Approximately 14 years ago, one of my grandchildren became ill. Caitlin was lethargic, complaining that her “head hurt” and also vomiting. As she was only 3 years old, my daughter-in-law, Tracey, phoned the local Medical centre, only to be told that there was,
“…a virus going round…”
And that Caitlin had probably caught it.
” Keep her warm and give her lots of fluid”
was the advice ……..
Caitlin rapidly became worse and so Tracey phoned again and requested a home visit; describing in detail all the symptoms. When the GP eventually arrived he barely examined Caitlin and, rather brusquely, said it was,
“Just a virus …nothing to worry about….”
My son was at work so Tracey was on her own with Caitlin and Natasha….who was just a baby and no transport …… so she had to trust the doctor’s diagnosis; even though it was becoming obvious that Caitlin was quite poorly.
The GP was called again ….in fact he made TWO more visits and each time he, more or less, intimated that Tracey was wasting his time ….even though, by then, Tracey was suspecting meningitis as a rash was beginning to appear on Caitlin’s body.
After a frantic phone call, my son, Chris, arrived home….. took one look and rushed the almost comatose child to Goole A&E.
It was, indeed, meningitis and the, by now, seriously ill little girl was rushed, by ambulance, at high speed with police escort, to Scunthorpe Hospital.
We all feared the worse and rightly so. The doctors were not very hopeful. The little 3 year old’s body was covered in deep red blotches….huge 4 and 5 centimetre welts. And, of course, these were only the VISIBLE patches. Every organ in the body would also be covered in the deadly red marks. Every organ was rapidly being attacked by the virus. The blood was carrying ‘poison’ to every inch of the tiny victim.
The image of my darling granddaughter, as she lay, day after day, in the intensive care unit…….. wires and tubes attached to her fragile arms and chest ….will stay with me forever.
Hour after hour, antibiotics were pumped into that tiny mite. And hour after hour, we huddled together ….too afraid to voice our fears. Almost as though even thinking the worse, would make it come true.
I can still remember the look on her weary face.
The tangle of her beautiful long hair …..she was far too ill for anyone to brush it.
The weak little voice as she murmured, “Hold my hand, Grandma”
I’m crying as I type this ….the memories are so vivid.
I remember the cries of pain as the nurses tried to find a vein that had not collapsed …..a vein that would support yet another needle …..another dose of antibiotics …..
I remember the helplessness we felt and the struggle to try to get her to drink some water ….her tiny lips were cracked and dry. And the wishes I made that I could be lying there instead of her.
Day after day; night after night; Tracey stayed by her side, while Chris and I looked after Natasha and tried to carry on with work and life…..and travelled back and forth along the M62 to visit, every spare second we had.
Then, one day ……a glimmer ….a light in the darkness.
When I visited, Caitlin was sitting up ….propped up with pillows to support the ravaged little body, she was still very weak, but a little better. The doctors were cautiously optimistic …..the worst was over. We were too afraid to rejoice, but hope entered our hearts.
We owe such a lot to those dedicated nurses and doctors, they never gave up …..And to Caitlin herself, the courageous little girl, who fought so hard and won.
Caitlin is now a beautiful 17 year old young lady ……………
And though she still bears a couple of almost invisible scars on her legs, she has made a complete recovery. She was lucky. We were all lucky. And so infinitely thankful.
But so many are not so fortunate.
If a doctor can’t even recognise the glaring evidence before him …..When such obvious symptoms are passed off as “ Just a virus” …….What chance do poor parents have ?
And meningitis is so deadly, even when recognised and caught immediately.
So many children die ….or lose limbs.
So many families are torn apart by tragedy.
However, there is now a vaccination. A miracle that could prevent all the suffering, pain and heartache. If given to all children under 11 years old, it could help to eliminate this dreadful disease.
“ How wonderful”, I hear you say ….. “ Let’s do this immediately, without delay” …we shout …….
Well ….. this government, in its wisdom, says that it would cost £75 per child to administer this life-saving vaccine. And they think that the cost is too much …not a viable proposition !
NOT FLIPPING VIABLE ?
What the hell …………………..
We spend millions on all sorts of ridiculous things. Send billions abroad. Help the whole world. …….
All very worthy things and I am NOT for one minute suggesting that we stop such aid. But …… could we, perhaps, spend a LITTLE LESS on others and protect our own youth ?
MENINGITIS KILLS AND MAIMS ………….
……Its that simple …….
We have the solution in our hands …..it would be criminal not to use it !
Please write to your MP …… The government must be forced to think again ……don’t you think ?