World Sepsis Day: How septic shock nearly killed my dad and changed our lives

September 10, 2012

in Health, Things that matter

World Sepsis Day is September 13. I was contacted by someone on behalf of Sepsis Alliance to help spread the word. I delete 99.9 percent of pitches sent to me for this blog. But this one? It hit home.

What I meant to share in a post about sepsis awareness became a novel about my family’s experience. It was actually good for me to finally write it out.

Don’t feel compelled to read this entire post. Just know that sepsis is serious and it can kill you or your mom or your child or your best friend. That by the time those around the person who has it knows what’s going on – and I’m talking about the doctors, too –  that person you love so much might be too far gone to know they’re on their way to death.

I’ve shared more facts about sepsis at the end. Please at least scroll to the bottom for those.

*****

Two-and-a-half years ago, on a Saturday, the kids, Ed and I packed up our SUV and drove from San Diego to Cave Creek, Arizona. My parents had literally finished moving into their new home a few days before we arrived. They were still very much settling in.

Ed and my dad had their annual weekend golf tournament the coming weekend, and Ed had to go out of town for business during the week, so I figured the kids and I might as well enjoy my family while he was gone during the week, and then my mom while the boys golfed over the weekend.

Except my dad wasn’t feeling well. At all.

He’s a lot like me. Or I suppose I should say I’m a lot like him. He insists he doesn’t need to go to the doctor – or hospital – when in fact he does.

But he was sick and with all of us nagging, he finally relented and agreed to allow my mom to take him to the Emergency Room on Sunday.

A few hours later, they returned with a diagnosis that I can’t even remember, but nothing serious. He’d be fine. There wasn’t anything to worry about.

The next day, my husband left for his business trip.

And my dad continued to get sicker.

My mom and I pleaded with him to go to the ER. He refused. He’d already been a few days ago and they told him he was fine.

He’d had a 104 degree + fever for days and was becoming incoherent. I went into my parents’ bedroom and once again attempted to persuade him that he needed immediate help. He declined – sort of. He was becoming completely incomprehensible.

My mommy instinct kicked in. I needed to do something. I told my mom he could be mad at me later. I’d deal with it when he was actually well enough to be annoyed.

I walked out of my parents’ room and into their kitchen because I was thinking clearly enough to know I needed a landline, picked up the phone and called 9-1-1. I calmly told the operator that the situation was becoming very urgent and that they needed to hurry, please.

Their home was a new custom build on a large piece of newly developed property on a private street. We all worried they would have trouble finding us. The navigators on all of our vehicles still couldn’t pinpoint it.

But five minutes later, we heard the blaring sirens of the firetruck and ambulance. We’d already opened the gates and my brother was outside to usher them in.

As the paramedics and firemen came into the bedroom, his blood pressured crashed down to 70/40 or something silly low close to that. It was just the beginning – and a mild version – of the crashes that were to come, but it was very fortunate that they were there for it. I doubt he’d have recovered on his own, or even been stable enough to await their arrival if we hadn’t called until that moment.

They stabilized him enough to get him to the ER, after which he was admitted to the ICU.

And so began seven days of pure hell, where my dad would nearly die – over and over and over again – in front of my mom and me.

*****

My dad was in a newer, fancy, donor-driven hospital near their home. It was well “cared for” by local residents – it was a very patient and family centered hospital.

This meant a lot of things, but the one that was probably the bigger blessing – and the one that made it the most difficult – was the visitor policy.

And that policy was that there was no policy for immediate family. They could sit in the ICU alongside the patient 24/7. And so my mom and I did.

My brother, who just so happen to be in town from the East Coast, couldn’t do it. He tried. He had to leave the hospital and stay at my parents’ house. Watching your dad nearly die – over and over and over – is hard to do.

*****

Up until the day I followed the ambulance to the hospital, I had never “dumped” my kids on anyone. Mattix had just turned 3 years old and Molley was 20 months old. And since that day, I’ve never done it again.

But at that moment, I called both our former nanny/might-as-well-be-family Tiffani and my close friend Sarah and asked who could take them until Ed got back to town.

God bless Sarah. She’s married and pregnant now – but at the time, she wondered things like, “Do they need bottles? Can they eat solid food? Can they go to the bathroom themselves? How do I change a diaper? What’s a baby wipe?”

She took them for me. I know how big of a stretch it was for her. She skipped work and took two little kids – a toddler and a preschooler – because that’s what friends do. She did an amazing job. To this day, I am still grateful to her. And after she’d done her time, Tiffani took them the next day. Again, I feel nothing but gratitude. Eventually, Ed was able to book a plane and get back.

*****

World Sepsis Dday

They knew my dad was in septic shock. It had progressed well beyond sepsis.

They just didn’t know what bacteria was causing it. It takes days to grow out the cultures. So he was on every heavy antibiotic there was – in extreme doses. There were 14 different IV bags feeding into his main one, all on timers, delivering doses at different times.

They couldn’t find the source of the infection, either. So they began experimental surgeries – each one a huge risk because he was so sick he might not live through it – and removed those pesky organs you don’t need that could have been the source.

“Yes, that was it. We got it. He had some ‘episodes,’ but he got through it,” the first surgeon assured us.

*****

When he would have an “episode,” all of the alarms would go off. His blood pressure and heart rate would skyrocket to exceedingly unsafe levels. His body would stiffen. He would gasp and writhe and fight for oxygen. He would turn purple.

A bright, bold shade of purple. Like Harold the Purple Crayon, I thought at the time.

It would start in his legs and move up his body – into his torso, through his chest, down his arms, into his face. He would fight to stay conscious.

My mom and I would yell – yell – at him to stay awake, to keep fighting. They told us he had to. She was on one side of his head, holding one hand, I was on the other side, holding the other hand.

He would look at one of us and he would nod – and he would fight. And the doctors and nurses would work on him while we told him to keep fighting. For him. For us. For my kids.

By the second day, he was beginning to mutter, “I can’t,” when we’d yell at him to fight. But we’d tell him he had to, and so he would do his best.

Each time, they’d get his blood pressure down enough to quiet the alarms, his heart rate down from 240, his oxygen level up enough to force the purple to subside.

He was packed in ice. The fever was so high and it wouldn’t come down. Not after days of endless antibiotics and doses of fever reducers so high I wasn’t sure it was safe. The fevers were 104, 105 — but he was freezing. Packed in ice, covered in nothing but a towel from his abdomen to his thighs, he was freezing. He’d mumble and moan for a blanket. We had to say no. His body couldn’t take any more heat.

The “episodes” were happening more frequently. By then, we knew when they were coming. I’d run into the hall and yell for help before the alarms would even go off.

By the third day, it was becoming apparent he wouldn’t be able to fight much longer. We were so grateful they never made us leave because we knew he’d have already quit if we weren’t there to push, but now what?

That night, my favorite nurse – the one who I credit with keeping him alive – said he wasn’t going to make it without the ventilator. They’d held off on that. It’s a last resort because when the body is as sick as his, pneumonia sets in quickly and then, well… But when the body is as sick as his, it needs help, too.

This was the first time we left his side during a critical time. We didn’t have to. They offered to allow us to stay. I took my mom’s hand and said we’d wait on the other side of the curtain.

I’m so glad I did. The sounds still haunt me. It wasn’t quick. And it was awful.

*****

That’s when I stopped feeling so confident when I would answer my mom’s regular question in the affirmative: “Laura, he’s going to be okay, right?”

We had a meeting with his medical team. I finally asked them directly: “Are you going to save him?”

One of the doctors told me yes, they were going to save him. He’s seen people just as sick – who weren’t as healthy to begin with – make it through this.

Still, we didn’t know what bacteria was causing it.

On the fourth day, they identified it. And it was bad. Very bad.

By then, I’d had my husband drop off some clean clothes for me – I’d worn that same dress I arrived in for three days – along with my laptop and my insulin. I’d have forgotten about the insulin if not for the alarms on my pump, telling me it was empty, reminding me I had four hours or so until I’d be a patient in the same hospital myself.

I googled the bacteria. And then I finally lost it. The immediate survival rate was grim.

“Bloodstream infections with xxxxx bacteria (XXXX) are one of the most serious infections in the hospital setting, a situation compounded by the increasing antibiotic resistance of xxxxx causing XXXX.”

The 30-day survival rate was less than 50 percent. Of those that survived initially, up to half would die in the year following.

I wanted him transferred to Mayo Clinic. I insisted on more meetings, plans. It was eventually determined that he’d probably die during a transfer. At about the same time, they determined he was likely to die anyway if they didn’t do something new.

We agreed to the paralytic. The risks were decent – limb death that would result in the need for amputation of affected limbs – but the alternative was worse.

So they paralyzed him, which stopped the “episodes” and gave the meds a chance to work. Because they’d finally identified the bacteria, they were able to scale down to a small handful of very strong antibiotics (with very unpleasant side effects).

The pneumonia began to set in. His kidneys began to show signs of damage from the antibiotics. We hoped it wouldn’t be much longer.

One the seventh day in the ICU, they determined it was time to take him off the ventilator. If you’ve ever been there for such an event, you know how bad it is.

Perhaps my issues with choking and feeling like I can’t breathe made it worse for me to watch. (I once pulled the camera that had been inserted down my throat out entirely during an endoscopy – that I was completely sedated for. I weighed 125 pounds. It took two nurses and the doctor to restrain me.)

But I think it’s pretty bad even if you don’t have any “issues.”

The circumstances of him regianing consciousness and the time following are not for me to share. Needless to say, they were traumatic for all of us and beyond horrible for him.

That was the first night my mom and I left the hospital and stayed at their house for some rest. It was the first time I’d slept in seven days. As it turns out, you can go seven full days without sleeping at all. I know this because I did it.

It was the first time I actually ate more than a few bites of food before throwing it all in the trash and mumbling, “I told them I didn’t want to eat.”

I’d lived off of coffee and tea, and once a day, hot chocolate so I could take a unit of insulin.

I still didn’t remember to take any of my medication that day, other than that insulin, thanks to the pump that would remind me.

The next day, the occupational and physical therapists began coming. They joined the never ending rotation of specialists. A few days later, he was moved into a stepdown unit.

Eventually, he was discharged with a PIC line, an in-home nurse that would come every day for three hours at a time, more medication than I could count and a list of instructions a mile long.

He was 58 years old. The only reason he lived through it was because he was healthy when it hit. He golfed almost daily and was incredibly physically active and in good shape.

Someone who was dealt a crappy health card in life — someone like me — would have been dead by the second day.

*****

He was 30 pounds lighter when he came home. He could barely walk from the couch to his bedroom. Their new house was very big – but not so big that one shouldn’t be able to make it from the sitting room to the bedroom.

He had horrible nightmares. He was in so much pain.

My husband, kids and I had to go back to San Diego. I came home sick, ragged, exhausted and traumatized. The night we got home, I started throwing up and couldn’t stop. I must have picked something up at the hospital on that last day. I slept on the bathroom floor, wedged between the toilet and the plastic trash can I clung to, grateful for the cool travertine.

My mom was a wreck.

On my fourth day back in San Diego, she called me. She said it was happening again. It was “coming back.”

She called the doctors, who said he just needed more time to recover. She took him in for the blood cultures. They went home while they grew out. He kept getting sicker, despite the intense and overwhelming doses of antibiotics that were coursing through the PIC line and that he was taking orally several times a day.

My mom lost herself on the internet. Eventually, she diagnosed my dad. My mom is highly intelligent, but she’s not a doctor. Or a nurse. Or a medical tech.

She figured out what was causing the sepsis from some obscure article online. My dad was on his way back to septic shock at that point. She found a surgeon who specialized in the area who would see him after reviewing his medical records. She arranged to have them sent.

I flew back to Arizona. And finally, my dad had the correct surgery. The correct surgeon removed the source of the infection.

*****

The following year was a long one for him. Many more surgeries. Long days, longer nights. The year after was long, too. And this one hasn’t been a picnic, but it’s better than the first one. And the second.

*****

I came home again – after the surgery following the ICU stay – and realized something was wrong with me. We lived in a gorgeous condo on the bay in Coronado. Given the location, we’d hear large trucks on the street and we were on the ambulance path.

A truck would pass, the windows would rattle just a little. I’d think we were having an earthquake. I’d stop breathing. My head would pound. I’d get light headed. I’d have to make a conscious effort to inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Things would get blurry. I’d start to imagine the tsunami that was about to follow the earthquake – the one that didn’t even happen.

My rational self would tell my small child, panicked self that there was no earthquake, no tsunami and oh, by the way, your dad lived. Calm down.

My irrational self would try to listen, but she wouldn’t understand. She’d become more panicked.

*****

I’d be outside on our deck, lounging in a chair with my laptop, enjoying the gorgeous views of the bay and downtown San Diego while the kids rode their little Cozy Coups about and giggled, enjoying their innocent lives.

The ambulance would pass. I’d get up to go look. I’d fall to my knees first. The tears would start. The nausea would set in. The breathing would become difficult. The feeling of impending doom would take over. I’d wonder if I was dying. The sirens wouldn’t stop. The sounds would get further away – just like reality. I’d get dizzy.

My rational self would tell the mess, lying in a heap on the deck, that everything was fine. That this was a result of what we went through. To get up, brush it off, do something before the kids notice.

*****

My doctor wanted desperately to put me on anti anxiety meds, but I already had enough of a mess to deal with after having unintentionally been off my other meds for lupus and thyroid and all of the other issues I have while I was sitting in the ICU. It had been one month, and I asked for one more. I told him it was more than anxiety and I needed to deal with it on my own.

I found a counselor just a block from our home. She diagnosed me with mild PTSD, which surprised me at first, but made complete sense. I will summarize my experience with her by saying that EMDR is truly life altering. I’m a skeptic, but I went in open and raw and it changed my life for the better.

I wish my mom would have done the same. She struggled for much longer than I did.

*****

Sepsis and septic shock are no joke. I shared a limited account of my dad’s experience from my perspective. I’m still not completely over it, but I’m okay enough. I don’t believe he will ever be completely over it, physically or mentally. The details of the story – and more importantly, the part that followed the initial part – aren’t mine to share. So I’ve shared my experience, which was nothing in comparison. And yet it was a lifetime, lived in a week.

My dad realized in retrospect that he knew he was sick. Hindsight is 20-20. But after the fact, he knew he was sick. For weeks. He brushed it off as allergies, then a cold, then some sort of mild and non-threatening infection.

He didn’t know it was something that would nearly kill him a hundred times over and change the rest of his life.

Sepsis remains the primary cause of death from infection despite advances in modern medicine, including vaccines, antibiotics, and intensive care. Sepsis, which is often misunderstood by the public as “blood-poisoning” is one of the leading causes of death around the world…

… Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if not recognized early and treated promptly. Between one third and one half of patients with sepsis die…

Sepsis causes more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. Globally, an estimated 20 – 30 million cases of sepsis occurs each year…

…Patients surviving sepsis have double the risk of death in the following 5 years compared with hospitalized controls and suffer from physical, cognitive and affective health problems…

Sepsis is often diagnosed too late, because the clinical symptoms and laboratory signs that are currently used for the diagnosis of sepsis, like raised temperature, increased pulse or breathing rate, or white blood cell count are unspecific. [Source: World Sepsis Day]

An Evening with Sepsis Heroes will occur on September 13.  Sepsis Heroes will take over Arena NYC to honor survivors, patient’s families, and healthcare professionals who have made meaningful contributions to raising sepsis awareness.

Educate yourself. It could save your life or the life of someone you love dearly.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Marijke September 11, 2012 at 5:35 am

Thank you for writing so clearly about what it is like to have sepsis and to watch someone you love go through it. I help Sepsis Alliance with its content and outreach. A very small group of people are making a big difference but so much more has to be done to raise awareness. Your piece will help that.

As a nurse, I’ve seen the effects of illness on the family. As what happened with you, they often forget to care for themselves as they worry and pray for their loved one. PTSD is not unusual and kudos to you to finding the technique (which I was very skeptical of at first too, but now find it to be almost miraculous) that works for you.

I often tell the people who submit Faces of Sepsis stories that sometimes the act of writing it out helps relieve some of the pain, frustration, anger, whatever emotion they have. And, by sharing stories, as you did, you may save a life.

Thank you.

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Nichole September 11, 2012 at 6:30 am

Stories like yours, where remaining clear headed and comitted to finding to real answers, send shivers down my spine. So many times over, you could have lost him.

Your words here will help someone, Laura, whether that someone makes mental notes of the signs and recognizes them one day and can act quickly or someone who is so desperately trying to find answers.

Well done, my friend.

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Charles Summerour September 11, 2012 at 7:59 am

Laura-

Thanks for sharing in such an insightful manner. Your clarity and understanding of Sepsis and the advice to everyone are right on target. It is hard to share the painful reality you described but your father is alive because you and your family willed him to good health and managed to get past the barriers of the medical community to insist on getting the proper care in a timely fashion. Best wishes to your father.

Charles Summerour
Sepsis Survivor 2002

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Sherri September 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

This gave me chills, Laura…and such an important thing for people to be aware of. Doctors aren’t always 100 percent on top of all symptoms, and we are sometimes the only people who know when a loved one just isn’t “right”.

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Karen Wall September 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

I would leave a longer comment, but I cannot stop crying. I am so sorry for all you went through dear friend. I am so glad that you and your sweet family are in a different place now. How brave of you to share your experiences here. Love you!

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Maureen September 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

Amazing, Laura. Wonderful, touching, responsible narrative. I’m just so sorry I had no idea you were going through this, and I wish I could have done something to help. Of course, back then I wasn’t too sure about baby wipes, either. But I would have Googled it! Thank you for sharing your story so others can learn and, hopefully, not hesitate to seek treatment or raise a flag if a loved one demonstrates these symptoms.

Phew. I am exhausted for you and your Mom – and in awe of you both!

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Nato September 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Laura,
Love you and your family, dear friend. I know this was probably incredibly difficult for you to write about, but that is what has always impressed me about you – your ability to talk/write about difficult things in the hopes of helping others. I’m so proud of you and hope to be as brave as you are.
XO Nato

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Tiffany September 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

Laura,
As a septic shock survivor, I cannot begin to thank you enough for your wonderful act of courage and bravery in writing this. Like your father, I very narrowly escaped death on multiple occasions several years ago – long before Sepsis Alliance or any common knowledge of sepsis at all. I fought alone in my recovery for many, many years until I found Sepsis Alliance just over 8 months after the organization formed. I can wholeheartedly assure you that you ARE helping others with this honest and candid post, as very rarely do family members share these thoughts. I am ever grateful for your dedication to promoting awareness on behalf of your father, and I am so thankful that you allowed Sepsis Alliance to play a part.
Blessings to you and yours, always…
Tiffany

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Amber September 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

What a terrifying thing! Thank you for your bravery in sharing this. I hung on every word. I’m so glad you and your dad are okay!

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Debbie in the UK September 13, 2012 at 10:36 am

I am just so grateful you all came through this. I remember it as such a terrible time. I know someone who had a small bite from some crawling insect whilst on holiday in France, he was a fit and healthy bloke and he died within days from sepsis. I knew what happened but did not know the whole story. Thanks for sharing xx

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mimi lam September 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm

OMG, thank you for sharing the details of this horrible illness, I had goose bumps as reading what you and your parents suffered throught this nightmare illness, and it is so frightenning that your Dad almost died. Thank God, and you, your mother, without all your love and dedications towards your father, he would not have survived. And thankyou for sharing this insights, you have brought awareness of this illness to people, and that will save many lives.

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Nicole September 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

So well written. Thank you so much for putting this traumatic event in your life into words so that others can learn from your experience. So glad you dad is doing better now.

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Joann Woolley October 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Such a difficult story to tell, Laura. I am glad you took charge. Our bodies give us a message and too often we ignore it. Many hugs to you and your family.

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B Teague April 1, 2013 at 2:16 am

Thanks you so much for sharing your experiece. My mother had sepsis and septic shock in 2011. She had a horrible experience in the ICU for 2 1/2 weeks before she passed. We miss her terribly. I think it was a blessing for her that she passed and was free of all the treatment and pain. It was horrible for her family who had to witness all the treatments she had to endure. I do believe had she survived she would have never been the same as she was before Sepsis and they said she probably would have to go to a long term nursing facility probably for the rest of her life. This is a horrible illness that I had never heard of before my Mom had it. I stayed with her the entire 2 1/2 weeks she was in the ICU and I think about it every second of every day since she passed.

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Trisha July 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

B,

My family is going thru the exact same experience as I write this. My dad had septic shock and has been in the ICU for 2 weeks. The doctors have suggested we make a decision in next couple of days to stop all life prolonging activity. It’s such a difficult decision. We want to give him every chance of survival, but the doctors told us the same that they told you about most likely having to go to a long term facility. He wouldn’t want that and we don’t want that either. What a painful experience this has been and seems likely to have a horrible ending. I can’t believe I might lose my dad. Its so incredibly sad. I never knew that much about cellulitis or sepsis before this. People need to be made aware of this fast killing condition so they can make the proper medical decisions for their loved ones.

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Bryan October 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

My father just passed from sepsis. After seven hard days of chemo he finally relaxed from that only to get sepsis. He only survived 2 days with it. My heart goes out to all battling that..

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Joyce Wagster May 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Thank You for sharing your dad’s story! We just lost our 87 year old mother to this on May 3rd and your story sounds so much like ours. It was a horrific 7 days before they finally said there was no hope.
She had been told a week earlier after going to an ER and an Urgent Care that she had a viral infection. That was on a Monday and Tuesday. By Thursday she could not lift her left arm and her neck was stick. Back to the ER and they almost dismissed her (though there would have been no way she would have gone home that night)

She was in so much pain and cried for me to help her and get her out of there. She talked to the Lord alot and even yelled out for her deceased sister to Please Come Help Her!

Her passing was peaceful and beautiful and God allowed us to see that she was going home with him – (we are writing an inspirational book about this) but for days we did not eat, we asked hundreds of questions, we too had a Guardian Angel ICU nurse and we were given hope and then bad news, hope and then bad news.

A horrific roller coaster ride and I cannot get over the agony and pain our precious and sweet mother had to endure…this will haunt me for the rest of my life!!!!

We were so close and she had endured two hip surgeries since the first one was botched with screws and she was doing so well after the 2nd surgery….51 years of volunteer work, loved church and her friends and family and had the mind of a 30 year old!!

We watched our mother turn into someone we did not know and while the antibiotics were working, sadly her legs and entire left side no longer moved and she could not speak clearly and her mind was gone…..

She had all the symptoms of a bacterial infection ( we ourselves are now educated on this) and not one doctor thought to test her…..just said it was probably viral!

Yes, she was 87 but she lived a full life and had a great mind!! God did have mercy on her because she would have been a vegetable and she never wanted that.

Like you I feel very traumatized by what I saw and heard and still feel we somehow shortchanged her life because we should have known more ourselves.

Her service was beautiful and she left us so many wonderful messages in her “Last Wishes” book and as I stated earlier, when she passed away, God allowed us to experience her body being healed by Him as He took her to heaven. It was so incredible.

Yet, we are left with the “what in the world happened” , “why didn’t doctors pick up on this earlier that week”, “why weren’t we more educated”

I have since become very familiar with Sepsis Alliance and since I am in music ministry and a public speaker, I will be educating the public more and more on Sepsis and Septic Shock!! People Need to know!

I am so glad your father survived and will pray for him and all of you as he continues to heal and deal with the aftermath of sepsis. Thank you for sharing……I needed to read this tonight.

Joyce

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Trisha July 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Joyce,

I am stunned that your story so closely mirrors what is happening with my dad right now who is in ICU. The roller coaster ride…….hopeful news, then bad news, then hopeful, etc.

Why didn’t the doctors act sooner, why didn’t we know more than we did…….it’s amazing. His own PCP told him it was just an abrasion, not cellulitis. 4 days later he was admitted to the ICU. My dad is 80, but full of life and the center of our family.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their story. I feel a little less alone in all this.

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Margy June 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I have just been through this with my dad. We lost him on May 29. Its hard living in this world without him. Every morning I wake up and remember he has gone. I ask all the same questions you do. Why didnt the doctors and nurses pick up something was wrong etc etc .
Its not a pleasant experience at all and it has been very traumatic for the entire family. All the best to you,
Margy

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Deborah May 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

My mother is 62 years old. She is currently in ICU with severe sepsis from pneumonia. It’s been 6 days. 40 hours ago, she stopped responding to our voices. She has kidney, liver, and lung failure. She’s on a ventilator, dialysis, and antibiotics. As well, she is on vasopressors to maintain her blood pressure. My family and I are getting the up-and-down, good news/bad news/ roller coaster ride.

She makes urine, we celebrate. She digests a little liquid food, we party.
Her fever won’t break… we cry. Her liver won’t profuse… we cry.

This satanic monster called sepsis came on with no warning. NONE.
I’m so angry, I don’t know what to do with myself. As I write this, I am home for the first time since this nightmare began.

And – although her doctors and nurses are kind and are taking excellent care of my beloved mother – they all just seem to be stuck in some kind of recorded loop “Let’s hope for the best” and “It’ll take time”. It has taken hours of internet research to discover that severe sepsis kills almost half of its victims and even if they do survive, will likely die within 5 years.

Why wouldn’t the hospital staff tell us the truth?! Giving us false hope is just cruel. Withholding these facts is (in my opinion) tantamount to lying.

I’m so frustrated and sad and angry and …. Oh, I don’t even know what I am.
I just know that I hate being at home where everything reminds me of her. I want her to recover and come home. I don’t know if my dad will survive for long if we do lose her.

This is torture. Horrible, nasty, cruel torture. I have to go now. I need to lay in bed and toss and turn until it’s time to relieve my dad at the ICU so he can come home and not sleep until it’s his turn again.

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Kerri June 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad your dad made it through this awful experience. I have just gotten my husband home from a step down home yesterday. He had sudden septic shock nearly 2 months ago. No warnings. His temperature was 108 in the ER and he was ventilated immediately for 5 days. Luckily, they found the infection source fairly quickly with a nuclear medicine study. Also, age was on our side as he is only 44. But he is a shell of who he was. 60 lbs gone in the 2 week hospital stay. He also cannot walk from the bed to the bathroom. His speech, arms, and hands are affected also. I hope in a year, he’s back to near normal. My heart just breaks as I see his frustration.

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Laura June 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Kerri, I am truly sorry that you’ve gone through this with your husband. I’m beyond thrilled that he made it through the awful, initial experience. I completely understand what you mean when you say he’s a shell of who he was. This might not help a lot right now, but give it time. It might take a lot of time, but I believe that you’ll see improvements. My dad was the same when he first came home. He’d lost so much weight and was so sick he was unrecognizable. He couldn’t care for himself. He was in very, very bad shape. He was in and out of the hospital for a time, too. He has had a LOT Of surgeries since the initial one, as he experienced unfortunate adverse issues from some of the medications. And we came close to losing him during a double knee replacement a year and a half ago. But each month, we could see improvements. He’s not the same as he was before the septic shock and I know he never will be, but he’s living a good life again and doing many of the activities he once enjoyed, like golfing regularly. He was 57 when it happened and I’m still shocked he made it through. So to see how far he’s come is encouraging. Like you said, your husband has age on his side. Give it time. And take care of yourself during his recovery process because it will take a toll on you. I will keep your husband and your family in my thoughts. Free free to email me any time if you just need to vent. Hugs.

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Christina June 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Thank you for sharing your story and for advocating for Sepsis Alliance. I had never heard of this group before reading your post and I’m so glad to hear of them now.

Over 3 and a half years ago I lost my dad to sepsis, only no one explained this mysterious illness to me or my family. While biking with my mom one day (they went about 20 miles; he was very active and in good shape after losing a lot of weight about 4 years prior) he had fallen and scraped his knee in the process. No one thought anything of it and they finished the ride and went home. That night he said he had a bit of a cough and would go to bed early after taking some cough syrup. An hour or two later my mom followed into the bedroom only to find him on his hands and knees trying to get to the bathroom after getting sick in bed and aspirating. He had become completely confused about his surroundings and wasn’t making any sense when my mom tried rushing him to the hospital. He had always been stubborn (and was worse so in his delirious state) and put up quite a fight, eventually requiring the sheriffs to come and insist that he get into the ambulance.

Upon getting to the hospital they found that his white blood cell count was 10% of what it should be, his blood pressure was ridiculously low, and his oxygen levels were way too low. They immediately rushed him to the ICU, put him on tons of antibiotics, and tried to get his BP and oxygen back to normal levels. Long story short, he passed less than 24 hours after being admitted to the hospital. He had developed pneumonia and suffered multiple organ failure due to septic shock and just couldn’t pull out of it.

The only thing worse than being only 19 years old and suddenly having your father taken from you like this, was not understanding how it happened. Not one doctor ever explained to my family what the words “sepsis” and “septic shock” actually mean. After an autopsy they told us that was definitely the cause but still never explained how it may have happened and how deadly it is and how fast it can take a loved one from you. Nothing made any sense and I didn’t even know what to tell people after saying the words “my dad just died”. Everyone wants to know what happened and I could only stammer through the events without ever really understanding anything myself.

It wasn’t until years later, quite recently actually (long after my family and I had come up with our own theories of what could have caused such a strange infection– assuming that it must have been inside of him for months and he just hadn’t been aware and hadn’t shown any real signs) that my mother was watching Dr. Oz and heard about the severity of sepsis. A couple told a story about their young son falling down at school one day, scraping his knee, and then becoming gravely ill that evening, only to succumb to the infection about 24 hours later. Their story echoed that of my family so much and things finally began to make some sense.

Learning about this has brought me some small amount of closure in the situation. It has really helped just to know that it wasn’t some “mystery virus” that took over my dad for reasons no one could explain. As sad as it may sound, it brought me some peace to know that he wasn’t the only person in the world that this had happened to. Of course I don’t mean that I was happy to hear that other families had similar heartbreaking experiences but at least I didn’t have to feel so alone and misunderstood anymore.

Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for helping to bring this illness into the view of the public. I wish that the facts about sepsis were more commonly known. If anyone can spot signs early and prevent the tragedy of septic shock then this would be an amazing gift but even if all this knowledge does is help explain things to a grieving and confused loved one, to let them know what has actually happened and that they are not alone, then it has also done a world of good. Thank you.

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Laura June 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Thank you so much for commenting, Christina. I’m really glad this helped you find Sepsis Alliance. I’m sincerely sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what the whole experience was like for you. I’m happy to hear you have some answers now and maybe a little closure from that, but I’m really sorry that you lost your dad. If you ever want to email me, feel free. Wishing you the best. – Laura

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dawn manson July 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm

i cannot believe that so many people suffer from sepsis lost my husband to it on 31 5 2013 they never found what caused it just put sepsis unknown origin and multi organ failure on death certificate
miss him so much he was only 49 and if only i knew about it then maybe i could have saved him he was in icu for four days then lost his battle .
he had also lost some limbs to this awful ilness and part of his face it is a horrendous thing and is so sad for family to come to terms with why is there not more posters and tv ads warning people to be aware of the symtoms

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Dee August 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

My family just went through this same prognosis with my mother on July 24, 2013. She lost the battle, it all surcomed within 24 hours. She was fine based on what she said just hours befre we had to rush her to the ER, with sudden onset symptoms. The hospital staff was very up front about this disease, and other underlying medical problems my mother had made her survival not to promising. Her underlying medical conditions made it more difficult to pull out of septic shock. My mother was 75 and turning 76 in 2 weeks. I am glad the medical staff explained to my family her chances with these complications which made our decision somewhat bareable to make. No one wants to lose their parent especially a Mother. Reading these stories made me realize how much better off my mother was not having to go through all the things that has been shared in these stories. And still she would have suffered and the outcome in the end stlll would not have been good for anyone.
Dee

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Diff August 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Im with my mom holding her hand on day 2 after she got septic shock from peretinitus as I write this on my phone. She is currently getting ready for dialysis. I am frantically searching the internet for information on septic shock. I know it wont help much but Im looking for anything that could help. Maybe something from her medical history before we brought her in coud help or maybe i can observe a change and let the doctors know what I noticed so they could treat her better. We try to communicate with her using an ipad while she is ventrilated since the onscreen keyboard is so big.

The one thing I did learn is that septic shock is low blood pressure. Blood pressure being so low that it cannot feed the organs. So the organs start to die off due to starvation. Though the article frequently comments on high blood pressure. Sepsis is a case by case basis but its not the bacteria I need to be worried about its my moms own immune system which is fighting a massive bacterial attack which is not there anymore. So I have to question. Do I trust the information here or not.

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Laura August 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I am very sorry that you’re going through this with your mom. I recall the desperate search for information that I did over all of those days my dad was in the ICU. To answer your question (if you’re asking about the info here in particular), please note that this is all anecdotal info – stories shared by myself and several people who have been through sepsis with a loved one (or for some people, it was their own experience). There’s no medical advice here to trust, as much as I wish we could offer you that.

(To note, my dad did have extremely low blood pressure in the very beginning – when we called the ambulance, it was so low that he was having trouble remaining conscious.)

I’m wishing your mom the best as she fights this.

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Wendy Lovett August 27, 2013 at 6:58 am

My dear Laura
I don’t know you but after reading your story I now feel we share such an amazing bond. I say amazing because we are survivors!!! I too went through something similar as your father in December of 1985. I have struggled with my aftermath of symptoms ever since. Not knowing and not bring able to find a doctor that understands my suffering. I was 27 years old and 5 months pregnant with my second child when the same things started happening to me. I was soon diagnosed with Septic Shock Syndrome. I remained in the hospital for nearing 6 months fighting for my life. It’s truly a Miracle from God that I am here today. I some how stumbled across the Sepsis Alliance a few weeks ago and now today your site. I want to thank you because now after almost 28 years I can put a name to my illness. I struggle with so many things every day. But now I have a group of people that understand me. I can’t tell you how people have made me feel over the years with the aftermaths of what happened to me. If I have heard “it’s all in your head” once I’ve heard it a million times. Once I heard about the event September 13 in NYC I have dreamed of going ever since. But because of my situation that will remain a dream. Thank you so much for all you and everyone else has done. I was 27 years old at the time with a 6 year old boy and a baby girl in the way. I lost the baby due to the sepsis but my bit is now 33 years old with a 3 year old of his own. I am so blessed!!!

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Lisa Griffin October 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

My mother is 71. She underwent surgery on 10/14/13 for ovarian cancer. That amounted to a full hysterectomy, removal of part of her omentum and resectioning of her small bowel. She feltmworsemand worse, vomited bile, felt extremely hot (from a woman who was always cold) and claimed she didn’t feel right. Liquids and soft foods were quickly vomited. NG tubes were inserted and removed. Concerns were rebuffed as “surgical pain.” Finally, on 10/23/13, they did a CT scan. On 10/25, they said she was suffering from severe periontonitis. Surgery revealed a ruptured bowel and sepsis. Rey removed 2.5 liters of fecal matter. She has made it thru the first “48 critical” hours. She has 12-14 IV bags and is on a vent and heavily sedated. She is inflated like a human ballon. She looks horrific. She should be home now and preparing for chemo. Now she is in a fight for her life. She survived Sandy – a huge tree fell on the house, right where she had been sitting moments before. The house is just starting to be repaired a year later after insurance nightmares. I hope and pray she survives, but cannot fathom how they missed what were apparently obvious symptoms. They give her a 50-50 chance of survival. My father spent 10/25, their 49th wedding anniversary, crying beside her bed. Every time I read an article, my hope fades. I hope she survives like all of you or your loved ones did. We have prayer circles around the world right now because hope and prayers are all we have. I don’t understand how in this day and age, this is so difficult to treat and discover.

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Wendy October 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Hey Laura,
My father has colon cancer. He was diagnosed August 2013. After 1 year of us pleading with him to go the Dr. HE finally agreed. Thursday early morning last week he asked my mom if she could drive him to the ER, he was in a great deal of stomach pain. So, of course she agreed and 2 hours later they said he was having pain from the colon cancer. They prescribed more pain pills and sent him home. At 1am he was screaming out for help and could not walk. HE fell to the floor with pain. So my mom dialed 911 and since then is in critical condition in the ICU. He isn’t responding to us. Yes the nurses and Dr says he is getting better. He had surgery Friday evening. Today, Sunday they were replacing the blood in his body. Flushing the poison and replacing. So, my question is… How is your father doing? How does he feel? Any advice or anything you can pass along to us to help with his care.

Thanks so very much for your story.
Wendy T

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Wendy October 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I forgot to mention that the Dr said he had Septic shock from the cancer.

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Lisa Griffin October 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

My mother, Marie Moore, is 71 years old. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and underwent a full hysterectomy on October 14. The surgery revealed that the cancer had spread to part of her omentum and her small bowel. The diseased part of the omentum was removed, and the bowel resected. My mother was in constant discomfort, and could not keep liquids or soft foods down without vomiting bile. Our concerns were dissuaded and written off as surgical pain. My mother had no strength and complained she “didn’t feel right.” Throughout this ordeal, they put in and removed an NG tube several times. No improvement. Finally, they did a CT scan on 10/23. That revealed a possible problem. Meanwhile, we were told all along that her blood counts were okay. On 10/24, we were told her white blood count spiked and that she had a ruptured bowel. She was rushed into emergency surgery that lasted just over 4 hours. The surgeon told us afterwords that my mother was suffering from severe periontonitis and septic shock. They removed 2.5 liters of fecal matter from her abdominal cavity. He said she had a 50-50 chance of survival. He also said that the first 48-72 hours would be the most critical. She was placed into a medically induced coma and a ventilator. She is still in ICU and has ballooned up – she’s scarcely 5ft tall and about 120 lbs. she looks 3-4 times her normal size, although today, the swelling seems down. Her kidneys are functioning enough that they decided against dialysis, and today introduced nourishment through a feeding tube. The doctors said they’re surprised she progressed this far. Her “numbers” are going up, which pparently refers to her blood and other counts. Yesterday, they reduced ventilation, but ran it again at night. Today, the infectious disease doctor said that her infection was subsiding and he was going to ease off the meds slowly. They plan to have her off the vent in the next few days. I’ve read a lot, as you can imagine, over the past few days. I am trying to be cautiously optimistic. We have so many people throughout the world, thanks to Facebook, who are praying for her. Each day she improves even a little, she’s beating the odds. As this progresses, we will share her story. God bless all of you who have survived, or lost a loved one to this horrific disease.

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Nichole November 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

Laura, I wanted to take a second and say Thank you for sharing.. I just lost my mommy 10/30/13 due to septic shock.. She to fought a hard fight, but with other health issues her body couldn’t fight no longer. I read your blog trying to find answers about what happened to her, cause I was so confused and still am. The hardest thing was when the Dr.s talked about a DNR after bringing her back twice they didn’t think she would have a productive life if they kept doing it.. But knowing what happened to her an in her memory I will keep you and your family in my prayers that your Dad,mom and you can continue the fight that you all are still dealing with.. God Bless you and your family..

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Laura November 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, Nichole. It’s a very confusing thing and the information offered always seems inadequate, it seems, based on our family’s experience and what I keep hearing from many others. I’m very sorry that your mom didn’t make it.

And thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them. Sending healing thoughts your way as you grieve.

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Esther December 8, 2013 at 5:39 am

My wonderful husband for 55 years died of septic shock caused my MERSA. When it was diagnosed, he was gone in five days. He had a defibulator inserted 3 weeks before. Was doing very well until he became ill. We went to the ER who transferred him to a different location, a branch of the same hopital were I lost him 5 days later. Thank you for your story.

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Laura December 16, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I’m truly sorry for your loss, Esther. I’m wishing you the best during this difficult time.

~Laura

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Busi April 17, 2014 at 8:59 am

my mum is currently in ICU right now.I know God will heal her, thank you for sharing.

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mark May 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

My girlfriend is in the hospital for a month now with sepsis. She is reaciving a heavy dose of antibiotic. The doctor said that she is doing well her bp is at 100/80 but her temperature is still at 38 degree celcius and had some trouble in breathing. Its was hard for me because that i couldnt take care of her because im in the othet side of the world, but i know she fighting and God will help us. Please pray for roxanne dela cruz for her speedy recovery. Amen.. thanks..

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tracy August 6, 2014 at 12:07 am

Thank you!

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Deborah August 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I went to the doctors on July 25, 2014 after being sick for over 3 weeks, just not getting better. That day I called the dr at 10:30 in the morning, my appointment was for 2:30. As the day went on, the sicker I got, tried to get out of bed and went right to the floor, called my granddaughter to come stay with me in the bedroom, even said to her, maybe I should go to the er, but waited for my appointment. I laid on the floor until my appointment at 2:30. I could barely make it to the car. When we got to the doctors, I had my granddaughter drop me off and I sat and waited for her. We , then went into the doctors, I told them I needed to be seated ASAP before I would pass out, they sat me down and got me a wheel chair. Then they took me into the room, I couldn’t sit on the bed, I had to lay down, by then, things got kinda of fuzzy, there were many drs in the room talking, then the dr said to me, I’d be better off in the hospital, that they called the ambulance. Was admitted for 6 days, was told I had pneumonia. When I got home I was looking over the discharge papers and noticed it said I was admitted for septicemia and under health problems, one of them was sepsis. The hospital never told me I had sepsis. I thought I just had pneumonia. When i went for a follow up, I asked the doctor, he said sepsis is blood Posion in the blood and I had the worse kind of pneumonia you could have and I still have pneumonia.

I never got a straight anwser on what I really had, only what the discharge papers said. Been a few weeks since I have been home, still don’t feel good, my oxygen levels drop into the 80s when I get up, can’t sleep cause I can’t breath. I tell the doctors this and they say it could be months before you feel better. All I know is I want to feel better and it feels like I am getting worse. Can the sepsis come back? Doctors told me I’d be fine. I dont know what to do. Your story sounds so much like mine. Well, I hope your dad is feeling better. Praying for everyone!

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agency management systems September 30, 2014 at 3:20 am

thank you|

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Doc Martin December 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I spent a month in an induced comma and 11 months later I still have the headaches and other issues and I cannot get a Dr. to get me back on track. I just receive more drugs. Can you help?

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Jacky December 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm

We are on the 4th day with my father. We haven’t lost out faith although we did have to make the decision of amputating his right leg for a chance of survival. He is heavily sedated right now. Roller coater info with doctors. They still don’t know what’s causing it. They are very shocked at his BP & HR. They are just as shocked as my dad they exclaimed. They say he is putting up the best fight they’ve seen. He is only 50 and I know GOD is talking to him right now telling him it’s not time for him to come to his heavenly home just yet, your family needs you Rudy. I know my dad is listening to us even while being heavily sedated I know he’s there telling us he’s okay he’s just resting for a bit. Please god I come to you and proclaim my love for my father please do not take our ANGEL he needs to live his life. He isn’t ready I promise you.

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Jayme December 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

I lost my mom in 2011 from sepsis. Thank you for telling your father’s story. It was very difficult to read the.things she was possibly going through, bit it helped more than you know.

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Raelene December 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Thankyou for all your heartfelt and touching stories. I’m so glad I came across these special stories as I don’t feel so alone anymore.
I went down with septis on Mother’s day close to three years ago. At first I thought I had a bad case of the flu and spent two days in bed shivering, vomiting, hallucinating and sweating something terribly. After I started to get chronic pains in the stomach I said to my husband I think it’s time to take me to hospital. Luckily they acted quickly and took bloods which showed my system was highly toxic. They were injecting morphine into my stomach and started me on many iv antibiotic drips. I stayed in hospital for ten days. Not once while I was in hospital did they tell me how close I was to dying. They sent me home with a certificate off work for two weeks. (what a joke) I had lost 6kg and was so weak, there was no way I was going to be back at work.
It wasn’t until I visited my local GP that she informed me how sick I had been and that the toxic levels in my blood were the highest she had ever seen. She couldn’t believe I was alive. Before septis I had been suffering with the occasional dip of anxiety and depression due to hormonal shifts. Life was liveable and I could handle the dips rather well. Since septis the anxiety has been absolutely life altering, it is an absolute nightmare. Doctors don’t seem to be able to tell me what is going on. It’s ruining my life. I’m just wondering does anyone know of this happening to anyone else who has had septis and what they have done to get help. My life just isn’t the same and I cry for my old self. I have just had a couple of months where things have been a bit easier but its back again with a vengeance. Not a nice way to be for Christmas. I have a feeling that septis may have thrown me deeper into perimenopause/menopause. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. September the 13th will always have a special place in my heart. Love to all xxxxx

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CANDACE April 11, 2015 at 5:44 pm

THESE ARTICLES HELPED ME SO MUCH ..’MY 61 YEAR OLD SISTER-IN-LAW IS GOING THROUGH THIS AS I WRITE … SHE HAD HER BOWEL REMOVED , BECAUSE DRS SAID IT WAS DEAD , AND SHE COULD NOT USE BATHROOM ….. AFTER SURGERY SHE JUST KEPT GETTING WORSE , AND NOW IS ON A VENILATOR FOR THE PAST 5 DAYS … THEY TOLD MY BROTHER SHE IS IN KIDNEY FAILURE AND WILL REMAIN ON VENTILLATOR ….. PRAYERS PLEASE ….

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vishal June 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Yes , I lost my dad due to same disorder….
He was diabetic from last 25 yrs dependent on insulin shots twice a day , he was not able too walk also before 3 months back from his death . my father multiple organ failed, as well as brain damage , kidney failure, when he was dead his eyes was opened ! This is too dangerous infection ! I prey to god that no one suffer from this not even my enemies! I have seen that how our life has been changed sudden ! I always remembering my papa in my daily prayers ! I love you dad from d bottom of my heart ! HAppY FaTHerS DaY ! I know you are in heaven stay blessed happy ! I will meet you there soon ! Love you sooo much ! Misss you always! MMmmmmmmUuuuuuAaaaaaaHhhhh

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tracey September 19, 2015 at 6:21 am

My dad as just died from sepsis watching him die was so difficult n the hardeset thing i have ever done i held his hand n told him how much i loved him i dont know if he could hear me but deep down i think he knew i was there i was with him till the end but i still want him back so much he was a diabetic sepsis takes over so quickly his kidneys failed then within an hour he had multipal organ failure love u always dad c u again one day xxxxx

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Jaclyn Voigt December 17, 2015 at 9:02 pm

My husband is currently fighting for his life from septic shock. His kidneys and liver took a hard hit. 1p days in ICU and the septic shock hit after already being in the hospital for 2 days. Your article hit home due to the removal of organs.. Paralytic…etc. He is slowly improving but due to the liver failure he is not clotting his blood. He may now have a very rare immune disorder called HUS. Thank you for sharing

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janet December 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm

I just got out of the hospital with septic shock they said i was really bad blood pressure was 70/40 alsoDont remember much the only thing i want to know can this happened to me again im 55 years old

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Debra January 9, 2016 at 9:59 am

Sorry to hear about all the terrible sepsis stories. The 1st one is very close to home since I live in AZ also. I am going thru hell & so is my family. I will try to makes a almost 9 year nightmare story as short as possible. I had a 5 procedure colo-rectal surgery & gun together.. None of it should have been done. It has ruined mine & my families lives cause I actually made it thru but really don’t know how I am alive! On day 2 I got 102.6 fever it was not treated other then tyleonal. Was discharged day 5.Got ileous & a partical small bowel obstruction 5 days post -op. Within 24 hrs back in hospital another 5 days. they were flushing me with IV’s so fast they blow my kidneys.( did not tell me) Stage 2 kidney failure released me from the hospital now 10 days post- op could not keep any normal food down. I was releases with 16 lbs. of edema. No NG tube was used. I felt like I was dying when my family called one of the 2 surgeons they could not be reached. They called my pcp he said can you get her to my office. He did not go where the surgery was done. When I got to his office he took a urine sample & said my kidneys weren’t functing normal & he would have to readmit me. Now I am not in the hospital where the surgery was done 2 days still could not eat but tiny bit of mash potatoe. They got the fluid out discharged me. All the while I was in terrible pain kept impacting. The surgeons PA kept feeling my family to have me take edemas laxatives over night. As many as needed to go. Leading up to sepsis 6 weeks got 105.8 fever. My family took me back to the ER where the surgery was done 30 mins from my home so couldn’t go by ambulance. They did not pack me in ice was in there about 10 hrs. Ctscans MRI, iv’s I coiulkdbearly keep my eyes open. When my son went to follow the doc shge said get back in the bay where ypour mom is. I never saw the 2 docs that operated on me. I don’t have a daughter NY 2 sons were to nice. After 10 hrs they got the fever down to 101 lied to my family said I had a bladder infection. I could not talk but I knew something was very wrong cause I never had a bladder infection in my life & they did not take !my urine direct they took it out of a bed pan. Which has at least 19 bacteria’s on it. I got home & couple of hrs latter went back to 105. I stayed like that till the morning of DAT 3. Wgewn my son called the gun doctor couldn’t still reach the colon surgeon he said ” she is out of the hospital now call her PCP. My son said he ius not where the surgery was done. The Dr would not do anything. So he called my PCP he thpoufght they re admitted me 3 days earlier where the surgery was done. Almost 9 yes ago the PCP was ablke to calltge hospital ahead & tell them I was coming . when I got there they were are have to admit byou. My PCP tpoksd mne you have no potassium or protein in your bony & that he never saw this before he didn’t know how I didn’ t get a major heart attack!! He was not calling any one in so I knew a friends general surgeon @ that hospital& knew I WS in trouble cause my body would just slide down to the foot oif the bed & I could not grab the side rails to pick myself up. The general surgeon came in & called GI specialist in. He said in front if my two sons ” I will get you out oif an acute state but I know & wodrkef with the colon surgeon that operated on you & I want nothing to due with this case when you get discharged. When you feel like you are dying I Kew I was in trouble but you must want some one to save your life. Another 7 days in the hospital allIV antibiotics they got me eating little bits of food in couple of days. My GM’s were like blood red jello!!! When I was released I needed a Walker I was so weak I could not get off the bed & walk. Something else was wrong.It felt like some one hit underneath my tailbone

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Terry December 6, 2016 at 1:41 pm

6 December 2016

I have read these way too many way too similar stories. My heart aches for each one of you going through this yourselves or with a loved one. How we take our good health for granted until it eludes us. Sepsis and Septic Shock Syndrome is an insidious infection that catapults one into a truly unknown journey. I am Laura’s mom. I was unable to read her entire story until today (I happened upon it), when I read each of your stories. Recovering from sepsis is a long progressive, journey. Laura’s dad still has days that will come over him where he feels unwell. Those days, most thankfully are fewer and further between. When they occur, I remind him to rest his body (he powers through more than he ought to some days). Eat well on a regular basis and by well I mean foods that will help your body and exercise to the best of your ability on any given day. I wish there was a magic pill that would work for you or your loved one. These stories have given me even more insight into my husbands journey than I have walking it daily with him…sometimes one cannot see the forest for the trees. Blessings on all of you who have walked and continue to journey through this illness. One never knows the miles walked in another’s shoes.

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