It has been twelve months since our eldest daughter almost died. She caught an ear infection one weekend, got sent home from school, received some ear drops from the doctor, and we thought she would recover in a couple of days. We were wrong. Just twenty-four hours after our visit to the GP, her face swelled up and she complained that her jaw was hurting. It got so bad that she couldn’t swallow and refused to eat. My husband and I inspected the red, swollen lump at the side of her face, and her high temperature, and we began to suspect she had contracted meningitis.
Returning to our GP the next morning, we were quickly referred to the nearby hospital as an emergency admission. Our doctor was very efficient and very calm, but we could see he was worried when he examined her. She and I spent another twenty-four hours at Leighton Hospital while they carried out tests and did an MRI scan to diagnose her illness. On the Friday evening we were informed that she needed emergency surgery and it could only be done by a specialist team at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, about an hour’s drive away from home. That was a terrifying prospect, but we got her there and tried to remain calm.
Our daughter had contracted mastoiditis in her middle ear, which is a common infection that usually clears up naturally with a treatment of ear drops. Unfortunately for my daughter, the infection somehow found its way into her cheek cavity, where it began to rot away her jaw bone. The doctors called it a Group A Streptococcal infection I believe, but my memory of the technical details is very hazy. The memory of that whole weekend will remain with me forever. My daughter and I stayed in hospital for almost a week, and she made a miraculous recovery. The doctors believed that she might be left with life-changing damage from this infection, but she hasn’t. She quickly recovered full use of her jaw, a course of antibiotic medicine cleared the remains of the infection, and now all she has to show for it is a tiny scar near her ear.
My husband and I remain eternally grateful and thankful to the medical teams at Oaklands Medical Centre in Middlewich, Leighton Hospital ENT and Children’s Ward in Crewe, and of course, the MacsFacs team and the high dependency ward at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Without these doctors and nurses, our daughter certainly would not be with us today. Thank you.
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