Now, several operations and 12 weeks later, he’s looking forward to getting back to the football pitch. Joanne, from Boldon, Tyne and Wear, tells their story.
“My son Nathan, aged 11, who is generally very fit and healthy, had headaches on and off for four days. They became so painful that I took him to the GP, where we were told it wasn’t anything to worry about.
“Twenty-four hours later I took him to A&E with vomiting, a high temperature, a stiff neck and a headache that he could get no relief from. He was also having difficulty walking in a straight line and kept tripping over.
Told it was a viral infection
“The hospital said he did have some symptoms of meningitis but felt his temperature wasn’t high enough. We were discharged and told it was a nasty viral infection. Hours later we were back in as he lost the mobility and co-ordination in his left side. He continued to vomit and complained about his head.
“I could see he was so poorly. Once again, no tests were done and we were left for six hours waiting for an ambulance (as he was not considered urgent) to take us to another hospital for overnight observation.
“By the time we arrived at the other hospital he could not walk or move his left side. Various tests were done and he was given intravenous antibiotics.
Described as critical
“Eighteen hours later after an MRI scan he was transferred to another hospital, where he was described as critical. He had fluid sitting on the hemisphere of his brain causing the horrific headaches and loss of mobility. He had a craniotomy that night to remove the fluid. If he hadn’t been operated on that night he would have slipped into a coma.
“Two days later he needed a second craniotomy as the fluid had spread and he was still unable to move his left side. After this second operation they thought the fluid had caused a stroke but luckily it was just a scar on his brain.
“He was extremely poorly for a couple of days after the ops and had a few seizures. He then started to get his appetite back and was keen to get out of bed and walk. He started physio and within six days had more or less the full use of his left side back and was able to walk unaided.
“It’s been 12 weeks now and he plans to start back at football this week. Incredibly he appears to have no major after-effects from the operations though he will continue with seizure medication for at least two years.
A huge shock
“We only discovered on the discharge letter than he had a very rare form of meningitis - Streptococcus Anginosus. As you can imagine, this came as a huge shock!
“It seemed to take so long to diagnose his symptoms. If this had been one of the other types of meningitis that I’ve read about on your site I don’t think he would be with us today.
“Meningitis Now has helped me get answers for the many questions I had. My son has made a brilliant recovery from this but I am still in shock from what has happened to him.”