'This is the reality of meningococcal'
THIS is a photo that we have never shared before but given that it is winter which is one of the high-risk times to contract Meningococcal, I wanted to talk about it.
It is one of a group of photos taken in preparation for Robbie's arms and legs to be amputated.
How do you even prepare for a surgery like that? How do you mentally prepare yourself as a parent to the idea you will never hold your child's hands or kiss their little toes again?
I remember this day like it was yesterday. I remember deliberately placing Robbie in a superman singlet because he's the strongest person I know. I remember trying to be strong. I remember the photographer hugging me tighter than anyone has before after she took our photos. I remember her holding back tears and I remember awkwardly laughing to try and play it off like everything was going to be fine all the while knowing I was terrified. Absolutely terrified.
We had waited a year and a week for this day and it still wasn't enough time to prepare me for what was to come.
The day came, Iain and I focussed on the future. While Robbie was in surgery, we decided to spend our time waiting by looking at houses, for a home we would move into when Robbie was well enough. One with a backyard so he could play, laugh, do as he pleased, and see the sky. Be outside! Something he wouldn't be able to do properly for 18 months.
That's the reality of Meningococcal.
It's a mother and father screaming and crying when they get a moment to themselves just to let out the heartache of their child suffering. It's a mother and father holding it together in front of their baby so he keeps fighting because if he doesn't, he loses his life. It's a mother and father being scared to kiss their sick baby because what if we pass germs onto him when he's already fighting for his life and that's all it takes for him to lose his fight? It's a mother being scared to go to sleep until her son's blood pressure is at an "ok" level, it's surgery after surgery, suffering after suffering, heartache after heartache and challenge after challenge and guess what? We're the lucky ones. I thank God for all the challenges because the alternative is one I never wish to think about.
I ask you all to please share this so another parent can learn. Learn something we wish we had before Robbie got sick, that there are Meningococcal vaccines that exist that are not part of the schedule, get vaccinated and also learn the signs and symptoms of Meningococcal.
What to look for:
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Fitting/stiff jerking movements
- Joint/Muscle Pain
- Pale, grey or blotchy skin
- Rash - this can start off as a small spot then develop into purple bruising.
VACCINATE and if you believe that you or someone you love has contracted Meningococcal, seek medical advice immediately. Every minute counts!
You can follow more of Robbie's journey on the Robbie's Roar Facebook page.
This article appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.