It's just over a year ago that we lost my lovely mam to meningococcal septicaemia. It was so sudden & unexpected & am still struggling to come to terms with it. It happened on the (thursday) 19th January 2012. my mam was very fit and well. She was 64, a very young 64 and I still can't get my head around what happened, how quickly it all happened. That evening is still so fresh in my mind it feels like yesterday.
My mum started to feel a little unwell in the early hours of the morning. She got up to go to the toilet and had terrible chills & felt a bit unwell. She had been absolutely fine until then, was up watching tv with my dad until midnight. Her symptoms were just like a cold/flu virus, she just felt a bit unwell. Headache, backache, hot & cold. The doctor even saw her around lunchtime (at mam & dads house) and she was told just to drink plenty of fluids. I was in work until mid afternoon, & phoned my dad to see if they needed anything from morrisons - that's when he said mam was feeling unwell and was in bed. He must have thought it was nothing serious as he would have phoned me earlier.thats what's frightening about meningitis.... It happens so sudden. Mam was never one to complain and was never poorly, even if she did have a cold etc she would always be up and about & fight it. When I called to see mam she was lying on the bed, i remember touching her legs & she was so cold, but then again mams feet were always cold! She was complaining that her lower back was hurting (her words ... She felt uncomfortable ! Wasn't crying in pain, just uncomfortable. This was around 5pm-5.15pm. She had by now vomited & had diarrhoea - I was concerned because her mouth was fairly dry so was worried she was getting dehydrated, that was the main reason I phoned the doctor again. Said I was concerned about dehydration, I said mam had been sick & diarrhoea and said she was still complaining of back pain and also had stomach pain by now. The Dr said he would refer / admit mam to hospital & I was to collect an admittance letter from the surgery. I did this. Mam even walked downstairs with dads help, got in the car & dad drove us to the hospital (5mins away). I was sat in the back with mam, holding her hand. she was complainng about the lower back pain. I remember looking at the clock in the ward and it was 5.55pm, mam was getting checked out in a seat (no beds). I remember getting her a cup of water, nurse took her BP, tried to take blood & I could see a look of concern!! All of a sudden a bed was wheeled, mam even got herself onto the bed and she was wheeled into a room. Nurse took dad & I to a little office, we saw mam once alive after this, after a bit, we were allowed to see her, i remember she had an oxygen mask & was connected to a two drips, one an antibiotic drip etc. i was shocked to see her as she had a rash / purple spots covering her neck, bit on her face & noticed her hands/arms. She was trying to take her mask off, saying it was suffocating her.... I remember saying she should leave it on. i recall kissing her, & saying love you and see you later. That was sadly the last time we spoke or saw mam alive the nurse took us back to the room. they kept coming in from time to time, saying they were concerned about mam, didn't know what was wrong, then she kept coming back in saying, they were very concerned, then critical then was told to contact any close family. Then that she'd had a cardiac arrest & machine was helping her breathe! It was a complete nightmare!! We couldnt understand what was happening. i honestly thought she had a virus/bug and she was a bit dehydrated - would get a drip of fluids and she'd be better & home next day.
My sister lived 2.30hrs away. I had to phone her! and I was on the phone with my sister when the consultant came in to say mam had passed away! It was just before 8pm. It was surreal, felt like a dream/nightmare. How can someone so healthy die so sudden. I still can't believe it's happened. They suspected it was meningitis & public health was involved, we, close family had to take some tablets. It took weeks to find out the true cause of death. Septicaemia had been put on the death certificate but several weeks later it was confirmed as meningococcal septicaemia. We don't know how she got it. I had never heard of adults having meningitis, only babies/children/teens. Life can be so cruel. My mam was a wonderful mam, wife & nain. My dad is heartbroken, they did everything together, he is lost. He still can't get his head round it either, doesn't make sense. She was taken far too soon & had years ahead of her. i think the suddenness of what happened makes it so hard to take in. My GP (not the one who saw my mam) helped me so much, she was great and the love and support of my family and friends helped me. Counselling helped me a little too. I would advise people going through the same thing to try and speak to their doctor and ask them all the questions that you have running through your brain... try and get some answers, to try and make sense of it all. I miss my mam so much, life is just not the same without her. its like im now living someone else's life. its horrible. ive gone from seeing and speakng to my mam every day to nothing .... happened in hours!!! she's the first thing I think about when I wake up and not an hour goes by where I am not thinking about her, i still try to understand why it happened. The consultant said it was just pure bad luck, one of those things, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and nothing we would have done would have changed anything. I keep thinking if she'd had antibiotics sooner that maybe she would have survived. but how where we suppose to know she was so ill even the Dr didnt realise. he told us later that there was nothing telln him that she would die only a few hrs later. why is it so hard to diagnose??
everybody says that time is a great healer and they are right to some extent. You never stop hurting, or miss her but you do become a little stronger in yourself to be able to deal with it all. I try and remember all the lovely memories we had, & I now get so much comfort from looking at pictures, videos. Miss hearing her voice, miss not being able to touch her, hug her. Can't believe she's not there, round the corner in our family home. Breaks my heart to see dad on his own but he's doing ok (ish), mam would be so proud of him.
I think im still grieving, even now - Ive learnt that everyone's grieving process is different - everyone must deal with it in their own way, do not rush it, look after yourself & try and speak to someone about how you feel. In time, when you feel more like yourself, live your life to the full & try and be happy, I know my mam would be so upset to see me so upset and not getting on with my life. It is very hard, but i am doing it for her and the rest of my family. I believe my mam is and will always be with us, watching over us. Xx I have also cruelly found out, life is so precious and we should make the most if every moment. Xx. You really don't know what is round the corner.... Girls in work have said many a time that they remember me finishing work on that thurs afternoon, all smiles and saying goodbye and said id see them tomorrow .... Then only a few hrs later my life changed completely & I didn't return to work for nearly five months. Really hit me hard I hope that by sharing our experiences on here, we can help / support each other. I have been reading other stories which have helped me try to understand what's happened. Thank you so much X