It’s interesting to me when I look back at the previous post talking about the dark times, little did I know that I was going to be thrown into my own little abyss later that night when I was admitted to hospital with sepsis, a little known but lethal condition causing 44,000 deaths per year. This is more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined but not everyone knows what it is.
Unbeknownst to me, I had developed a kidney stone which blocked my ureter causing urine to stagnate and the kidney to swell. The kidney infection travelled to my bloodstream causing septicaemia and my body started to attack itself in a condition called sepsis. I felt utterly dreadful – unbearable pain, shivering, high temperature, vomiting, terrible colour and no urine output.
I was shocked at how quickly it took hold and very soon I was unable to maintain my blood pressure and needed extra support to stay alive. It was an uncertain time for my family and difficult for my children to see me in such a condition. A central line was inserted into my jugular vein in order to administer life-saving antibiotics, an arterial line in order to measure blood gases and a peripheral drip to give me fluids to raise my blood pressure. When the body has shut down, it’s very difficult to find veins so all of these procedures were deeply traumatic.
A catheter was inserted to measure my limited urine output and oxygen to help me breathe. The care I received in the High Dependency Unit was exemplary and I am very grateful for the support of the staff and the medical team. I was in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital for just over 2 weeks before being discharged home.
I am now two months down the line after a long stay and I’m getting there but very slowly. It takes longer than normal to do my day-to-day activities and I have a brain fog that hasn’t lifted. I am listening to my body and taking it easy, building up my walks daily so I can get back to the healthy person I was before all of this happened.
I wanted to write this short post, firstly to raise awareness for Sepsis and to thank the Sepsis Trust for their fantastic literature which has really helped me in these early days. Sepsis can happen to anyone of any age and I wanted to take the opportunity to raise awareness of this condition. It can start in a number of ways from a urine infection to a chest infection, in the early days post-partum or through a cut that doesn’t heal.
Could it be Sepsis?
I’d like to raise awareness of this condition so that others can seek help as soon as possible. I can’t stress enough how quickly it can take hold and prompt treatment is vital.
The symptoms can be memorised by using the following:
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine in a day
‘I feel like I’m going to die’ (feeling of doom)
Skin mottled or discoloured.
One of the things that have surprised me is the lack of education and post sepsis care when I was discharged. I know that leaflets cost money and professionals are very busy, but some signposting about sepsis, and what to expect on discharge would have been very helpful to me. I found the Sepsis Trust by searching the internet and I was very glad I did.
The Sepsis Trust leaflets are clear and easy to understand and it’s been great to read so you can prepare yourself for post-sepsis recovery which can take up to 18 months.
So that’s my story so far. I will be following up this post with some reflections on my journey and the life tools that got me through but I thought I’d start with a short introduction to explain why I have been off the scene for a while. I’m looking forward to writing again and sharing my thoughts with you.