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Ben B's story

24th December 2016

Gemma’s son Ben, from Milton Keynes, complained of feeling ill and a tummy ache and throughout the night was sick. The next morning he went downhill quickly, but an alert doctor suspected meningitis and started treating him. He was rushed to hospital where he thankfully rallied. Gemma tells their story here

Ben B's story

“My son had been complaining of feeling sick and a tummy ache.

Throughout the night we had to help him sit up to be sick.

“In the morning he still wasn't right and he didn't know what was happening. He was lethargic and had some bruising on his side. My husband and I thought we had done that when helping him sit up in the night. I then noticed a small patch on his arm that looked like a rash. I did the glass tumbler test and the rash didn't disappear. I knew this wasn't good. I called the doctors and they said come right up.

Covered in spots

“When I got off the phone he was covered in spots, you could see them coming up. The doctor, Dr Manna, looked at him and said it looked like it could be meningitis. She gave him a dose of penicillin and the ambulance took us straight to Milton Keynes Hospital.

“Doctors were all over him and confirmed our worst fears. We were told something I have never forgotten. The words ‘your son is very ill and may not wake up!’ Any parents’ nightmare and something I never want to hear again.

“He was then taken to John Radcliffe, where he was in intensive care for five days. The first night was the hurdle to get past as they didn't know if he was going to make it. It was the longest period of my life as we were in a bubble, hoping and praying our boy would pull through.

So many things to do

“He had to have a room to himself as he had a few spots left from his chicken pox, which is how they think he contracted meningitis. They kept checking that he wasn't going to lose limbs and God knows how many tests. I just watched him and read to him. I was telling him he needed to wake up as we had so many things to do and he couldn't miss out.

“We were so lucky that he fought this awful disease and that he woke up when they took the tube out that was keeping his breathing steady. The nurses were so happy to see him awake and talking. He just wanted cuddles and to go home.

“We went home after day six and he looked so tiny. It took years for his immune system to tolerate anything. He went from a child who never got sick to one who got everything. We got through it though and he only has a few tiny scars from the needles and one spot that went dark.

Disease is evil

“I can only say that this disease is evil and everyone should be aware of the symptoms and how quickly they can turn. From having a few spots he was covered in minutes. I could see them coming out.  We were lucky but so many others aren't. All parents need educating on this as my Ben had simple chicken pox and he became ill. The simplest of things could have ended in the worst outcome. All I can say is seek help, go on your gut instinct and do the tumbler test if there is the rash!”