed with warnings about meningitis and never to ignore this, but that these things would usually present along with a “very unwell” child. D wasn’t very unwell though. Whatever; it didn’t sit well with us.

His father took him straight to hospital. He was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. His condition nose-dived in less than 20 minutes.

That was 8 hours ago. We’re in hospital until further notice. Our journey from this point onwards is uncertain.

Don’t ignore the signs of meningitis. What you think is normal in your child can turn serious in a matter of minutes. Don’t wait and don’t think you’re being stupid because of something you once saw or read.

I never thought it would happen to my child but it did. What did I do to deserve this? The answer is nothing; it’s just what happens sometimes. But he’s being treated and I am (finally, after an agnonising 6 hours) by his side, whatever happens.