My Son, Eliott was born in the middle of a very hot summer in 2014. At 3 weeks old our family descended on us to meet our lovely new baby. He was fussy and hot all day which I put down to having a house full of people. One of my lasting guilty memories is walking him in his pram on Saturday afternoon willing him to just stop crying for an hour, so I could go back to the restaurant and eat lunch. Even then, I felt sick I knew something was wrong. To be honest I thought I was doing something wrong and he just didn’t like me, but people kept telling me. . . babies cry.
By Sunday afternoon things weren’t much better and after our last guests left that afternoon, I lay Eliott across my lap and looked at him properly, down to his nappy, red hot and furious with the world and at that point I knew we needed help. I can’t even say what it was that made me think that, but I looked at my husband and said we needed to go to hospital.
What ultimately saved Eliott was, within 30 seconds of walking into A&E the receptionist took our name and told us to go straight through to the Paediatric area. He was assessed in minutes, a Doctor came running, whipped his nappy off and said she needed a urine sample. Eliott wee’d as soon as the nappy came off. The Doctor caught some, dipped it and said he had a UTI. My husband and I were so relieved thinking that we knew what it was and soon we’d be on our way with antibiotics. The next 2 hours are a blur – something about him not being well at all and we’d be going upstairs.
The next thing I remember is the Doctors and nurses appearing, wires being attached, machines making noises and them asking permission to do a lumbar puncture – at this point they needed to rule out meningitis. I wasn’t allowed to go in the room with Eliott but even at the other end of the ward and 2.5 years on I can still hear him screaming as they did the procedure. Meningitis was quickly ruled out but we were kept in isolation until they could figure out what was making him so very poorly. I remember getting the courage together to ask the nurse if he was going to die. They all did their best to assure me that they had caught whatever it was early and he would (probably) be fine.
We spent a week in isolation, waiting for test after test after culture to be grown. Finally, on day 5 they told us Eliott had E coli caused by a UTI which had led to septicaemia. We were told that bringing him to A&E so quickly saved his life without a doubt.
Eliott settled into his life at home quickly and after 3 weeks you wouldn’t have guessed how ill he had ever been. My Husband and best friend were both amazing. My friend kept us company by day and kept everything at home going. My Husband, still working under such difficult circumstances as our main wage-earner was giving me a break at night and somehow, he kept me together. I however didn’t recover so quickly. I’ve lost count of how many nights I have sat and cried convinced that it had come back and that Eliott was going to die over the last 2 years. Every cough, fever or plate of uneaten food sent me in to a panic. Thankfully, my husband is logical and compassionate, he kept me sane without a doubt. Its left a huge mark on our family, as a first-time Mum I’m sad to say it’s put me off wanting another child. Eliott is now a gorgeous, clever, noisy, funny toddler and were forever grateful to the NHS and the Doctors and Nurses (and everyone else) that’s took us seriously and saved him.
Every doctor I’ve seen has always said they’d rather send home a well child than not see an unwell one. Trust your instincts, we have them for a reason. If you’re not happy; check, check again and ask could it be sepsis.