How blood infection turned life-threatening for MP’s son
WHEN his nine-year-old son fell ill with stomach flu symptoms, Southern Downs MP James Lister could never have imagined his little boy would be in for a fight for his life.
The MP was working in Warwick when he found out Jeremy was to be flown to Toowoomba Hospital.
He was later diagnosed with the potentially fatal bacterial meningitis.
Mr Lister said he raced back to Stanthorpe without a moment's hesitation, and arrived just in time to visit Jeremy before the helicopter took off.
"It can make a grown man cry when you see one of your children being loaded into a helicopter with a life-threatening illness," Mr Lister said.
"(My wife) Belinda went with him to the hospital, so I just hopped in the car and headed off to Toowoomba to meet them there.
"The staff at Stanthorpe did very well starting him on the antibiotics - there's no doubt he'd be in a much worse condition now if they hadn't done that."
Jeremy underwent further testing and treatment at Toowoomba before being transferred again to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
From his hospital bed and in ever-increasing spirits, Jeremy today told the Daily News he was almost as excited as his little brother by the aircraft.
"I remember that it was the most advanced (helicopter) they had, and the biggest one," Jeremy said.
"When I first saw it, I didn't think it looked like one for paramedics. It looked more civilian because it was red and white and stuff, so not really traditional colours.
"But apparently it's better than a normal medical one."
Now that he was on the mend and would likely be discharged at the end of this week, Jeremy said he was most looking forward to being reunited with his pets and school friends.
"I FaceTimed my class the other day, and they said they really missed us," he said.
"I think I'm better than any other time now, because I haven't got a neck ache or a headache. I don't really hurt.
"I wasn't really that scared. I never thought I would die or anything - I always thought I would be okay."
Mr Lister said his son was doing his best to fight off the infection, though had to have his antibiotics put through an internal catheter due to his fear of needles.
"He had a blood infection first, and when that crossed into his brain and spine, it caused the meningitis," he said.
"No one knows where it first came from - he just got sick that first night, and it's come across. It's very rare that it happens, but it does happen."
The family's youngest member William, 6, stayed at home with the boys' grandparents while their parents were at the hospital.
"He misses Mum and Dad, and I've asked his grandparents regularly to talk to him about what's happened, to get his thoughts and help him deal with it," Mr Lister said.
"He was there to see the helicopter take off and he was a bit upset.
"I think that was partly because of concern for his brother, and partly because he wanted to go in the helicopter himself - which is understandable for a six-year-old."
Though it looked to be a months-long road to recovery for little Jeremy, his father said he couldn't be prouder of his son's bravery and looked forward to a return to normality.
"He's going to have to go back to Stanthorpe Hospital once a day for antibiotics, but with any luck he'll be able to go back to school when it returns," Mr Lister said.
"Thank you to everyone for their well wishes, support, and their understanding that I've been off the job.
"I'll probably be off next week to help with Jeremy, but God willing, I'll be back the Monday after that."