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Kieran's story

3rd September 2016

Seven-year-old Kieran, from Nottingham, had been ill for about two weeks with flu-like symptoms and vomiting before his pneumococcal meningitis was diagnosed and he was not expected to pull through. But the plucky youngster has amazed everybody by fighting back, despite suffering after-effects. Proud mum Nicola shares their story

Kieran's story

“Kieran had been ill for about two weeks leading up to the meningitis diagnosis.

He'd had a cold and had gone off his food and drink. On the 20th March he woke us with his crying; he said the light hurt his eyes.

“We rang NHS Direct and they sent an ambulance.The A and E docs kept us for a couple of hours but eventually said it was a virus and sent us home.

“That night I kept him in bed with me. I was worried about his confusion and the constant sickness. He woke a lot during that night and kept asking me where he was. At one point he told me he had to leave me. When I asked why he said he wasn’t sure but I couldn’t go with him and he told me he loved me.

Unable to sleep

“I remember the way he said it, so clear and certain after a night of confused chatter. It seemed odd and put me on edge. I didn’t sleep after that.

“He woke around 6am screaming in pain. He said his head hurt. When I rang NHS Direct in a panic and she heard his screams she told me to ring 999. They sent a fast response car. The paramedic didn’t seem overly concerned as, by now, he had calmed down (I’d given him a double dose of Calpol).

“She told me I could take him to A and E again if I was worried but all his vitals seemed fine and he wasn’t ill enough to warrant an ambulance. She suggested I wait until my husband came back (he was returning from work after my older son had phoned him in our panic) and take him to see our GP.

“My husband arrived home and took one look at Kieran’s pale, lifeless face and took us straight to A and E. I had to carry Kieran in and he was screaming. The lady rang straight through and asked for someone to come and look at him. She said "we have a very poorly boy in the waiting room; can someone come straight through.

Never thought it was real

“The team of doctors who greeted us was amazing and although we heard them discuss 'no rash' and other meningitis signs I don’t think we ever thought it was real.

“A doctor came from neurology and told us she would be taking Kieran onto her ward. I think we were confused by that. It was later that we found out that Kieran’s pupils were different sizes, which indicated something was happening to his brain. It was a whirlwind from then on.

“He went to the neurological ward until he was stable enough to have a brain scan. He was then moved onto intensive care for a few hours and then onto high dependency for a night. He was either sleeping throughout it all or shouting abuse and accusing everyone of trying to kill him. He was completely out of character, which was scary to watch.

Scariest night of our lives

“He was kept in hospital for two weeks. The first time they said we could take him home for a night as a trial was one of the scariest nights of our lives. We constantly checked his eyes for signs of the swelling returning, but he surprised his consultant and all of his doctors and nurses with his amazing recovery.

“Doctors would come into his room and tell him how shocked they were at how he was sitting up, because on paper he sounded like he shouldn’t even be anywhere near as well as he looked. It was two weeks before we were sent home full-time and then the district nurses came in every day to give him his meds. In total he was off school for four weeks!

“We recently went back for his first hospital check up. The consultant said he was astounded by his recovery and that when he first saw Kieran on 20 March he was extremely poorly. I don’t think they expected him to recover, especially not within the time he did. He still isn’t 100%. He has terrible temper tantrums but he is a lot more loving than he used to be. We are so proud of him and all he’s overcome. We are very lucky.”