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Holly D’s story

9th November 2019

Ten-year-old Holly came home from hospital on Christmas Eve last year after surviving meningitis a second time. Mum Rachel, from Nottingham, tells the story of their Christmas miracle

Holly D’s story

“Holly came home from school on the last day of the school term, ate all her tea and went to bed as normal. She showed no sign of illness at all.

“Then at 4am I was woken by my eldest daughter shouting that Holly needed me. I went downstairs and Holly said she couldn't move her neck at all and was scared. I was half asleep and my first thought was that she must have slept funny or hurt it at school.

“As I began to wake up a bit I examined her more closely. She had bacterial meningitis before at age 3, so I was very aware of the symptoms. She couldn't sit up and when I felt her head she felt quite warm. I then felt her hands and feet and they were cold.

Flinched a bit

“I put the light on and whilst she didn't complain exactly, she did seem to flinch a bit. She also said she had a headache but the worst thing was her neck. She couldn't put her chin on her chest.

“I rang 111 initially and spoke to someone briefly who called the ambulance for me. By the time the ambulance arrived she had been sick and looked very pale.

“Once we had managed to get her out of the top bunk bed she actually managed to walk to the ambulance. The paramedic put a cannula in straight away and gave her antibiotics just in case. By the time we got to A&E she was pretty much out of it.

“She was monitored before being moved to an assessment ward. She had a lumbar puncture that afternoon and despite a number of doctors and nurses holding her to keep her very still she didn't move a muscle. We were moved to a side room and I still don't think at that point they thought it was meningitis but continued to treat her.

“The next day the doctor came in and stood there shaking his head. He just said 'it's meningitis again'. By this time she had thankfully responded to treatment and was sat up in bed.

Full roast dinner

“By the end of the second day she had been for a walk around the hospital and had a full roast dinner.

“They let us go home on Christmas Eve which was our Christmas miracle. She had survived meningitis a second time. We had a quiet Christmas Day at my parents’ house and she had to go into hospital every day for two weeks to have iv antibiotics.

“We heard back after treatment had finished that it was pneumococcal again. We feel incredibly lucky as not everyone makes a full recovery and many don't survive this awful illness.

“Holly is still currently at higher risk of contracting meningitis so we are constantly vigilant.”