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Meningococcal Meningitis Hits Mogo -> complications.

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by _joel_, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. 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.
  2. Glad you caught it in time - or at least before much worse things came to pass. We had one of our kids nearly die due to dehydration and a fcuktard doctor (I use the term doctor loosely) sending us home telling us were were just "nervous parents."
    There's so many dangers out there its a wonder any kids survive at all, freakin Meningococcal seems to be popping up everywhere.
  3. i dont let them send me/us home. i'll punch bite and kick the doctor when i know something is wrong, and they fob it off. I have anger issues at times :LOL:
    nah, thats why i made sure rox had copies of the pages in the book that i was referring to. if they tried to ignore that, there would be problems.
    after heaps of googling, there are so many times kids have been sent on their way and told to give them water at the dehydration stage, only to turn up dead soon after. C.H. is a training hospital for ANU, and we have permitted them to use info from our self diagnosis in order to better prepare leaflets for parents if it happens to them. to date, the information pretty much starts at the rash stage, they need to do a lot more research on this stuff.
    this time of year is apparently the hot-time for it.
  4. Talk about being put through the ringer!

    That's great news that it was caught in time and there's a positive light at the end of the tunnel.

    God speed for a quick recovery :angel:
  5. I ust read this to my wife and she had tears in her eyes. We had a scare with my daughter, but thank fcuk it wasn't Meningococcal, a couple of years ago.

    Our thoughts are with you and the family, and wish for the speediest of recoveries.

  6. Good to hear that it's turning out OK. Having had a close call with my daughter when she was three, (not the same reason though) and realising afterwards that a delay of just a short time in getting treatment could have been deadly I can fully sympathise. Let's hope he doesn't manage to do anything worse as he grows up.
  7. What an ordeal, not something you ever expect for a newborn! Glad he has turned out more stable now, hopefully all will be well asap!
  8. yep, everyone that had close contact with him within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms has had prophylactic antibiotics, and they make you pee red, the whites of your eyes red, and even turned my sister-in-laws breastmilk pink.
    thats where the "hindsight mistake" comes in. we exponentially amplified the risk of contraction by exposing him to so many kids. but we didnt know.
  9. Having to experience what You and your wife have gone through is one of the most difficult things in parenthood.
    My thoughts are with you both, and I'm so Glad little Dougie is on the way to recovery. I commend you both for the way you have handled this Joel.
  10. Sounds like he's in the best care now Joel

    All the best to Dougie for a speedy recovery - and the parents get some well earned rest
  11. Oh man, those are some shitty phonecalls to have to make :(

    Way worse than the time I went to preschool with chicken pox.
  12. F#$k... You Poor Ba$tard.
    Good to hear you got him sorted in time.
    It's a bugger that you exposed so many before you sorted it, but aint hindsight a wonderfull thing.
  13. Sounds like you had good medical care for your boy, Joel. Hope it goes well from here on.

    Interesting comment about most people not likely to know a victim. I've had FOUR adult friends diagnosed with it in the last five years. Every one of them was told by a doctor that they had no more than the 'flu. Every one of them had to beg and plead to be looked at properly before they were finally diagnosed. All survived, but one lost a leg. I don't know what it's going to take for medical people in this part of the world to take this disease seriously.

    It's far more dangerous with kids, of course. All I can suggest is be determined with your doctors if you even remotely think there's something unusual happening.
  14. Best wishes Joel, to family and the little one. You obviously have a little fighter there!

    Do they know how he would have contracted it in the first place? (in other words, is there a little kid out there who hasn't been diagnosed). And what's the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms.
  15. :shock: :shock:
    that's intense!
    i guess in a sense, with babies, they are probably less likely to send them back home with a bit of keflex and bed rest or similar, because they cant really communicate their symptoms.
    but then there are so many stories on the web...
    unfortunately, there is a great deal of luck involved with the handling of this disease. i feel for the unlucky ones.
  16. Wishing you all the best of luck Joel.
    You're great parents and did the right thing.
    Our hospital system is under the pump, but I know from experience, with babies when the chips are down the staff dig that little bit deeper.
    Bet you're looking forward to having the little fella home again.

    Good luck mate,
    Chris & Shirley.
  17. Damn, poor bugger. Here's hoping for a speedy and full recovery.
  18. thanks cliff (and the rest of you too ;) )
    so, depending on what literature you read (the leaflet from the hospital quoted 20-30% of australians between 5-35 are carriers.
    But the speed at which the bacteria invades and overtakes the body varies so much between different people, they really dont know. the poor mortality rate also makes it hard for them to clinically track.
    when the infection control dude came around, 72 hours was his understanding of the period for which dougie would have been contagious prior to symptoms, but again, there are no hard facts on it.
    As far as who gave it to him, well, infection control got a hold of my blood cultures from the previous tuesday when i was in hospital with tonsilitis and uppon inspection, it was present along with strp, staph and a few other nasties. so when it hit my system, it was dealt with at the tonsils, whereas with dougie, his immune system failed to trigger and let it through.
    it is quite intriguing, really.
    but basically, a scary amount of people are carrying it at any given time, and its just down to chance whether the right (or wrong) person contacts the right person etc. etc.
  19. Thank God they caught it in time... poor little bubby!

    Hope he gets better real soon :)