Tag Archives: Health

A Brush with Meningitis

When Destructo-Girl was 5 weeks old, she had a slight fever. Just a little over 38C and if she’d been over 2 months old I’d have just given her a bit of Calpol. But she wasn’t, and I didn’t like to break the rules with a teeny baby so I phoned the out of hours GP service.

They asked if there looked like there was any reason for the fever, for which I said no, there wasn’t. How long? About four or five hours (I wasn’t even sure if I was wasting their time at this point because the high temperature was low really…) They said to come in so they could look at her, but with no obvious sign there was probably nothing they could do.

I misunderstood that, I thought they meant that she was fine and we’d be sent home again. But, no, we were sent off to A&E with a letter to get us seen by the paediatricians straight away. I was still thinking that it was just so a specialist could prescribe Calpol!

Fortunately, I have lovely in-laws so not only was my mother-in-law at our house with a sleeping MG, but father-in-law was driving me, DH and baby DG around (it was a Friday night and not only could I not drive but DH had drunk a pint or two after work so was over the limit.)

We were seen immediately and they took her temperature, kept pressing on her skin, tried to get a urine sample to test for infection (5 week olds don’t wee on demand!), and even as they were taking a lumber puncture (a needle in the spine of my teeny 5 week old :cry:) I still thought we were going to be sent home…

It was at the point where we were taken to a ward in the Children’s Hospital that I asked “Is she being admitted?” It all seemed to happen so quickly that I was being dense, I didn’t even twig when they kept putting pressure on her skin to check for the rash. It was about 1am at this point and DH was told to go home with FIL while I stayed with DG. At some point the word meningitis was mentioned, but I didn’t even realise it was serious until I looked it up.

We were lucky. DG had a type of viral meningitis. In fact, she didn’t need any of the antibiotics or antivirals that she was pumped with for 5 days; or to be used as a pin-cushion as her tiny veins failed on five ocassions and it took an hour of trying and re-trying each time to get a new canula in. On the fourth attempt I couldn’t bear to watch any more, but as I sat in the ward I could still hear the screams so I had to go to her and hold her again. I shouldn’t have left her at all 😦

A break between drugs. My teeny pin-cushion (canula had been on arms then feet...)

But I cannot regret a moment of how she was treated because until the detailed results of the lumbar puncture came back (which is what took 5 days) the type of meningitis was unknown and if it had been bacterial and untreated she could have had severe brain damage or died.

We were lucky. DG probably would have been fine even if we hadn’t gone to the doctor, although she did need something to take the fever down. But I learnt something that new parents don’t seem to be told. Newborn babies (under 8-12 weeks) should never have a fever. If they do, take them straight to a GP.

For decent advice about meningitis, go to the Meningitis Trust website. My family’s brush with meningitis was fortunately minor but that isn’t always the case and I now tell all of my new-parent-to-be friends to be alert for fever in newborns. Destructo-Girl had no other symptoms, but she still had meningitis. Please pass the word to all parents of newborns you know too. Thank-you.

New Year 2012

This blog was supposed to be my memories of the good things done with my girls, but for the past few months I could just refer you to CBeebies/CBBC listings for what we’ve actually done together, and I don’t want to write about the difficult things – they’re nothing new in the world of parenting and I have nothing to add to the subject 😆

So this blog will be about things that me and my girls do together, but it’s also my headspace to rant and to share and to grow.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Any time I’ve ever made a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve failed it miserably. I gave up with them in the late 90’s:
1996: Resolve: to turn my work around and pass degree; to not live with parents. Result: Failed degree; moved back to parent’s home from student house.
1997: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1998: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1999: No Resolutions. Moved out of parental home by April.

However I need to make some BIG changes to my life, so here are my non-resolutions for 2012:

Health: I have always been overweight. Festively plump? I don’t think so. Apparently there is a category over morbidly obese, and I’ve just entered it 😦 I want to start swimming again, but maybe I should wait until all the New Year’s Resolution people have stopped clogging up the swimming pool and I can swim in peace and quiet. Fortunately the local ‘leisure centre’ has a creche. Not to mention mental health, but that’s a whole other story (as the monkey says in Tinga Tinga Tales :lol:)

Me, aged about one

Driving: My NINTH driving test is on 1st February. One of my sucesses for 2011 was failing the 8th test merely due to not keeping to speed limits. On three ocassions. I have been ‘learning to drive’ since 2002, but after the seventh failure I stopped lessons between October 2004 & July 2010. I will, will, will, WILL pass this year. Preferably before my provisional licence runs out in August…

Writing: I used to write when I was younger. It’s a very long time since I did. From about age 14 to age 22 I wrote so much, and being a hoarder I still have notebooks of snippets and ideas and plans of family trees (I read a lot of fantasy, creating the world was more fun than writing the books :lol:) in a box somewhere. The last thing I wrote was Buffy fanfic 10 or 11 years ago. Oh dear… Blogging is a good start to practising the words again. I also need to read much more, I used to read avidly, now I barely get through 5 books in a year 😦

It's amazing what you can still find online...

Parenting: This belongs at the top of the list, but I’m avoiding it. I’m not the parent I want to be. I don’t think anyone is. I don’t want to be super-parent, doing fun and creative things all day and providing a perfect house, being a wonderful wife and so forth – that’s never going to happen! But I want to be true to my ideals as much as possible: child-led, respectful, uncontrolling, living in an ordered environment.

Clutter: I have always been a hoarder. I married a hoarder. We have stuff. Things, possessions, belongings, objects, STUFF. Everywhere. I am queen of putting things in boxes. Put it in a box, sort it out later. Get 5 boxes down to 3, then get more clutter to sort out making 7 boxes and repeat… Paperwork, artwork (children’s), toys, books… I am too overwhelmed by the mess to know where to start. Did I mention living in an ordered environment?

A teeny selection of the clutter, looking quite tidy comparatively 😆

That’s probably more than enough non-resolution areas for a year. See you on the other side?!