The ordeal and triumph of a family struck by GSKs narcolepsy-inducing Pandemrix.
Claire Crisp watched her three-year-old daughter bump down the stairs in her PJs dotted with blue Easter bunnies. Little Mathilda stood unsteadily on the kitchen tiles, the sun streaming in the window behind her, her lids heavy on her blue eyes, her blonde hair matted from sleep though it was mid-day. She reached her hands out and pleaded softly, Mu-uh-Ma, then crumpled to the floor.
Claire shouted and rushed to her daughter. She could see she was breathing but she was unresponsive and as limp as a rag doll. It didnt look like a seizure but she couldnt tell if her littlest child was conscious.
Tildas sudden bizarre collapses were becoming more frequent and they were just one of a growing list of terrifying symptoms that had begun in recent weeks. She used to sleep soundly but now she had night terrors and woke inconsolable, sometimes 30 or more times each night. She used to be so bubbly and engaging but now she slept for hours of the day, but she never woke refreshed. So exhausted, the little girl who had been bright and polite was grouchy and prone to tantrums. She complained of excruciating pain in her joints. There were disturbing neurological symptoms too; muscle weakness and head-bobbing so she sometimes looked like a dashboard doll. She had begun rolling her tongue around inside her bottom lip compulsively. Worst of all, little Mathilda, pale and dishevelled, was becoming increasingly remote and withdrawn so Claire felt her daughter was vanishing before her eyes.
The ordeal is recounted in the award-winning non-fiction book, Waking M...