Chris Villere is one of the lucky ones. At 12 years old, he not only survived Bacterial Spinal Meningitis and Septicemia, he did so without any apparent lasting disabilities.
That Saturday in June 2002, Chris came home from baseball practice with a fever and a headache. His fever went up throughout the day. Over the phone, the advice nurse asked the regular questions, “Stiff neck?” No. “Throwing up or diarrhea?” No. “Rash?” No. She then recommended fever reducers and said the symptoms could last for several days. The next morning the fever was down and he even ate some milk and cereal.
About 8 a.m. Susi, his mother looked carefully at a small bruise-like spot on his upper leg about the size of a quarter. She asked him to raise his shirt but there were no other blotches on his chest or abdomen. When she checked his back though, she saw two more small spots. A quick glance over the rest of his body revealed three more about the same size. There was even one on the tip of one of his big toes. She said to herself, “These look like the spots described in the newspaper about the nurse’s daughter who died. THIS ISN’T GOOD!”
His family immediately rushed Chris to the hospital emergency room. After viewing the spots and questioning him and his mom for less than a minute, the triage nurse said, “We have a very sick boy here”. She rushed Chris into an exam room. A spinal tap confirmed Meningococcal (bacterial meningitis) and Septicemia (blood poisoning). He was hospitalized and put on a seven-day regimen of antibiotics administered through an IV. Chris’s mother believes that he contracted meningitis from shaking water into his mouth from another player’s water bottle a couple days earlier.
Radio PSA by Chris