Chloe was “off” before I took her to kindy on the Thursday morning. She was very lethargic and her appetite was decreased. She went to kindy and when I went to pick her up at 11:30 am she was playing with a cat in the grassed area. Her teacher mentioned that she had complained of a headache that morning. As soon as Chloe saw me she clung to me and said her headache was really bad. I put her in the car and she vomited. She then started to thrash and kick her feet saying her head was very bad. On the way home she fell asleep, I put her straight to bed. She vomited on waking at 12:30, 1:30 and 2pm. I rang Health Direct whose assessment said to get Chloe seen by a doctor immediately.
I took Chloe to the doctor and we spent a long time with the doctor. The doctor suspected a number of things including, food poisoning, and a bladder infection. Chloe vomited a number of times whilst we were at the doctors. The doctor decided we should take her to the hospital and gave us a letter for the hospital staff.
The doctors at the hospital thought Chloe might have gastro but I felt that it was much more serious. The doctor was going to discharge us, however Chloe vomited again and they decided to keep her for further observation. The medical staff decided to insert a nasogastric tube to try and keep Chloe hydrated. She was still running a high fever of 40C and despite having a nasogastric tube kept vomiting up every ml she received, via the tube. I was becoming extremely worried as Chloe was getting dehydrated and despite Panadol her fever remained high. Chloe was listless, moaning and dehydrated and still complaining profusely about the headaches.
Finally after a huge projectile vomit I became very concerned and insisted something more was done. Thankfully another doctor, who was lovely and very concerned about Chloe, saw us. She ordered a range of tests including blood cultures and a lumbar puncture. Chloe was finally diagnosed with meningitis 21hrs after she first vomited, at 8am Friday morning. The results of the lumbar puncture indicated it was meningitis. She was treated with intravenous antibiotics, as the doctors were concerned that she had bacterial meningitis.
Following treatment she began to look a lot better. She slept soundly Friday night and the vomiting finally stopped. Saturday morning she woke up bright as a button! Ate a full breakfast and kept it all down, although she still had a headache. She was kept in hospital for a week and got better every day. The headache was gone by Sunday. I feel blessed because I stuck with my feeling that all was not well and insisted that my daughter was seen again.
Chloes spinal fluid tested positive for Rotavirus and she was diagnosed with viral meningitis. She made a full recovery and has had hearing tests, all of which have been fine. Chloes paediatrician said that Chloe’s immunity would be low and that she might pick up every bug that was going around when she went home. Chloe did suffer tonsillitis three times and also had conjunctivitis and it took her about five months to return to good health.
When Chloe was seen by the doctors in the early stages of the disease she was checked many times for neck stiffness, which she did not have. She only showed signs of neck stiffness, much later in the course of the infection. I think it is important to point out that the symptoms of meningitis do not all occur and dont always occur at the same time. I later discovered that neck stiffness is not always present in young children with meningitis. Parents also know their children better than anyone and a mothers instincts are an amazing thing and I am glad that I trusted those instincts and sought medical attention for Chloe.