Right. When I was 12 I had meningitis. I don't really know the full details, there's a lot they don't tell you, even at that age. As far as I understand it, I had Pneumococcal Meningitis, which is the variant that's immunised against with the PCV vaccine. If that vaccine had been available or generally administered 30-odd years ago, I wouldn't need to be writing this post now.
I'm here. I'm a survivor, ok? I have severe hearing loss in both ears, with no indication of the long-term outcomes, whether it'll stay the same or not. I don't know what tomorrow will bring any more than any of us do, but I know that it'll never get better, the nerves are permanently damaged and it's not the sort of problem that can be treated with surgery. (NB, the level of hearing loss edited on 6/8/13 as I asked the audiologist for the official level)
That's kind of why I didn't try to go to CyberMummy. I'm not good at crowds, I'm not good at having conversations in loud rooms, or working out different accents. I worry that people will think I don't like them, or that I'm being rude because I'm being quiet & not joining in. I worry that I'll get something wrong because I misheard and people will think I'm stupid. I worry all the damn time about something or other.
Having Squeaky gave me a whole new set of worries. Would something be passed on to her? (how, I don't know, it's like a scar, and I didn't pass on the scars of 2 broken ankles!) Would being pregnant somehow do more damage to me? Would I be able to hear her crying? Will I be able to understand her when she starts to talk? I still don't know the answer to that last one.
I could have got more help than I have. But that would have involved talking to social services. And that's not something I'm prepared to do. I'll have stopped needing any particular bit of help by the time anything arrives, and I really REALLY don't want them in my life if I don't have to. If I didn't have SqueakyDaddy, yes I would probably have to suck it up & accept that it's necessary, but as he's here, they're not. And that's the way it's staying.
So what am I saying with this post? Apart from that I'm pro-vaccination? Meningitis kills. Even when it doesn't, it still turns lives upside down. Know the signs.
Babies & toddlers Children
Fever, Cold Hands & Feet Fever, Cold Hands & Feet
Refusing food, Vomiting Vomiting
Fretful, Dislike handling Drowsy, difficult to wake
Drowsy, floppy, unresponsive Confusion & irritability
Rapid breathing Severe muscle pain
Tense, bulging fontanelle (soft spot) Severe headache
Stiff neck Stiff neck
Dislike bright lights Dislike bright lights
Rash that doesn't go away when Rash that doesn't go away when
pressed with a glass pressed with a glass
Not everyone has all the symptoms, and they can show up in any order. If you suspect meningitis, phone your GP or NHS Direct or go to your nearest A&E. Please.
- Babies, toddlers and young children under five are an at risk group for meningitis, with over 50% of all cases occurring in this age group.
- With 2,500 cases of bacterial meningitis reported in the UK every year, more than three babies, toddlers or young children will be taken ill with meningitis every day.
- Meningitis kills more children under the age of five than any other infectious disease in the UK.
- Meningitis is the disease parents fear the most.
Why are babies and children at risk?
- Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to meningitis as they cannot easily fight infection because their immune system is not yet fully developed.
- Babies and toddlers can’t tell you how they are feeling and they can get a lot worse very quickly. Keep checking them
For more information visit Meningitis Trust
I have not been asked to write this post, or been offered any incentive to do so. It is simply a topic that is close to my heart, for obvious reasons