Monthly Archives: August 2014

Recovering from Sepsis. An extremely slow process.

Anyone that has had a massive infection run riot through their body will tell you they are nothing compared to what they used to be.  A previously active and upbeat person will seem to have a total personality change.  The person recovering from Sepsis will be easily fatigued, dizzy, nauseated, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and sweating more than normal.

This is what I am experiencing.  Two weeks ago, when we first got home, we had to go to the grocery store.  I didn’t make it very far in the store and had to find a place to sit down before I passed out.  A week later, and another trip to the grocery store, I was able to make it through the store with the aid of a shopping cart to support my wobbly self.

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping

Joe is in front of me with the main cart while I bring up the rear.  For the first time in several years….Joe walks faster than I do.  Normally I am far ahead and have to wait for him to catch up to me.  Now it is the other way around.  And of course, there was no way I was going to ride one of those motorized carts around the store :/  By the time we were finished with the small amount of shopping we had to do I was totally wiped out.

Nauseous, headache that would not go away, falling asleep in the car on the way home (a two mile drive), and my body felt weighted down.  Kind of like in that nightmare dream phase when you can’t run away from whatever monster is chasing you.  Once inside the house I had to go sit down for a while.  Joe brought in the groceries and put most of them away.

There were no further adventures for the remainder of the week.

At home I go through periods when I feel energized.  Feeling like my old self again.  Ready to take on a small cleaning chore.  Let me tell you….there are NO SMALL CLEANING CHORES!

Joe’s bathroom needed to be cleaned.  This small bathroom took me about 5 hours to only get it half finished.

Joe's bathroom

Joe’s bathroom

Cleaning the toilet took me an hour to do.  Stooping over to clean the base and the floor around it made me light headed, dizzy, and nauseous.  I squirted a bowl cleaning product in the toilet and left it to do its work while I went to lie down until I didn’t feel so ill.  Swishing out the toilet bowl and wiping down the seat and tank left me drenched in sweat and wobbly on my feet.  Just cleaning the toilet made me feel like I had done an aerobics class.

Cleaning the sink, mirror, and door of the cabinet was the last thing I got done in that bathroom.  The tub still has not been cleaned and I’m not even sure it will get cleaned in the near future.

While I was in Arizona, Home Depot had a mega sale on the Shark Steam Mop.  I picked up one for $48.  That device normally sells for $70 to $100.  That was before I became ill and had all kinds of pleasant thoughts of cleaning my home.

Shark Steam Mop

Shark Steam Mop

I used the Shark Steam Mop on Joe’s bathroom floor.  It did a great job and I was quite pleased with the results of the mop.  Not so much with the results of my physical abilities afterward.  That was the end of my 5 hour cleaning stint and it took me three days to recover from that.

The nausea hits me at the oddest times.  When I get warm, go outside in the sunlight, or exert a bit of energy.  Following the nausea comes a headache that begins at the base of my skull and moves to the top of my head.  This headache remains for several hours and will sometimes make my vision blurry.

Another thing I am experiencing is not quite a depression, but a frustration with myself.  I will feel really great.  I will feel like there is nothing wrong with me.  Do something that entails a little exertion and I get overwhelmed with fatigue and then feeling sick to my stomach followed by a headache.  This is really frustrating.  I don’t want to spend my days sitting on my butt and doing nothing!

I have lost interest in doing my craft stuff because I just can’t muster the strength to even think about being creative.  That really has bothered me.  I have had moments where I feel great and think I could gather a few things together and make a card.  The process of gathering items together to make the card is just as hard on me, physically, as cleaning the crazy toilet!

I thought, how about doing something for myself.  Do a bit of grooming and put on some makeup to make myself feel better.  What used to take about 5 to 7 minutes from this face….

My bare face.

My bare face.

To this face took 50 minutes to do.  A lot of fanning myself between product applications to stop the sweating and heart palpitations.  Thankfully no dizziness or nausea.

Made up face

Made up face.

So, recuperating from Sepsis – even though mine was caught in time – is enough to make me feel really frustrated and wonder if I’m going bonkers.

IMG_9292

Today I had a burst of energy and decided to clean my kitchen counters and stove.  This is only as far as I got in 25 minutes before I was brought down to reality.

Trying to clean my kitchen

Trying to clean my kitchen.

The photo is out of focus and wobbly because I was battling myself to stay upright, breathe, and conquer the dizziness.

What I’m learning about Sepsis recovery is that it is not like exercising at the gym or working out.  Pushing yourself just a little further each day to go further or go longer “Ain’t Gonna Happen”.

When I feel I have good energy and want to do something, even vacuuming the floor, is the time to make an effort.  Take the time necessary to sit out the dizzy spell and the nausea.  If it takes an hour to vacuum the floor then take the hour and call your day DONE!

Drink A LOT OF WATER!  Don’t get hot.  If going outside in the hot sun makes you feel sick then just don’t go.  I think my having been dehydrated and having Heat Exhaustion along with the Sepsis has made me more intolerant to the heat than normal.

When a headache starts, after the nausea, get sat down or lie down until it passes.  Exerting more energy and pushing yourself further to complete a task will do your body more harm and lengthen the healing process.

I have been working on this blog post for three days now.  Updating it and adding stuff to it as I go.  It is time to get this uploaded and hopefully help someone else who is going through this know that they are not alone in the frustration and feeling like a fraud when we tell our family members that we just don’t have the energy to do something.

Leslie

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At home – recovering from Sepsis.

Sepsis is a bacterial infection in the body that can, and does, kill people.  The infection is caused by many different factors.  A hospital stay, after surgery, untreated bug bites, animal bites, and in my case a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

Sepsis is NOT something to be taken lightly.  Sepsis can cause serious damage to the internal organs and it can lead to the amputation of legs, feet, hands, arms, or all of the limbs.  The death rate from Sepsis is quite high.

 

I am grateful for my husband, Joe, and our daughter, Loreli, who is an ICU Trauma Nurse for getting me the medical care I needed to fight this infection and live through it with minimal effects.

I will tell you my story, in hopes that it will help someone else in the early stages to get proper medical care before the worst of this infection can take hold and cause irreparable damage or lead to death.

I was in Arizona with our daughter who delivered twins on Father’s Days – June 12, 2014.  I spent a month with her and our son-in-law as they dealt with getting to know their two sweet daughters and being first time parents.  It was a delight to hold and care for these two precious babies and pass on some of my experience to these bewildered kids.  My main function was to do the cooking and cleaning to allow Carissa and Jaime the freedom to care for these new babies.

While in Arizona, I did not drink water as much as I should have.  Being outside with their cute little dog to take care of his business, sweep the porch of all the falling leaves from the surrounding trees that took over the cute little porch area caused me to sweat a lot.  I did not take care of myself in that unforgiving heat.

Leaving Arizona and heading back home to take care of laundry and few other things before Joe and I set out to get back into our truck driving job for a couple more months I still was not hydrating myself with water.  Working in the heat and humidity of Dallas, Texas in the hot sun doing further damage to myself by not hydrating properly I developed a Urinary Tract Infection.

Treating myself with cranberry juice from truck stops and finally trying to hydrate myself with water was mostly “Too Little Too Late”.  I had a 10 day period of trying to fight off the UTI myself, which only caused it to worsen.  It got to the point that I was leaving blood spots when I used the facilities.  My kidneys were shutting down from this severe infection.

After we delivered our second set of trucks from Dallas, Texas to Wilmington, Ohio and making the return trip for the third set I began having intense pain at my right kidney.  So much pain that it became a burning sensation from my hip to my shoulder on the right side.  Most of the heat and pain was located at my right kidney or “Right Flank” in medical terminology.

We stopped in Effingham, Illinois for the night.  I don’t remember much of the events of that evening.  By this time the Urinary Tract Infection had turned to Sepsis and I was in deep trouble.

I was cold.  I had the shivers.  A bad case of the shivers where my entire body shook in rapid convulsive waves and I could not stop it.  I remember shivering so badly and just wanting to go to bed and get under the covers to warm up.  My next memory is of three men in our room all trying to wrap me in the bed sheets and move me somewhere.  I thought they were trying to roll me up in the bed clothes and kill me.  Joe had called an ambulance for me and it was the EMT’s that were doing their job.  The next thing I remember is being wheeled down a few halls and taken into a room for a CT Scan and a chest X-Ray.  I woke from time to time when my blood pressure was being taken or someone drew blood.

My medical diagnosis in the hospital was SEPSIS, UTI, AMS, HEAT EXHAUSTION.  I was admitted to the ER on Friday night, 8/1/14 and discharged Sunday morning 8/3/14.  Because of the quick actions of Joe, the urging of our daughter Loreli to call for an ambulance, and the medical treatment I received at the hospital I can tell you that I was extremely fortunate in the care I was given.

As to this severe infection, it caused me to hallucinate or be in an “Altered Mental State” or AMS.  According to Joe I began acting very strange.  I called  him “Karen” instead of Joe.  I told him there was a man with gold front teeth that wanted to trade his teeth for my front teeth.  He also told me that I was combative with the EMT’s who came to our hotel room.  I would not allow them to get me on the stretcher and into the ambulance.  Joe tells me that I kept telling all of them I did not need to go to the hospital.  Once in the hospital I continued to be combative with the doctors and nurses telling them  I was fine and didn’t need medical attention for a Urinary Tract Infection.

I don’t remember any of this.  I do remember going into deep sleeps that seemed to be for long periods of time.  The bed I was on in the hospital room had an alarm that sounded with I stood up.  That brought several nurses running to the room and all of them were pushing me back onto the bed and telling me I was not to get out of bed for any reason.  Using the bathroom required the use of the nurse call button, being steadied by strong hands when I stood up and walked.  I had to be supervised in the bathroom and my return to the bed.

I was given about six bags of saline via IV during my hospital stay.  I was also given two to three antibiotics administered via IV and a Sulfa drug antibiotic upon release from the hospital.

I’m weak, and easily tired.  There is not much physical activity I can do that won’t make me extremely tired and in need of a nap.  For the past seven days I have been out of bed most of the day.  This is going to be a long period of recuperating and getting my strength back.  Bouts of dizziness and nausea claim me when I try to do too much.  I am drinking nearly a gallon of water daily along with juices and Gatorade like products.

Today is the first day that I have felt like doing more than napping and watching television.  I won’t be back on this blog for a while, at any consistency, because I just can’t seem to muster the energy necessary.

The only thing I have wanted to do was to inform my readers of the very real problem of getting an infection and not getting it treated properly or in time.  You can find all kinds of horror stories on YouTube by doing a search for Sepsis and watching the videos of those that have “Survived” Sepsis.  I did not think this was much of anything to be concerned with, and I am extremely thankful and grateful for the intervention of Joe and Loreli to get me the medical attention I needed very badly.

Leslie