Thankfully, Travis pulled through, but the disease has left the now 5-year-old with development issues. Natalie, from Southsea in Hampshire, tells their story here.
“On 15 April 2015, my 2-year-old son Travis and I went to my mother's. He was fine all morning but in the afternoon he was sick. I took him home and he was sick again, although he still seemed his normal self. So, I just thought maybe he was coming down with a 24-hour bug."
“He went to bed as normal but the following morning I woke up to him crying. I went to his bedroom and he had been sick again. I cleaned the sick up and took him into the living room to take off his pyjamas. I notice that he had what I thought was a blood blister on his chest. He had a onesie on and he loved to zip it up and down."Go back to sleep
“All he wanted to do was go back to sleep. I got him ready and took him to my mother’s. After losing my oldest son, I had to have the reassurance from my mum that Travis was going to be okay. I told her that he just wanted to sleep and he had what looked like a blood blister, but he didn't have a temperature."
“My mum said that I should put him in the bath to see if a rash appeared. My brother had meningitis when he was a baby, so she said if any more purple marks came out then it’s more than likely meningitis. We put him in there but nothing else came up."
“He still wasn't with it when we bathed him. I took him down to get him dried and he seemed to perk up a bit. He ate a little something and I took him home. Within an hour of being home he just wanted to sleep again. He would wake if I tried to wake him, but he would soon sleep again. He was usually like this when he was poorly anyway."Hands and feet cold
“I then noticed his hands and feet were cold. I rang 111 and explained everything. They said I had to wait four hours for a phone call. I told them I wasn't waiting that long. When I put the phone down to 111 I was about to ring an ambulance, as I started to panic, when someone from 111 rang me and told me to ring an ambulance and tell them 111 thought my son had meningitis. He said he didn’t understand why the lady told me to wait four hours for someone to ring."
“I rang 999 and they sent an ambulance straight away. When the paramedics arrived they checked Travis over and noticed just in the time since they had got there that he had more purple marks. That's when I realised that what I thought was a blood blister was the start of the purple rash."
“We got to Portsmouth Hospital and I carried Travis on to the children's ward. A nurse followed behind me as I laid Travis on the bed. She took one look at him and said, "I'll be back in a second". She came back, picked him up, looked me in the eyes and said, "Run with me"."Doctors waiting for us
“We ran into another room where 10 doctors were waiting for us. They put him on fluids and started him on antibiotics. After 10 minutes Travis started to be more like himself again. He was up and laughing with the doctors. Travis could talk but only slightly and they were having a little chat. I went outside the room to get my mum as she had just arrived. When I did Travis took a massive turn for the worse."
“A doctor told me to wait outside and that she would come and explain everything to me in a minute. She came out and explained that Travis started struggling to breathe and that his lungs were filling up with fluid. She said he needed to go on a ventilator and that he was going to be taken to a different hospital. I went in to Travis and gave him a big kiss, told him mummy loved him and that his big brother was watching over him."
“I then waited outside for four hours. They came out and told me I can go and see him. I went in and he didn't look like my baby. He was swollen, covered in marks with tubes everywhere. We got rushed off to Southampton Hospital and taken to the intensive care unit. I had to wait 20 minutes so they could sort everything out. I then went to get my mum as she drove there separately."All came flooding out
“When I came back up and went to see him everything I had held in came flooding out and I just couldn't control it any more. The doctor came over and said they had sent Travis's blood to be looked at and see if it definitely is meningitis but, in the meantime, they were treating it as if it were."
“She told us that Travis would be lucky to pull through these 48 hours and if we had waited the four hours he wouldn't be here now. I prayed and prayed he would be okay. I sat by his bedside till 4 in the morning or until a doctor told me to go and get some sleep."
“Travis pulled through the 48 hours. He was in intensive care for just over a week and then went back to Portsmouth Hospital, where he stayed for a further two weeks. When we arrived back at Portsmouth Hospital all the doctors who had worked on Travis came in to see him. They said they didn't think he was going to make it and that they had rung Southampton Hospital every day to see how he was. When they were told he was coming back and that he was over the worst they were so happy and excited to see him."Start again with everything
“Travis had to start again with everything. He had to learn to walk, talk and drink out of a bottle."
“Because of the meningitis Travis now has a developmental disorder. He is now 5 and although he likes what most 5-year-olds like to do, his speech is behind for his age and will only get better ever so slightly. He doesn't walk how he used to and has problems with his knees. His learning at school isn't that of a 5-year-old, although he has just learnt to spell his name (even if he does miss the a). He gets poorly very easily too."
“Travis has come such a long way and I know that these next years of his life are going to be hard, but we have got this far as a family and will continue to move forward. Travis doesn't seem to remember anything, but I'm even more scared than before now whenever he becomes poorly.”