My Sepsis Survival Story

On a sunny day in July 2017, I found myself being sent to hospital for what I thought was the common cold. But was it?!

I have always been pretty haphazard with my health. I wouldn’t say neglectful, but I only ever see a doctor if I feel like I’m dying. Ironically, in this case I was. Having gone to see a doctor for an upset stomach, crazy temperature changes and intense body pain over a span of three days, I assumed I was going to be given antibiotics and be sent on my merry way back to bed.

Except, my doctor had other plans, when he called me an ambulance with a bit of a panicked expression on his face. He went on to say that my fever was 42 degrees, my heart rate 150 beats per minute and my blood pressure low. Now as I type this, I think WOW that is really serious but, at the time I was so out of it I just nodded along like some brainless zombie.

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I was wheeled into Accident & Emergency where I was given my own room straight away. Besides the severity of my situation I found myself hoping the paramedic would push me super fast in the wheelchair so I could finally have my Mario Kart moment. However, I was in too much of a dazed state to make such a request :(.  A few bottles of blood were taken, and the rest was just a waiting game. Not long after, I was told I needed to have a cannula inserted because I’d need some fluids. I’ve never really been the squeamish type, so having the cannula inserted wasn’t really a huge deal. I only wished that they had inserted it into my left hand so I could actually wipe my butt without complex hand gymnastics (this is a pro tip from future me in this hospital experience). I had now been in hospital for about two hours and besides the fluids no one had told me what was wrong with me. Was I carrying the first strain of evil zombie virus that would slowly take over the world?!

A nurse came to move me an hour or so later into the CDU (Clinical Decisions Unit) where I had my own room. My room screamed miserable, it was windowless (probably so my evil zombie germs remain contained) and the only thing on the wall was a sad painting of a bench with equally sad sunflowers around it. I had now been in hospital all morning and some of the afternoon, when a doctor finally came into the room. Besides having a majestic beard, he gave me no update on what was wrong with me, but did ask me if I had any allergies. Having no known allergies besides leaving my bed on Monday mornings, he informed me I would be having some antibiotics through an IV line.

As the new antibiotics entered my system, I felt a lump forming in my throat, whilst it also felt like someone had set my head on fire. I pressed the alarm to get a nurse into the room, who then looking quite panicked told me I was having an allergic reaction. I remember thinking ‘haha how ironic, I’m dying from what is supposed to be fixing me, WHY WORLD, WHY?!’. She quickly stopped the flow of medication and informed a doctor who put me on a different kind. But the damage was done, my body was covered in sexy red hives, and my face had swelled up like I had suddenly become part puffer fish. Who needs Botox when you can have an allergic reaction? 😉

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The nurses had now become my new best friends, and they monitored me every half an hour. Though, part of the deal was having four bottles of blood taken from me every hour. A small price to pay for life long friendship, eh? It was now the evening, and I had been on the antibiotics for two hours. I felt so cold, and found myself shivering like I was skinny dipping with polar bears in Iceland. I asked the nurse for more blankets to which she said ‘You aren’t really cold, your fever is at 41 degrees!’ She then proceeded to steal my only blanket and also told me to take my thick jogging bottoms off.

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As I did, she burst out laughing when she realised I was wearing another pair of leggings underneath. She then set her heat hating eyes on my socks, and proceeded to tell me off when she realised I was wearing two pairs. Disclaimer: I had woken up feeling so groggy and light headed before going to the doctors in the morning I put on some mildly socially acceptable clothes over my pyjamas. However, the nurse was not done with me yet! She undid my patient robe and proceeded to sponge me down with a freezing cold towel.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t her biggest fan at this point, but after half an hour of non stop cold towel, I felt slightly better.

End of Part One, there is more to come!