Mum’s perspective on pneumococcal

Roger complained of a headache one night at about 8.00pm as he was on his way to bed. I tucked him into bed and told him I would check on him later. When it was time to check him, he had fallen asleep and I decided against waking him. Later that night at about midnight, Roger woke complaining of an intense headache and started to vomit. My husband rang our local hospital who advised us to bring him in, as Roger had bumped heads with his younger brother during the day and we were worried he had concussion.

At the hospital Roger's neck seemed stiff; he still had a severe headache and vomited whilst we were being seen. His temperature was also rising. Roger spent about 2-3 hours at the hospital and was sent home as the doctors thought he may just have the flu or a virus. Knowing he wasn't quite right my husband bought him home anyway as the doctors said it was okay. This was approximately 2.30-3.00am.

Roger came home but was unable to walk. We put him in our bed so we could keep an eye on him. I awoke at 5.45am to a banging noise and my husband was trying to wake Roger. The banging noise was Roger banging his arm on the bed. He was also mumbling some words over and over that were not really words. We just couldn't wake Roger and decided to take him to the local hospital, where we arrived at about 6.00am.

At the hospital Roger had CT scans which were fine and blood tests. At this stage Roger was delirious and had a look in his eyes I will never forget. It was a look of someone who was not there. His pupils were huge and his eyes were open but there was a blank look on his face. Roger was transferred to the children's hospital where he was diagnosed with meningitis. He was put on a variety of antibiotics as the type of meningitis was not yet identified, as the blood cultures take some time to grow.

Roger was in intensive care for 4 days with pneumococcal meningitis and a further 10 days on the ward. It was very distressing for us as parents whilst Roger was in ICU.

Roger spent a total of 14 days in hospital. We are told we were lucky to have got him to the hospital in time. While in hospital it took Roger around 5-6 days to start to walk, his brain was so swollen it squashed all his nerves. Every time he opened his eyes, he told us he felt sick and felt like he was in an elevator!

Roger was still waking up and would have blurred vision for about 1-2 hours in the morning for the first two months after he left hospital. He is starting to get his colour back, is feeling stronger and is getting less tired as time goes by. His vision has improved, it is no longer blurred. Roger was so excited the morning he woke and told us his vision was not blurred any more.

I feel that parents should be made more aware of vaccinations against other forms of meningitis, not just the meningococcal C vaccine.