Chapter Twenty Three

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“Ms Nicks?” an authoritative voice called out from the end of the corridor and broke them from their melancholy reverie.

“Yes, that’s me!”

Stevie and Lindsey jumped up from the seats nervously and held onto each other, bracing for the news.

“Hello there, I’m Dr Perlman. I’m looking after Lily today.”

“How is she?” she asked impatiently.

“She’s stable. We were finally able to stop her seizures.”

Lindsey breathed a heavy sigh of relief and rubbed his hand over the small of Stevie’s back.

“I’ve just received the results back from the spinal tap…”

They held their breath as he reviewed the charts.

“Lily has what we call ‘neonatal meningitis’.”

Paralysed by their fear, neither Stevie nor Lindsey moved a muscle, the words jamming in their throat and their eyes imploring the doctor to continue with an explanation.

“Now, this is something that can come on very quickly indeed – often overnight – especially in babies between the ages of one and three months old. Unfortunately the symptoms aren’t always the same, but Lily’s seizures, high-fever, loss of appetite and the rash on her back all pointed right to it. You did very well to bring her in when you did, Mr Buckingham.”

Stevie squeezed Lindsey’s hand tightly and he knew that that is all she could manage at that moment in time.

“Thankfully there was no trace of bacteria in the results, which means that it’s a viral infection. Lily’s immune system should be strong enough to take care of it, but we’d like to keep her in for observation for the next few days, just to be safe.”

They both nodded understandingly, reassured by his confidence and authority.

“Has she been vaccinated?”

“I – I don’t know, I –” Stevie stuttered, blind-sided by what should have been an easy question for any mother to answer.

“It’s okay Ms Nicks, I am aware of the situation and we have begun to write up Lily’s records for the databases. We can find out by running a couple of tests, and if she doesn’t have the vaccinations, then we can have those arranged as well.”

“Can we see her?” Stevie asked, tearful in her desperation.

“I don’t see why not.”

The doctor nodded and led them to a room at the end of the quiet corridor.

“Lily’s still sedated at the moment, but we’re hoping she’ll come around soon.”

“Thank you so much, Dr Perlman,” Lindsey thanked, shaking the doctor’s hand firmly. “We really appreciate it.”

The doctor nodded his head and glided down the corridor, leaving Stevie and Lindsey standing nervously outside of the room.

“Are you alright?” Lindsey whispered.

Stevie took a deep breath and nodded her head, before they opened the door to Lily’s room.

If she thought she had felt pain before, Stevie now knew that it had been nothing in comparison to what she felt at that moment. Her eyes fell upon Lily; lying lifelessly on her back with her arms and legs sprawled out on the bed, it seemed as though she was stuck beneath a web of wires, connecting her to countless monitors that beeped with a monotonous rhythm.

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