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Jess W’s story

16th July 2017

Catherine’s baby daughter Jess was lethargic and not interested in feeding – most unlike her. The health visitor suggested it was just the summer heat but, trusting her instincts, Catherine felt there was more to it. She was right, Jess had viral meningitis. Catherine, from Devizes in Wiltshire, tells their story here

Jess W’s story

“Jess was six weeks old and not a baby who slept during the day very much.

She felt that she was missing out on life even at a young age.

“Her dad Mark started a new job on 15 August and the day started pretty normally. After attempting breakfast Jess fell asleep and slept for three hours - unheard of usually.

“When I woke her she seemed ‘out of sorts’ and quite warm. We were due a visit from the health visitor so, as I'd broken our thermometer, I waited for her to turn up and asked if she had one I could use. She didn't and advised that Jess was probably just suffering from the heat of the summer. She also advised that if she wasn't any different in a couple of days to make an appointment with the doctor.

Decided to make an appointment

“We stayed in during the day and I kept Jess as cool as I could. By the time her dad got home I really wasn't very happy and decided to make a doctor’s appointment. I really felt that she was deteriorating and didn't want to go through the night like this. We saw the doctor, he checked her over and promptly called an ambulance. Within the hour we were in hospital and Jess was being checked over. They were very thorough, did a lumbar puncture and starting pumping antibiotics into her.

Thank my lucky stars

“She wasn't allowed any more than 1oz of fluid every four hours - stupidly difficult at six weeks - and sucked on the sterilising fluid that her dummy had been in like her life depended on it. We were in isolation and I spent the next four to five days pushing her around that room in a pram, trying to pacify her and sleeping when she did (which wasn't often as she was hungry).

“We were allowed home after a week and told that it was viral meningitis.

“The doctor at our surgery was amazing and I thank my lucky stars that I acted on my intuition and got her to the surgery when I did and didn't do as advised by the health visitor. Jess suffers a bit with her hearing and she doesn't like noise. Other than that, I think it has made us much more aware of meningitis and very careful and observant about this.”