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Alkin's story

30th December 2009

Alkin fell ill with meningitis shortly after Christmas in 2009. The speed at which he fell ill, and the emotional rollercoaster that was to follow, has made his family realise just how lucky they are that he pulled through

Alkin's story

His mum Suzana tells his story.

"At around 10pm on December 27, 2009, my son Alkin suddenly appeared to be weak and pale. He hadn't eaten properly all day and refused to eat that night. At 12.30am he started complaining that his head was hurting, so I told him to eat something. He only ate half the food before deciding to go to bed because his head was hurting so much. I realised that he had a temperature of 39.3 which I brought down by giving him paracetamol. But hardly any time had passed when his temperature starting rising again. It kept rising and didn't go down despite giving him medication.

"I gave him a shower at around 3am, hoping this would bring his temperature down a bit. It helped for a while but it kept rising. A digital ear thermometer registered it as 40.9 degrees which made me panic and I didn't know what to do. Monday morning came and my husband phoned to make an appointment with the doctors. No one answered so he rushed there at 9am, but the practice was closed, which must have been because it was a bank holiday.

"My husband arrived home and decided to take Alkin to the hospital but he was unable to get out of bed. He looked so weak and was so pale. He kept falling in and out of consciousness so my daughter called the emergency service and they put her straight through. They sent an ambulance while they were calming us down and telling us what to do if he became unconscious. Around 10:30am a paramedic came to check what might be wrong with Alkin. His temperature still hadn't dropped. The paramedic checked Alkin's symptoms and still did not know what was wrong with him. He said that if a rash appeared over his body then that would be a sign of meningitis and that he should be taken to hospital straight away."

The rash appears

"As the paramedic was leaving I looked at Alkin's body and found a huge rash under his armpit. The paramedic pressed his thumb on it but the rash wouldn't go. He rang for an ambulance straightaway. In the meantime, Alkin was given antibiotics through a vein in his hand. The ambulance arrived and both my daughter and I went with Alkin.

"At this point my eyes were full of tears and I couldn't help but think the worst. The paramedic in the ambulance kept asking questions and trying to calm me down but my head felt so heavy and I felt like I couldn't breathe because I didn't know what was happening to my little boy.

"When we got to the hospital Alkin kept falling asleep and they kept waking him up to take blood and put more medication in his body. He went completely pale and seemed lifeless. He would talk to us but he was so weak that only a few words came out. We had been in the hospital for a few hours by this point and so many doctors had shown up and checked him but they were still unsure what exactly was wrong."

Waiting for blood test results

"We had to wait until the blood tests came back, which would be in four hours. At that point I didn't know what to think. I just kept crying and crying and I felt so weak and so helpless when I saw him lying there half asleep with needles sticking out of him in every corner. My daughter left after a few hours and my son came and stayed with me. I had forgotten I had my other kids at home because I had blocked everything and everyone out of my mind - all my thoughts were focussed on Alkin because I was still thinking the worst.

"After a few hours, at around 6pm, my husband, sister and her husband showed up at the hospital and kept me company. At that point they were treating him for meningitis. The results had come back and they clearly stated that he had bacterial meningitis infection. Luton and Dunstable Hospital then transferred Alkin to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital to undergo more treatment. The nurses and doctors put him to sleep and put so many tubes into him to help him survive the journey to London. When they were getting him ready they told me to leave the room but I just couldn't leave, my sister grabbed me by the hand and forced me out because I wouldn't leave and I couldn't stop crying.

"When I saw all the tubes coming out of him like that I thought I was going to faint. I couldn't believe that just the day before he was running about and playing with his little sister and now he was strapped to a bed with so many tubes hanging out of him, fighting for his life. At this point I thought I was going to drop because I couldn't take the pain of seeing him like that.

"At around 10:30pm we left Luton and Dunstable Hospital for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The drive was so long it felt like we were never going to make it. We arrived at Great Ormond Street at around midnight. It was dark and wet. They took him out of the ambulance and transferred him into a separate room where the nurses and doctors kept a close eye on him until his treatment was complete.

"I couldn't sleep that night because I just kept thinking about Alkin and the pain he must be going through. There were other women asleep in the same corridor and all night they cried and walked around, obviously in the same position as me. I couldn't think straight, I was so weak and it seemed like I had no more tears but I just kept crying.

"The next day Alkin's treatment continued. He was moved to the children's ward, where all the kids with major illnesses were recovering. On Wednesday, December 30, he was transferred back to Luton and Dunstable Hospital where he was going to fully recover because his treatment in London was complete and he was out of danger. I couldn't go with him back to Luton because I was with my little daughter in Whipps Cross Hospital where they were also testing her for meningitis because she had a temperature. Thankfully she only had a temperature because of the medication which the hospital gave her to prevent meningitis."

Time to go home

"Alkin was moved into a room where he was looked after until he fully recovered. I stayed with him night and day and went home for an hour to change, have a shower, eat, and see my family while Alkin was asleep. He was allowed home on January 2 because his breathing was much better and he was eating normally.

"When we got home the whole family was there and they had gifts and food for him. Alkin still had to have antibiotics for three days and he didn't go to school for the first week. Then, the following week, he only went in for half days.

"Alkin is now fully recovered and doctors were surprised at what a quick recovery he made. I thank God every single day that he is here and healthy. I didn't fully understand what meningitis was before Alkin fell ill and I'm glad I didn't because I wouldn't have been able to handle the pain. Meningitis is a quick killer and my son is so lucky to be here today as he was in the last stages of this dreadful disease."