Around September 18, 2002 our son Erik who was at the time 6 1/2 years old, came down with what we thought was a cold. His symptoms included a slight fever at first, he was sleepy and wasn’t hungry at all. I assumed the smallest thing was wrong with him, and kept him in bed for two days. On the third day, September 19th, I got him out of bed and brought him in the living room with his brother & sister in hopes that he would want to play a little bit, but I was so very wrong!
When I picked him up, he felt extremely hot to me, so I took his temp under his tongue which had read 105* so I ripped his shirt off hoping it would cool him off a bit, and that is when I noticed the rash…. a terrible one at that! It looked like he had blood blisters under his skin, all over his body, and not knowing much about medical stuff, I knew that a high fever & a rash together was not a good thing.
My husband said to take him to children’s hospital and have him checked out, so that is exactly what I did. He was quiet the entire ride to the hospital, and I kept asking him if he was okay, and all I got back from him was a slight nod of yes. We got to the ER and I put him in my daughter’s stroller because he said his legs didn’t work, and he could not walk. He had complained at home that his legs hurt, but I thought it was nothing, since you get body aches along with the flu.
There were 5 people in line in front of us, and about 30 people in the waiting room, so we get to the nurse’s desk to register him in, and once I explain all of his symptoms and she sees his rash, she tells me in a very nervous voice “Mam, bring your son back here now! Follow me!” So I’m thinking “Oh great, we get to go before anyone else! Now we can get out of here faster!” I again, was so wrong! A few nurses checked him out, and I hear them all whispering as I read him a book. Still not thinking anything too bad, they tell me to bring him to the bed.
I laid him down and asked what was going on, and they basically told me “Just call your family, your husband or whoever else and get them here ASAP!” Right then it hit me…. Erik was very sick…. very sick! So I called my family and husband and they were all there in no time. When my husband arrived they had just started a spinal tap. My son was in so much pain that they didn’t even have to numb him first to do it! He just stared into our eyes, and as much as my husband & I tried not to cry, we did.
The doctors said he most likely had meningitis, but probably the viral one which is not as bad as the bacterial spinal meningitis. So we did have high hopes until the spinal tap came back positive for bacterial spinal meningitis. We were devastated. They told us he had a chance to survive, but he may not make it. A parent never deserves to hear those words about her child! They started his IV and took him to the ICU. Family kept our other 2 kids while we stayed with Erik. He was such a brave boy for us! The family did get gowned to see him in the ICU for 2 or 3 minutes, but then they were asked to leave. We didn’t sleep well that night, and every time an alarm went off, we jumped up and called the nurses! He was moved to a normal room the next day since he was stable. We stayed there for 9 days and it seemed like months! He was on many types of medicines to cure the meningitis, thru his IV. His first meal was pizza after 3 days of not eating anything. Come to find out, our pediatrician told us that he was so sick, that if I had gotten him there 1 hour later, he would be dead! I was so happy to know that we got him there in time, but very disturbed to know what would have happened to my son if not.
We were told that he would have some sort of disability, or loss of his legs etc. but let me tell you Erik is a true miracle! He came out with nothing permanently wrong with him at ALL! He does have scars from the rash on his body, but those scars are so much better than the scars would have been to our heart and family, had we lost him! Erik will celebrate his 8th birthday next month and is happy & healthy. He is in karate and he enjoys it very much! We tell him every day that he is our miracle! I took some classes on how to put him meds thru his IV when we got home, and I did that for a week or so afterwards! My heart aches so much for those who have lost a child through this terrible disease, and I hope that time will heal some of their pain. I thank God every day that he didn’t take my baby away from me. Thanks for letting us share our sons story.