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Dillon M's Story

11th May 2024

Annie and Rob’s 10-year-old son Dillon started to feel ill with a temperature, severe headache and a stiff neck. As his condition worsened they took him to A&E but their concerns about meningitis were initially ignored. It took multiple visits before Dillon got the treatment he needed and thankfully he has gone on to make a good recovery and is back playing football, as Annie and Rob, from Norwich in Norfolk, tells us here.

Dillon M blog frame

“We found the Meningitis Now website very helpful, especially in the difficult moments. It was helpful to read others’ stories.”

“Dillon went to bed on Friday evening with a slight temperature and feeling very tired. On the Saturday morning, he woke up crying with a very sore back of his head and down his neck. He was unable to move his neck as it felt so stiff.

“Dillon also started vomiting and was drifting in and out of sleep.

“We took Dillon to A&E as we suspected meningitis due to the unusual place of his headache.

Told just a virus

“We were told at A&E that Dillon just had a virus. He was falling asleep whilst being assessed and we were told that this was due to the virus. We explained our concerns about meningitis but they said as he didn't have a rash it was just a virus.

“We then took Dillon a further three times to the hospital and were told that he could have a chest infection or just a random virus.

“On the fourth time that we took Dillon to hospital, we carried my son from the car park as he could no longer walk and was basically unconscious. We were once again told that it was just Dillon's body reacting to the virus.

“We refused to leave the hospital and demanded a second opinion. By this point, Dillon was barely awake and when he was awake, he was crying in pain.

“A consultant came to see Dillon and suspected swelling on the brain. Dillon then had a lumbar puncture, MRI and EEG.

Diagnosed with meningitis

“Over the next couple of days, Dillon was diagnosed with meningitis, although they were unable to detect the particular type of meningitis as the only thing that came back positive was mycroplasma.

“Over the next 10 days, Dillon continued to be unconscious and was given lots of IV antibiotics and anti virals. As Dillon's condition worsened and his body wasn't responding to treatment, he started to develop seizures that included lip smacking and absent seizures.

“Dillon then had another MRI and EEG. This showed that he now had encephalitis. At this point, Addenbrookes Hospital were contacted and they suggested Dillon start a strong course of steroids. If that didn't bring an improvement, they wanted to put Dillon into a coma so his brain could rest.

“After one day on steroids, Dillon started to improve and began waking up for periods of time. A few days on steroids and he was dramatically changing and was awake for a lot longer.

Continued to have seizures

“At this stage, Dillon continued to have seizures, so was given epilepsy medication.

“As Dillon was awake for longer, we were now aware that he could no longer walk as he didn't have the strength or coordination control. Dillon also had no speech and could only communicate by squeezing our hands.

“Over the next 10 days, Dillon was seen by physios and he began to walk again and he started to be able to speak again. He was then moved off the HDU and spent time in hospital in a ward.

“Moving forward, Dillon attended hospital three times a week for physio and occupational therapy. On the 2nd of April, Dillon had his follow-up consultant’s appointment and was said to have made a 100% recovery with no long-term after-effects.

“He is now back swimming for his squad and playing football for his football team.

“We found the Meningitis Now website very helpful, especially in the difficult moments. It was helpful to read others’ stories.

“Meningitis has had a huge impact on our family. Dillon is now attending play therapy to help him process what has happened to him. His younger brother is also attending therapy as Dillon’s illness had a huge impact on him too.”