Parent of Josh, meningococcal disease survivor | Iowa

I’m a mom to 16 year old Eric, who was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis on March 20,2008. All the symptoms he was showing were the same as the FLU. On the night of March 19th he complained of a Headache and the chills. My husband gave him some Ibuprofen and told him to get some rest.

The next morning he was still complaining of a headache, so we decided he should stay home from school. We did all we could to relieve the pain and I decided to call Ask-A-Nurse, she stated that without seeing him she could not really tell what was wrong, it could be the flu but he should come in to be seen. After I hung up he started vomiting and had the diarrhea, the vomit was the brightest flourescent green that I have ever seen. Eric said he wanted to lie down for a while and we would talk about taking him later if he still felt bad.

Well about 1 hour later I was checking symptoms on WEBMD and I heard a thump and some noises. I got up to see what was going on and Eric was stumbling to me and it was obvious to me that he had no clue what was going on. He was not able to see or hear me and when I touched him he would scream an ear piercing scream, that is when I called 911. The dispatcher was unable to hear me above the screams, I tried to talk to her and tell her what was wrong, but she knew I needed help immediately. I got Eric to the Loveseat and that is when he went unconscious. I tried rubbing his chest and feet but no response, by then the ambulance crew were there and started oxygen and tried to get him to respond. We started off to the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin a 40-45 minute drive. He was unconscious the whole ride until we got a few blocks from the E.R., and then he started screaming and kicking and he was uncontrollable.

They had security guards waiting for us to help hold him down from hurting himself or anyone else, He was only 140 LBS, but it took 7-8 Men to hold him down. In the E.R. they did a Spinal Tap and Cat Scan and that was when we got the news. Eric had Bacterial Meningitis and the prognosis was not good. They immediately started him on several different antibiotics and sent him to P.I.C.U., and we were told he probably would not make it through the night, because they stated that he was gravely ill. Well, he fought any and everything they tried to do — insertion of a breathing tube would was recommended, but he fought until we were all tired and the doctors said we will wait and put one in if needed. Well, it was a long night; he had several students stop by just to give us support and pray. My husband and I went to rest around 1a.m. and got up at 3a.m. to check and he was still out. At 3:50a.m. the nurse came in and said he was awake and we took off running. He was very groggy, but he was alive and talking.

All the praying and crying gave our boy back to us. The Doctors were so impressed by the rapid response, they had never seen someone come out of it so fast. They stated that they had never seen someone get sick so hard and fast and also come out of it so quickly, that we truly believe he is a MIRACLE. By the end of the day they moved him into his own room on regular floor, where he stayed for a week on I.V. antibiotics. He has made a full recovery, and has returned to school, driving and sports[his life]. We are so grateful for the quick action taken by the Medical Staff in finding what was trying to basically kill my 16 year old son. We will forever be grateful to them and all the Staff who took care of him. Please have your children vaccinated for Meningitis. I have 6 children and would not want anyone to go through what we had to go through.

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