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Jack's story

13th December 2015

Natalie’s young son Jack, from Colchester in Essex developed a temperature and was grouchy and just not right

Jack's story

When she took him to the local walk-in centre she noticed a pinprick rash developing in front of her eyes.

Thankfully her action meant Jack received prompt treatment and he has recovered well from bacterial meningitis. She tells their story here.

“It started off as any normal Saturday. We had been to our local zoo in the morning and then went out for lunch. After lunch, whilst food shopping, Jack started to get very grumpy and hot.

“I checked his temperature and it was 39C. I gave him paracetamol and didn't think too much of it. At 23-months-old he had been ill with viruses a lot and whenever he got a temperature it was always sky high.

“An hour later it was 40C, so I gave him ibuprofen. He had no symptoms of anything, just really grumpy and sleepy. An hour later his temperature was now 41C. I was concerned now, but did not know what was wrong, so took him to our local walk in centre.

“It is now about 5pm and we booked in. Whilst sitting there in the waiting room he became very, very drowsy and where he was just in a vest and nappy I noticed a few pinprick, red non-blanching dots appear in front of my eyes.

I was in denial

“I went to the desk to ask how long he would have to wait as I was becoming concerned. They said they would get a nurse to triage him asap. I still did not imagine it was meningitis. Maybe I was in denial; he had a non-blanching rash before because of an ear infection so I thought it was probably just that.

“The nurse took one look at him and rushed us through to a doctor. This is when I became worried. They examined him from head to toe. By now the couple of dots had become a hundred or so on all four limbs. This is when the doctor said it is suspected meningitis.

“He then gave him an antibiotic injection into his leg and Jack screamed - the best noise I have ever heard as by now he had become unresponsive.

“I was told we were going to be sent by ambulance to A&E. I insisted I would walk him there as it would only take five minutes. I was just in a state of shock I think. They obviously didn't let me and in a matter of minutes an ambulance was there and we were taken with the blue lights and sirens to A&E.

“We went straight into Resus and there was a team of doctors and nurses waiting to look after Jack. He had blood tests and a cannula put in and was taken to the children's ward. He was then given a big dose of antibiotics into his veins.

That night is a blur

“That night is a blur. He had lots of nurses and doctors checking him overnight. By Sunday morning he was still very sick, but at the same time so much better. The consultant decided that he didn't need to have a lumbar puncture at this point as he was responding well.

“We had to have contact tracing, which is where they want to know everyone who has been with the person overnight in the last seven days contacted, and to take antibiotics. I think this is when it seemed real. I was also scared my daughter had contracted it from him. Thankfully, she had not.

“On the Tuesday, the doctors decided Jack had made an amazing recovery and could finish his course of antibiotics as an outpatient, so that evening I took him home.

Aversion to loud noises

“Almost two years on, the only ill effect he has is an aversion to loud noises including hand dryers. He has been seen by ENT, and there is no hearing impairment.

“Our family is so lucky. I am so glad I took him when I did. If I had gone earlier to our walk in centre, we would have been told to rest, take paracetamol and fluids. If I had left it, my son would have become unresponsive at home. I can't even think about that.

“If it was not for the doctor and nurse at Colchester walk in centre, I do not think Jack would have made such a good recovery, if at all. Colchester A&E, Children's Ward and Children's Day Unit were amazing. Every single person who looked after us that week was fantastic.

“Meningitis Now was great. I found the Facebook page which linked me to the website which gave me lots of advice and I applied for the journal. This was great to help me look at how my son was recovering.

“Because of the work Meningitis Now has done in the past my son survived.”