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.