Meningitis Now
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Child Recovery

My 5 year old daughter was in hospital for a week back on 7th April with VM. 

Since coming home she is having numerous problems such as Headaches, pains in her legs, tiredness, nightmares and really bad mood swings. 

Before the VM she was such a well behaved grown up little girl but since about day 3 in hospital she is having up to 2 violent mood swings a day where she kicks, hits and spits. The episodes last around 10 mins and they vary on the severity. Sometimes we are able to calm her down, some it's a lot harder. Once she snaps out of it she's back to her old self again, happy, bubbly and polite. Her voice and personality can switch to being like a totally differnt person when she has these mood swings and at times its quite scary.

She hasn't fully returned to school yet as I just don't feel she's ready for it and I'm also worried about her being upset (which can happen very easily) and her getting worked up and the teachers not really knowing how to deal with the situation.

Has anyone else got experience of this? 

We are waiting to hear back from her consultant who can hopefully arrange some sort of therapy for her as our GP thinks she may be suffering with PTSD. 

In the meantime I'd be grateful to hear your experiences of VM in young children and how it's affecting them especially with school. Also how have you discussed what to expect from your child after meningitis to the school? I feel at the moment they are trying to control how we want to deal with the situation. I know she needs some routine back to help her get over the struggles that she's having but on the other hand I know my child best and how she is actually coping with it.

1 Reply

Hi Sophie_Chloe

Am so very sorry to hear that your 5yr old daughter has been in hospital with VM.  It must have been a very frightening and difficult experience for her especially as the excutiating headaches and other symptoms will have made it intolerable for her to want all the medical staff administering their treatments, assessments and interventions etc ..... but these things had to be done for your very poorly daughter. It is not unusual for any child regardless of why they have been in hospital to go through a patch of displaying mood problems of being clingy, whining or expressing anger etc etc. However for your daughter although she is recovered enough to be home from hospital her recovery is still continuing.  Unlike flu which takes up to 10 days to recover from, VM is more serious and takes weeks, months or even longer depending on how unwell they were with it. The irritation in her meninges from the VM will not have fully settled yet and the headaches can be ongoing so it is important that you give her regular pain medication such as calpol to keep the headaches to a minimum rather than wait till it has become a bad headache. If she has a headache then like for us all it makes us more miserable, irritable, grumpy and we can become angry over even little things. What you are experiencing is to be expected post VM and gradually things will improve. Yes I think it best that she has a gradual return to school, with the hours that she attends being built up slowly over the next month or so, depending on how she copes with it. Fatigue is likely to be a problem for a while and she will require regular rests/naps during the day which will help her recovery but will also hopefully lessen the mood problems which would be worsened if she is fatigued. 

It is so very hard for us parents to see our children so unwell and I am sure you will have wished it was you rather than her when you were sat at her bedside terrified as to what was happening to her and whether she would recover.  You now need to take each day at a time and I am sure that even in a couple of weeks time when you think back you will acknowledge some progress however small and that will continue. 

I am wondering if you have rung the Meningitis Now helpline - freephone 0808 80 10 388 because they will be able to reassure you and answer your questions and are a great support. They can send you information about VM and what to expect with your daughters recovery. Or take a look at their website where you can download information etc

Very best wishes

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