This is a story about my 16 year old son David.
I want to let people that are interested know about the severity of meningitis. I lost my son because I was unaware of the symptoms.
David went to bed on April 5, 2002 with a headache. He took a couple Tylenol. David woke about 10:00 am on Saturday the 6th. He came down the stairs at 10:30 am. At first he tried to sit on the couch and watch TV. He joked with his Mom and I about silly things. All seemed normal. My wife and I went to the store and on the way back to the house we stopped and got meatball subs for everyone. Normally, even when ill, David would have eaten that sub and wanted more. He ate about 1/2 and said he didn´t feel well. We checked and he had a slight temperature and some stiffness in his neck. We called the doctor´s office and when he called back he said that it was just the flu, "give him Tylenol and ibuprofen alternately for the pains and fever, and give him lots of liquids" (The type of insurance we had doesn´t allow emergency room visits without prior approval.) Well, My wife went to work. David was lying on the couch. His brother and sister were being attentive to every need he expressed.
David was getting progressively worse.
Dave´s temp had gone up to about 102F and I was trying to get him to go to the hospital. (He was bigger than I am and he has a temper so I didn´t force him to go.) My mistake.
Dave got up from the couch and stumbled to the bathroom, he vomited all over the floor, walls and toilet. I cleaned him and the mess up and again tried to get him to go to the hospital. About an hour later he again stumbled to the bathroom, this time with severe diarrhea. He went in to lay on the couch and told me he felt a little better. I asked again if he would go to the hospital and he said no.
I went out to the computer and was playing a game and Sarah and Josh were taking care of David in the living room. Sarah brought me a note that David wrote. "My head hurt bad, I can´t see and my neck hurts."
I told David that we were going to the hospital now. He finally agreed. Josh and Sarah helped me get David dressed so that we could take him to the car and then the hospital.
In wish I could give this story a happy ending but that isn´t what happened.
We tried to carry David to the car and we couldn´t lift him. He was 200 lbs and 6´-2". (I am 5´-6" and at the time about 160 lbs) It wasn´t physically possible for me to move him. I told Josh and Sarah to stay with Dave, I was going to get a neighbor to help me. The last words I heard David say were, "I don´t need Bill". I would guess that I was gone for maybe 30 seconds. When I returned to my apartment Dave was blue/purple. The neighbor and I got him laid out on the floor and then another neighbor came in and helped me to do CPR while the first neighbor was calling 911 and telling them that we had a 16 year old kid that was dying. The time was 7:05 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2002.
The ambulance finally showed up. I called my wife and told her to meet us at the hospital. When the EMT´s didn´t put Dave in the ambulance right away she called me and said she was at the hospital. I sent a neighbor up to get her. She got home at about 7:30 pm They were still performing CPR and shocking him to try to get him back. It didn´t work. They loaded him into the ambulance and we all went to the hospital. They continued to try to revive him. Josh stayed at his grandparents and Sarah went to a neighbors. I was hoping and praying at this time that they wouldn´t be able to get him back. David had not been breathing or circulating any blood for over 1/2 an hour. They pronounced David dead at 8:35. David had died about an hour and a 1/2 earlier. I won´t ever forget that day and evening as long as I live.
I now spend a lot of time trying to educate people about the symptoms of meningitis. I don´t believe that children should pass before their parents And if even one person will listen and learn and save the life of their child it will validate the abrupt way that I got my knowledge. I know that life isn´t fair and I want to scream why? But, if only one life is saved through my pain then somehow it may be worth it.
I thank you for taking the time to read this. I know this story isn´t in any way inspirational but perhaps it could help someone, somewhere.
This is written in memory of David, January 3, 1986 --April 6, 2002