“In December 2009, at 19-months-old, our girl Isabelle Scarlett started with a temperature.
After a few hours she started vomiting constantly. No amount of medicine helped and her temperature was off the scale.
“She seemed lifeless and had a faint rash of tiny blood spots. We rushed her to the emergency doctor, who said she had a virus and sent us home. Not satisfied with her condition we then took her to our own doctor first thing the next day. He took one look at her and said she needed to go straight to hospital. She was very ill.
Fight for survival
“We arrived 15 minutes later at Stepping Hill Hospital and were told immediately that she had meningitis. From there on it was a fight for survival. Her blood was full of infection, septicaemia, and the doctors pumped her with gallons of antibiotics.
“She was so ill she didn't flinch as needle after needle went into her arms, taking blood, putting more medicine in. We watched on, wishing it was us instead of our precious baby fighting this horrible infection. We had no option but to sit, stare, wait and put all of our trust in the doctors and nurses who were kind and clearly very concerned. They watched her constantly, checking her every few minutes.
Opened her eyes
“After three long days of hoping and praying, she opened her eyes and looked at her daddy. Something was different. She was crying, a noise we hadn't heard for a while as she had been too weak to make a sound. Isabelle lifted up her arm, not because she wanted a hug from him but because she was trying to grab a piece of toast he was eating! From that moment on she came back to life and has never looked back, our nightmare was over.
“After five days she was sitting up by the window with the help of a few pillows. It started to snow, the first flakes she had seen in her short life. That was the most precious memory we will keep, and never will we complain about the snow, no matter how hard it falls.
“The moral of our story is that if you are a parent and your child is unusually ill, trust your instincts, act quickly and go straight to hospital. Don't wait. Isabelle is one of the lucky ones. She just has an ear that doesn't work (in her own words). Needless to say, we celebrate Christmas more than most every year.
“Thank you so much to the doctors and nurses on Stepping Hill's Rainforest Ward - you were amazing. Please pass this on to anyone you know who has children. Know the warning signs, meningitis kills in hours and the earlier it is caught the better chance of survival. Thank you for taking the time to read this; if it helps one child, we will be eternally happy.”