“I remember everything so well. My little boy Thomas, who at the time was 5 months old, became very unwell on the 9th December 2015, but I just put it down to teething as the only symptoms he had were runny nappies and a high temperature.
“The following day, the 10th, his symptoms were worse and his temperature wouldn't settle with Calpol. I remember he had a dirty nappy and it was luminous green.
“It didn't sit right with me, so I took him to the doctors and they put it down to teething. I wasn't 100% convinced but I listened to what they said. The following day, the 11th December was a Friday. I remember because I was getting him ready to take him to my parents’ house. I went to dress him and he was extremely lethargic and not responding as quickly as usual.
“I checked over his body and found a small purple spot, I checked to see if it would blanch and it didn't. Straight away my stomach sank and I knew something wasn't right.
I looked at the Meningitis Now app
“I had the Meningitis Now app and looked at the other symptoms. One of them was to check the soft spot. I did; it was rock hard and sticking up. Then I knew. I didn't tell my partner, Ryan, as I didn't want to panic him, so I took Thomas to my parents’ house and when I got there I broke down in tears and said ‘Mum, he has meningitis, I just know it’.
“At that point my parents said to take him to the 8-8 clinic, so I did. I remember the journey there - he was so sleepy and just not himself. We got to the front desk and I was anxious because I had a horrible feeling inside me. The lady told us to take a seat and wait to be called to the triage room to be assessed.
“Thomas's name was called and we went through. The nurse took one look at Thomas and sent us straight into the assessment bay. Within five minutes a doctor came and injected him with penicillin and then an ambulance came.
My heart was racing
“I remember holding Thomas in my arms wrapped in a blanket and he was so limp and my heart was racing because at this point I still didn't have confirmation of what was wrong with him. I just had my own idea which was basically clarified by the doctors’ reactions and the fact that I was being blue lighted to hospital in an ambulance.
“I remember getting to the hospital and being taken to the ward thinking he's just got a common cold, these are just precautions that the professionals have to take because we don't know. I got there and they put him on IV antibiotics straight away.
“A doctor came and told me they needed to take him away for a lumbar puncture and do culture tests. Everything just seemed a bit of a blur at this point because it had all happened so quickly. We were in hospital for three days and he was on numerous amounts of medication and was observed every three hours. He was getting better, his colour started to come back and he became more alert. I was so happy and thought ‘this is great, he was fine and I was just over reacting’.
Meningitis was confirmed
“We still hadn't had the results back at this point. Later that day a consultant came into the room and said the results had come back and meningitis was confirmed. I remember just breaking down into tears and everything the consultant said after that point I couldn't hear. My parents were with me and I could see that they were shocked and didn't expect it either.
“The consultant then went on to explain that he had viral meningitis and I should be relieved as it could have been worse. Obviously at this point I was just happy that he was on the road to becoming my happy little boy again.
“We stayed in hospital for one week while he was on his IV antibiotics and he was an outpatient for another week. We are still under a consultant and he gets assessed every six months. We believe that he suffers from headaches as an after-effect from the meningitis but as he is only nearly 2 it's hard to determine.
“I'm so grateful for the Meningitis Now app, as without this I wouldn't have known what signs to look out for. It helped me because I now feel more educated on the illness. I now understand that you don't have to have every symptom at the same time to have meningitis. I am so happy that my son has no serious life-lasting effects. And I believe everyone should be aware of each individual symptom of meningitis as you don't need to have them all to have the illness.”