Fortunately Liam made a good recovery, the family self-isolated and he was able to celebrate his 18th birthday in October and passed his driving test at the first attempt earlier this month. Christina, from Winchester in Hampshire, tells their story here.
“My son woke up and started getting ready for college. He told us he had a sore throat and felt unwell, so we allowed him to stay home.
“He stayed in bed most of the day and took paracetamol for his symptoms. He wasn’t very hungry but ate some snacks. By the evening his temperature had risen significantly to 39.7 and his headache and sore throat were getting worse.
“We decided to ring 111 and an ambulance was sent. The paramedics assessed our son, who by this time was struggling to speak and was complaining of light sensitivity, but they decided he probably had a migraine.
Recommended he stayed home
“They said we could take him to A&E but due to Covid recommended that he stayed home and we could call another ambulance if he got worse.
“Within an hour or so he was mumbling, unresponsive and fitting. We rang 999 and this time they rushed him to hospital.
“The doctors treated him for both viral and bacterial meningitis and placed him in an induced coma and took him to ICU. Public Health England were informed and we had to ring his best friend to find out who our son had been in close contact with over the past week. It was horrible telling his friend’s mother that his best friend might die.
Told to prepare ourselves
“In ICU it was very distressing seeing him intubated and attached to all sorts of machines. The consultant couldn’t give us a prognosis and we were told to prepare ourselves for disability or death.
“They tried to bring him round a couple of times but he was still agitated. Eventually they managed to wake him up on day three. After that we spent the next three days on the paediatric ward and were discharged six days after diagnosis.
“A lumbar puncture confirmed that he had contracted bacterial meningitis.
Decided to shield ourselves
“The first lockdown started a few days after we returned home so we decided to shield ourselves and self-isolated for the entire time.
“Whenever our son is ill we feel very anxious and it’s hard not to think about meningitis. We worry that his apathy and concentration issues are long-term after-effects of the illness.
“Although he is tired, his concentration levels are sometimes low and he occasionally has word-finding issues, we are very lucky that he has made a good recovery.
“We celebrated his 18th birthday in October and he passed his driving test at the first attempt earlier this month.”