Her mother, Charlene McCulloch, was concerned for her health when Eliza began to display flu-like symptoms including sickness and diarrhoea, running nose and a temperature.
Eliza was sleepy, irritable, not drinking or eating and unable to move her legs. Charlene he tells her terrifying story here.
“Eliza had been poorly for roughly seven days with flu-like symptoms so we took her to the GP where we were told she had a viral infection. We were advised to continue giving her Calpol and Nurofen, making sure she had plenty of fluids.
Two or three days later I was changing Eliza's nappy and she was very uncomfortable - she seemed to be wincing. The following day she was worse and would scream if her legs where slightly touched or moved.
At that point I called the out-of-hours doctor. I was given an appointment roughly two and a half hours later."
“Upon arrival we were told we would have to wait around for another hour. Two hours later the GP saw her and seemed to think the original doctor was correct, however, wanted to get her checked by the paediatric team due to her hip issues.
All I remember thinking was that I’d wasted valuable resources and time but the GP must have sensed something as he asked if I was okay with Eliza being examined further.
Upon arrival at the paediatric ward Eliza was examined by a register and the same opinion was given, however, they weren't happy with her fluid intake so decided to admit her for IV fluids. It was about 1:00-2:00am so I sent my partner home for some much needed sleep.
Eliza was transferred to a cubicle and a doctor came to examine her whilst she sat on my lap facing him. He asked a really odd question - 'Does she always do this with her eyes?'. I looked at her and her eyes where fixed. She was unresponsive, stiff and ridged."
We willed her to pull through
“I was asked to run with her to a side room. Following us were roughly four nurses and three doctors. I didn't know it at the time, but she was having a seizure. I was asked to leave whilst they performed a lumbar puncture to confirm meningitis.
Eliza was moved to HDU and was unconscious for a few days. During this we time we were told we could lose her, the hardest words I have ever heard. We willed her to pull through every minute, of every day.
After 11 days we were transferred to the nearest paediatric hospital to a neurosurgical ward because too much fluid had built up on Eliza's brain. Luckily, surgery wasn't necessary and they continued to monitor Eliza closely. She slowly and progressively started to do things again but our almost one-year-old was a baby again.
She worked very hard to re-learn everything and her determination gave us strength. Our little fighter!
We were discharged on Eliza's first birthday, a beautiful milestone that we were able to celebrate in the comfort of our own home!
We are so lucky to have our little lady with us and will continue to treasure every moment we have with her. If she can do it so can we!”