Monday 3 December 2007


17th December 1994

I was 32.
I had two children aged 5 and 3
I was busy, busy, busy.
I also had Meningitis

Bacterial Meningitis hits you like a sledgehammer.
In the morning I got dressed to go shopping
and by the evening I was unconscious.

I was very, very fortunate.
When MrM phoned the surgery and said that I had a headache
the doctor came straight out.
He saved my life.

I spent the next twelve days in hospital
with enough intravenous antibiotics to float a boat.
My children spent Christmas 200 miles away with my parents.
It took me 6 months to get my strength back
I had no septicaemia
and no brain damage
and no hearing loss.
I was very, very fortunate.

This is not a scary post
because Meningitis is rare and
I am assuming that you all know
My message to all you busy, busy mums with young children
is that YOU are the heart of the family.
Take care of yourselves this Christmas,
do the things that you enjoy,
take short cuts.

Christmas is not about handmade presents
and designer decor
and complicated recipes.

Christmas is about the quality of the time
you spend with the people you love.
You only discover that if you are very, very fortunate.
Believe me.


Anonymous said...

What a sobering thought. I'm so glad that you made it through in one piece. Thank goodness we live in an amazing age of medical knowledge.

My nephew had viral meningitis before his first birthday. He has a story as fortunate as yours.

Anonymous said...

Not a good time. Full credit to the doc who was an old fashioned GP who did home visits and knew what he was doing. When people start talking about potential sub-arachnoid haemorrhaes at 3 am one knows that things are looking a little dodgy to put it mildly when one sees one's wife being slid into a brain scanner.

Puts things into perspective certainly.

tess said...

I'm so glad you were ok Alice, and that the doctor who came to visit you took your symptoms seriously. Thanks for the advice to take care of ourselves, you are so right, Christmas is about spending time with loved ones. I know it's a bit early for Christmas wishes, but I hope you have a very happy Christmas with the people you love this year.

Ali said...

You have a way of putting life into perspective Alice.

And hooray for short cuts!

Tracy said...

Oh, Alice! What a scare...And what joy you made it though! So very glad you are well and have had no lasting damage to yourself. Thank you for the link...and not least of the reminder about what the Christmas season is really about. Happy Days to you & yours ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Scary time indeed and yes you were lucky, there is no way our GP would ever deign to come out but that is another story.
Anyway what I really wanted to say is I couldn't agree more about Christmas. I was doing my usual Thurs wander around the stores while the boys were at Games Workshop and all I could think, as I observed people frantically scurrying here and there loaded with stuff, was "It's not about this". And then the Catherdral bells started to call the faithful to a service - talk about the road to Damascus!
Willow House.

blackbird said...

It's only A SINUS INFECTION, I promise.

Youngest had his meningitis vaccine a few weeks ago.

My lord you were lucky - and I'm glad.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. Alice, how scary that your family (and we) almost lost you. And your reminder is so, so true. Thank you for this. (And no, I didn't know the symptoms, so thanks for that, too.)

Anonymous said...

So glad you pulled through so well Alice. For your sake as well as your family's. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Much needed and appreciated at this time of year.

Becca said...

What a sobering story with a blessed ending ... and a wonderful message. Your thoughts about Christmas are so true. I haven't visited for a while and find all sorts of lovely posts to read ... especially the new station post below.

Anonymous said...

It was great having the children that Christmas when they were still so young despite the frightening reason. But I have to say that Love and Peace were not the theme in Master M's mind at the Christmas service as he tried to kill all around us with the plastic sword acquired that morning!
We withdrew before the sermon with what dignity we could summon!!

dottycookie said...

Good grief - not a scary post? You certainly put the wind up me!

I am glad you were fine, and that the doctor was a good one who came out. As someone else said, I suspect these days we'd just be told to go to A&E if we felt like it.

Pea said...

Thanks for the reminder - I've just about got over the shame of shop bought pudding and the likes but the homemade gifts thing still gets me in a tizzy.

Wise words.

alice c said...

Welcome Pea - you are in the right place because shop-bought puddings are a family tradition around here.

Carolyn, your comment will gladden the heart of my father in law. I shall mention it to him so that he can incorporate it into his next sermon!

GMS, perhaps you were lucky it was just a plastic sword. Not an assegai.

Florence Knapp (Flossie Teacakes) said...

Gosh, how very lucky you were. You have given me, and probably many other readers, a moment of clarity...that yes, (even when it's handmade!) spending time with people is more important. Thank you. I hope you have a lovely, lovely Christmas this year with your family.

Unknown said...

You were fortunate. Thank you for the reminder. Powerful sentiments.

BreadBox said...

That is a particularly, and gut-wrenchingly, beautiful post. Glad that you made it, all those years ago.

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing this Alice.

It is particularly pertinent for me at the moment.

carrie said...

You are very right. I am acutely aware of how important family is, especially at this time of year when we are missing those who are no longer here.

But thank you, for the reminder. We could all use plenty of those.

And bless you, for fighting and being strong that year you battled the meningitis. That must've been so scary.

ginny said...

What a scary time for you all. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your wise insights. A brush with death is so sobering.. having spent Saturday eve with a friend whose cancer is in it's final stages it is so more apparent to live life to the full and focus on people and relationships, to look after each other and to value each day.
Wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas.