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Poppy's story

27th June 2015

Heather Douglas, from Dromore in County Down, thought her 20-month-old daughter Poppy had the symptoms of a cold, but an alert GP spotted something more serious and sent the youngster straight to hospital

Poppy's story

Poppy made it through meningitis and septicaemia and, as Heather says here, early diagnosis was the key.

“Poppy was always a bottle baby - she loved her evening snuggle with a bottle. On Wednesday 1st October last year Poppy had been her usual happy little self. She cuddled in and took her bottle, only to stop halfway and vomit.

I checked her temperature and it was raised. I gave her Nurofen and she seemed okay.

We put her to bed as usual but during the night Poppy was very unsettled, vomiting several times. The next morning, the Thursday, I stripped and changed her at 8:00am and she had no marks on her at all.

My husband, Chris, and I took her to our GP in Dromara. By 10:00am, when we were seen, Poppy had the rash. There were five small purple marks on her chest which did not fade under pressure. The doctor sent us to Craigavon Area Hospital, where she was treated.

We arrived at A & E by 11:00am and were rushed into resus. Poppy was drifting in and out of consciousness and the Paediatric team was bleeped and appeared within minutes.

They fought for an hour to get a line into Poppy. She barely reacted to this pain. Finally they managed to not only draw blood but get fluids and antibiotics into her. By 1:00pm she was going to the ward with probable meningitis."

Fighting for her life

"By 4.30pm we were told Poppy was fighting for her life - her heart rate was over 180 beats per minute and she was unresponsive. My heart was breaking; my baby was dying. But Poppy is a fighter.

All day Friday as she battled she became restless and I was unable to hold and comfort her, she simply wanted to be left in her cot. That was hard to watch.

At 1:00am on Saturday Poppy underwent a lumbar puncture. That was horrific to watch - I had to walk out of the room.

Poppy continued to fight and began to win her battle. Her rash stopped and she began to be Poppy again. She smiled on Sunday morning - I cried!

She continued to improve and the doctors and nurses were delighted. By Monday they decided she could go home to return each night for treatment. Poppy amazed the staff and walked out eating a bag of crisps, something they and we thought she might not do.

Less than two weeks after contracting meningitis, Poppy went to day care to have her Christmas pictures done!

Without our GP being on the ball Poppy may not have made it. Early diagnosis is the key.

Poppy is our warrior and we are so proud of how she fought and won her battle.

Meningitis Now has given me very useful information from the website regarding my understanding of what my child has had and how it may affect her in the future.

The home visit we had really helped us come to terms with everything.

As a family we are trying to plan a small fundraising activity to thank you all.

I would also like to thank you on behalf of all parents for your constant pushing and victory in getting the MenB vaccine through.”