Ok, here goes. Many of you already know, and have shown your support in many ways already, but i have decided now that we are "over the hump", so to speak, to share our experience so far. Also, it is being broadcast on all local news updates on both the south coast, ACT, and Tablelands region television networks...making it hard for me to get half an hours clear thought :? On Saturday afternoon, my 7 week old boy was rushed to Canberra Hospital, from Batemans Bay Hospital with a suspected case of Meningococcal Meningitis. First of all, full credit to the staff at our dreadfully understaffed local hospital, and also the guys up there at C.H. for their tireless work, and efforts, to preserve the life of my child so far. I owe them lots. Lil' Dougie had a very restless sleep on SFriday night, and wasnt feeding as much, or as successfully as he normally would. He was also very grizly, not wanting to be moved or picked up, as it seemed to cause him pain. After he was picked up and cuddled, he would settle and become very lethargic - but apparently comfortable. We monitored his temperature, and he was showing 37.8-38.6 fairly consistently which as learned parents would know, is not quite enough to get the alarm bells ringing (I have and 8y.o. and 5 y.o. so we've already done the "run them to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle" thing. this time around, we were going to be self sufficient, and try not to burden our already stretched health system) but there was something about his behaviour that had us on edge. We evaluated him at around 10am, he looked a bit tired, but not overly unwell, and as i had just returned from a week in hospital myself (tonsilitis), it was decided that he would go with rox to town to a kids party held at one of those kidzone-type places. Hindsight Mistake. Rox brought him home at about 1pm, and as soon as i saw him, i knew something was drastically wrong. His skin had become very grey in appearance, and his fontanel (the soft spot in a babies head) was quite sunken. Much like someone had thumb-printed his head and left a depression there. he was no longer restless, but had a constant feint guttural cry that only intensified if he was moved. He was also no longer feeding at all without vomitting, and his lips were a purplish colour. I am a senior first aider, and the first thing that came to my mind was that he was dehydrated. Dehydration in babies is very dangerous on its own, a child can die simpply from this, due to organ failure in a very short time. so armed with this knowledge, rox took off to the bay whilst i stayed home to keep an eye on the big kids. An hour or so passed, and i get a phonecall. It is rox, in tears "we are about to head off to canberra hospital, he is severely dehydrated and they cannot get a canula (sp?) in to hydrate him. it is a job for a specialist pediatrician. I reassure her, that he is in the best place, and things will be O.K. and so off they go. Lots of txt's flying back and forth with updates, 3:30pm the paramedics have managed to get the drip in (yay) and they are still on their way to the big smoke. As he starts to recieve fluids, he becomes a little more comfortable, but his alertness is not returning as we (me & rox) had expected. At this point, it is dawning on me whats happening, rox is too lost in emotion to even care to troubleshoot, they arent telling us much either, as they dont want a frantic mother, in a confined space, with a very sick child. They also dont really know anything for sure, so it is probably the right thing to do, not to speculate. They arrive in casualty in canberra around 6ish and he is rushed in to an isolated room and receives immediate attention. they give him precautionary antibiotics, glucose/dextrose in his IV, and hook him up to a myriad of beeping and measuring type machines. He then has blood taken to culture, and has spinal fluid removed via spinal tap for testing. As all this comes through to me, via txt, i just know. somewhere between 9 and ten it is confirmed, he has Meningococcal Meningitis. My wife is afraid and a mess (as was I) so I arranged for some of my family (we have a base in canberra) to ensure she is getting support whilst i wait helplessly at home not wanting to uproot my now sleeping children when there is nothing we can do, and we cant get in to the quarantined area anyway. They then know it is deadly serious, and begin the barrage of aggressive antibiotics to start smashing the bacteria (yes, it is the bacterial type) that is destroying my poor boy. By sunday arvo, he is declared critical, but stable, which is comforting but not at the same time....if you get what i mean? Continuous antibiotics sees lil' dougie declared "No longer Contagious" by this morning and today he opened his eyes for the first time in 2 days. he even cracked half a smile between grizzles, as was MMS'd to me realtime. But what about the rash?? i hear you ask. We have been incredibly lucky. because we took him when we did, due to signs of dehydration, the bacteria wasnt able to get a strong enough hold to cause the septicemia that causes the rash, and basically, when you have the rash....your odds arent good. The doctors estimate delaying the IV AB's by another hour or so would have been enough to encourage the onset of the septicemia. so very lucky. He still has a few hurdles to jump yet, meningitis basically squeezes the bejeezus out of the protective sac around your spine and brain and can cause all kinds of lasting illnesses, but the outlook for dougie is good. Not only that, his temp is still fluctuating, and he WILL be hospitalized at least until saturday but more realistically the following saturday. I've never been so frightened in my life, and hope that nobody else has to experience this. they reckon most people will get through life without knowing someone who contracts the deadly disease, i hope that this is the only one any of you have to ever really feel remotely close to. I hope the other young children (there are a couple other outbreaks currently happening) in the Hunter Valley, and South Australia have as much luck and sterling service as we have had, because they will need it. If you have experienced this before, please share. I am only really learning about this as each day goes by, and please help by thinking positive for my little boy note - sorry it was long, and if there are random letters missing, its because my keyboard drank my rum, making some keys unreliable. edit - i was just showing rox through the thread and realised that i had confused friday night, with sunday night. meh,, they are all a blur now.