Our Big Scare

When Israel was about 6 months old, I started to get worried about him. He had been sick for about 4 or 5 weeks with a cold that he couldn't shake. We took him into the doctor on numerous occasions to be told, he was fine, just give him some panadol etc.... We had a call from his day care on the Friday afternoon saying he had a high temperature. We went in to pick him up and called the Doctor. The nurse we were put thru to said we didn't need to bring him in, even though his temperature was 38.8 degrees. The next day we kept an eye on him but late in the afternoon his temperature fluctuated to 39.3, we called the Healthline and asked what we should do. We live about an hours drive from an after hours doctor, so thought the healthline would know if it was serious, they called us back about an hour later and said if we wanted to we should take him to the doctors, but babies get temperatures all the time and it was probably nothing to worry about and just to give him some panadol. I just had a really bad feeling so decided take him into the doctor, she confirmed it was a high temperature but probably just a viral infection.
The next night Israel got worse, we called the doctor again and said he was lethargic and unresponsive, we were told to come straight in....on the way to the doctors Israel seemed to perk up and we felt foolish for driving all that way at night....when we got to the after hours doctor she checked his temperature and he was up to 40.6 - she sent us straight to the hospital.
We were sent to the children's acute admissions and spent 2 -3 hours there, Israel was much more alert that he had been but had been vomiting severely since we arrived at the hospital. The doctors suspected it as a gastro bug but wanted to make sure...a couple of hours later a senior doctor came in and she told us that although he didn't have the rash, they wanted to treat him for meningococcal B. Petrified, we hugged our poor wee man as they took blood samples. We were admitted to the hospital but only one of us was allowed to stay. My partner, Nathan decided to drive home to get some clothes etc. for us to stay in hospital and would come back in the morning.
At around 1am another doctor came in to see us and said they wanted to do  lumbar puncture, they were going to put a needle into his spine and take a sample of his spinal fluid to check if he did in fact have meningitis. An hour later, when I had finally just drifted off to sleep, doctors and nurses all came flying into the room, it was meningitis - they hooked him up to to all sorts of machines, all sorted of medications and then they left.
I sat alone in the middle of the night, in a hospital not knowing what to do - there was no way I could sleep. I went to ring my partner to tell him what was happening, the phone cut out half way through the conversation and I wasn't able to get a hold of him again. I went back into our room and stared at my tiny wee man, lying helpless in his cot. Shortly after, the door to our room can flying open and in came Nathan, Israel's dad. He hadn't been able to hear what I had said on our phone call and couldn't sleep thinking about what might be happening.
We didn't see any more doctors that morning until around 10am. We had been told it was highly contagious and that a public health nurse would be in touch. All I could think of was all the kids at Israel's day care but we were given strict instructions not to call them.
We had called both our families first thing in the morning, Nathan's family were at the hospital by 6am and my mum was driving up from Dunedin.
When the Paediatric Consultant came in to see us, she said she had something to tell us. She advised that they had made a mistake with the diagnosis and it wasn't in fact Mens was a more severe type of meningitis - Pneumoccocal Meningitis. We all had to contain ourselves while she finished explaining all the on-going complications that Israel could have, hearing loss, seizures, learning difficulties. As soon as she left the room we all took one look at each other and burst into tears - sobbing and hugging our precious wee boy.
The first couple of days were past in a blur, no sleep, sporadic outburst of tears, tests, hourly checks & medication. By day 3 Israel was doing a lot better, we just wanted to see him smile. We thought things were looking on the up and were told the doctors wanted to do a CAT scan on him. We were a bit nervous about this as they had to put him under a general anaesthetic - when the time came to take Israel up to get the scan, we were told there was a delay. All of a sudden his hand began to shake uncontrollably, this spread up his arm and his whole left side - he has having a seizure. I don't think as a parent you could see anything worse than your baby having a fit, nurses all around him trying to administer medication to him. The seizure continued for more than 45 minutes - the only way they were able to stop it was to put him under the general anaesthetic they had planned. I could hardly hold myself together as I put his shaking body on to the massive theatre table - we were asked it was wanted to stay but it was too hard.
I was physically sick thinking about what was happening and what could happen, I was going out of my mind.
When they finally called us into the recovery room, Nathan and I rushed in and found our little man in the arms of one of the recovery nurses, he was handed to me and we were told he was fine. To them it was just another general anaesthetic, to us it was the worst experience either of us had ever been through. It took a while for him to wake up, longer than they expected and there were moments where I would be watching him and he would stop breathing for about 20 seconds at a time. We were transferred to the Paediatric HDU and stayed in there for the next few days. We had been so relaxed with him, thinking he was not so bad, picking him up, carrying him around and after his seizure we were scared if we played with him too much we would have more.
After a few days we were transferred back to the ward and settled into the notion we would be here for at least 2 weeks. Israel suffered a few small focal seizures in that time but nothing like the first seizure he had. He was given a stronger dose of anticonvulsants and on the 14th day in hospital we were allowed to take our boy home. I was very nervous, having been under constant care for 2 weeks, to be taking him all the way home - we were so far from the hospital and we had been told he would like have more seizures.
We did go home and miraculously Israel hasn't had any more seizures - it has been 3 months since we left the hospital and he is doing so much better. He has unfortunately caught every bug known to man in this time - I guess with what his wee body has been through it is not surprising he has a weakened immune system.
Israel is back at daycare, enjoying himself and being a normal 9 month old. He has the most wonderful sense of humour and a smile you can't resist.
There was no significant reason, other than we liked his name, the he was called Israel. We were to find out later that Israel means "wrestled with God" and he has definitely done that is his short life.



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