A Brampton mother knew in her gut something was wrong with her newborn son, even when doctors said she had nothing to worry about. But that intuition saved her boy. and by sharing her story, she hopes to help others.
A little construction work with son Sulayman is something Furah Mir cherishes. She knows this daily interaction could have been very different. He was born 2 and a half years ago. A robust 11-pounds. But at the end of his first week, Furah became concerned: “Something just seemed a bit off with him. He was very lethargic, had a low grade temperature. And when he was awake and we would hold him he was very irritable and cranky.”
Doctors at the local emergency room assured her it was nothing serious. A physician at the walk-in-clinic also told her not to worry. But this second time Mom wasn’t buying it: “Despite the fact that these Doctors are telling us he was fine, I just had this sort of unsettling feeling in my heart. This sinking feeling just telling me something was off.”
They went to the Hospital for Sick Children where, after a series of tests including a lumbar puncture, Sulayman was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and sepsis: “I was familiar with what bacterial meningitis was. I knew the type of devastation that it could do to a child in terms of mental and physical disabilities. And really in that moment when the doctor came in and told us, I mean like I lost it obviously. I did fall apart.”
He was started on an aggressive round of antibiotics. There was little optimism during the first 48-hours: “I truly believed that in that moment that this really was the end for him or at least that’s what I believed at the time.”
But Sulayman surivived. With no impairments. He has fully recovered. 25% of those diagnosed with meningitis face long term disability. 10% don’t make it. As a way of helping those who don’t come out unscathed, Furah founded MRC; Meningitis Relief Canada: “What MRC does is we do provide grief and bereavement counselling to individuals who have been affected by meningitis. We also have financial aid grants for individuals who’ve been disabled by meningitis..”
Equally important, the MRC website highlights symptoms of meningitis: “If the public is more cognizant of the signs and symptoms and what to look for and then to seek that immediate medical attention, then we can save lives.”