When toddler Paige Weatherspoon complained of feeling tired and was running a temperature, it seemed she had a typical childhood virus. Mum Nicky gave her paracetamol and tucked the sleepy little girl back into bed.
Nicky, 31, was exhausted herself.
‘My mother had died on the Monday and it was only Friday then,’ explains Nicky, from Kadina, SA.
‘She had terminal cancer and I’d looked after her at her home until the end. It was a terrible week.’
Paige slept until lunchtime that day when dad Dwayne came home from work.
‘She was on the lounge,’ says Nicky.’ it was as if she had a virus.’
Paige slept through the afternoon so Dwayne picked up their other daughter Sophie, 6, from school.
At dinner Nicky tried to get Paige to eat or drink, but she was sick.
‘She still had a temperature, but nothing unusual. I put the girls to bed and watched the footy,’ says Nicky.
Still worried, she checked Paige again at 10:30pm.‘Paige complained of sore legs and I noticed bruise-like spots that hadn’t been there before,’ Says Nicky.
‘In the back of my mind I thought of meningococcal and rang the doctor.’
At the surgery, Nicky was told that Paige was suffering a respiratory virus and to bring her back the next day if she wasn’t better.
‘I felt confident with the doctor’s decision, so I put her to bed and sat with her for the night,’ adds Nicky.
But Paige’s condition deteriorated.
'When I touched her leg she screamed.' Bruise-like spots seemed to have covered her all over.
‘At 2am I rang the hospital and told them I was bringing Paige down. She’s been sick and her breathing had become worse.
‘I knew what mum’s breathing had sounded like before she died and I had a bad feeling,’ Nicky recalls
‘ We rushed to the hospital, getting there about 2:15am.
Her baby was now massed with purple rash.
The doctors working on her, but we lost our beautiful baby girl at 3am, on Saturday, June 24th 2000.
‘I don’t think we’ll ever get over losing Paige,’ she says quietly.
Now Nicky hopes to help parents recognise meningococcal disease.
‘You don’t have to have flu-like symptoms to have meningococcal. For Paige it was like a virus – she was very tired and vomited a couple of times. She never complained of a headache,’ says Nicky.
‘If you suspect meningococcal and you’re not satisfied with the doctor’s opinion, take your child straight to hospital.’
An excerpt from “New Idea”.
© 2006 Paige Weatherspoon Foundation|
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