The Blade

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We danced,

We swayed and we laughed until we reached the end of time, on the tip of a jagged blade.

Promises misplaced, rivulets of saltiness laid to waste,

All for what?

A simple taste of a nectar sweet,

Even for a split moment,

Back to bitter, the place where we both reside but shall never meet.

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Figuring out my hair loss.

Before my doctor could even ask me why I was here to see her again, I whipped out a bag full of hair and placed it on her desk. Wide eyed, she looked at me confused while she opened it. She looked at me, shocked. I looked her dead in the eyes and confirmed that it was all the hair that had fallen off in the matter of a week and a half.

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This is an accurate expression my doctor had at the time!

Her theory was, the restricted diet meant I wasn’t getting enough Iron, and therefore combined with the side effects of Sepsis, my hair was falling out like crazy. To confirm what my Iron levels were, she scheduled me in for a blood test. Taking advantage of the appointment, I also asked how long I was expected to be on a restricted diet for. She looked at me, and just responded with ‘technically, indefinitely…until you’re better’. Having no idea what to say to that, I thanked her as she booked me in for the test. As I left, I felt a slight wave of relief that SOMETHING was being done.

As I called my best friend to tell him about what had happened during the appointment, I also vented about how sick I was of seeing my GP. I then proceeded to joke saying it felt like I was in a sour relationship with my doctor. You know, we didn’t quite see eye to eye, or understand each other’s feelings. Our relationship had only just hit the two month mark, so there was hope yet. Got to try and make these things work, ladies and gents!

So, not long after, I got my blood tests done. The rest was just a waiting game, and watching my hair fall out. I felt like a tree shedding its leaves during winter, except I’m not a tree, and this was just a sad time for me *boo*. I got a phone call a day or two later, asking me to come in to the clinic to discuss my results. This meant, that something was wrong. Usually, if there is no issue with blood test results, you will not be called in for further discussions. I felt a bit stressy thinking about it, but tried to stay positive.

This was now me and my GP’s sixth ‘date’, and it was NOT going well. I still don’t understand what she meant by this, but she explained that I had low Iron levels. Apparently, I had sufficient amounts within my blood, but not a lot in the stores? I put the ? cause I still have NO IDEA what she was on about. My GP was not the best at explaining things *sighs*. I guess I should have known we were incompatible *sheds a tear*

I was prescribed some Iron tablets to take everyday to prevent me from becoming a fully blown Anemic, and to stop my hair loss.

DISCLAIMER: If you do NOT want to read about my poops, look away now *haha I really have no shame after being in hospital, sorry not sorry*. I’m just saying, my GP failed to mention that these tablets would:

  1. Cause my poop to be the colour of the devil’s soul *Pitch BLACK*
  2. Constipate me to the moon and back! I’m sorry but, I get bored sitting on the toilet, how do people stay in the bathroom for so long?!
  3. Also, that there’s all kind of rules to make sure the tablets get absorbed well by your stomach that you should stick to. WHYYYY?!
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No Comment. *Haha*

After a few weeks of constipation, I did notice a reduction in the amount of hair fall. I looked in the mirror feeling slightly better, but the loss was still pretty visible.

Armed with the net, I decided I would try and combat my hair loss in other ways besides the tablets.

 

Stay tuned next to week to find out about how I decided to fight back hair loss!

A Step Out of Storm Clouds

Morning. I groggily opened my eyes to the same room and the same feeling of heaviness. It had been two weeks now since I had been discharged from hospital. Was I feeling better? No.  I felt like a cartoon character with storm clouds hanging over my head all the time.

I attempted ‘breakfast’ which was basically some gluten free toast. It was a small piece, and after two bites my stomach gave way. My usual GP was away, so I had been booked in with a locum doctor. She seemed friendly enough, and attentive to what I had to say. I explained to her that my stomach seemed to be getting worse, my appetite non-existent and the feeling of constantly just wanting to be asleep. My ideal idea of heaven at the time was simply a bed, nothing else (though that’s not really changed, maybe an unlimited supply of doughnuts too?). She looked at me with concern, and suggested I take another two weeks off work, which she was sure when this episode of fatigue would be over. In regards to my appetite, she like my usual GP advised me to just give my body time, and in due course all would fall into place. I was then instructed to see a nurse to have my bloods taken, as the hospital had suggested.

After having blood taken- a few bottles might I add, I returned home. I felt a strange foreboding sense of defeat as I told my best friend what the doctor had to say. He also assured me that with time, things would get better. I sighed, as I thought about what the blood test meant. It was a big one. The test was to measure the function of my kidneys, liver and neutrophils. All of these things had been affected by Sepsis when I was in hospital. I tried to tuck it into the back of my mind, as the last thing I needed was more stress.

I would try and distract myself from everything by binging Netflix programmes. It was a way of keeping my brain in hibernation and staving off lingering thoughts of how I could have been dead. Though on the plus side, I discovered Mad Men on Netflix- all 7 seasons…I can’t believe this masterpiece had been hidden away from me until now! My ‘addiction’ a.k.a my need for distraction got so bad, I would watch episodes, all day, all night. I’d fall asleep watching them, and wake up with it still running. I had got into this very sad, weird rut. A lot of the days felt like they were just melting together.

One of my good friends had called me as soon as she found out I had been in hospital. While I had Sepsis, I didn’t really tell any of my friends, as I didn’t want to be fussed over. She was really concerned and had obviously googled what Sepsis was. As she told me about her reaction when she heard I was so sick, and how upset she was, I felt something shift a little. I had spent this time, moping and feeling so down about my almost lack of existence, I hadn’t really thought of anyone else, or how they might be feeling for that matter.

That night, whilst I still felt rain clouds over my head, the rain felt a little less intense.

 

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Why am I here?

I had finally been discharged from the hospital after a week of highs, lows and face planting. Feeling happy I was out, I also felt like something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was missing though. There were subtle changes in my body, like walking up the stairs would get me out of breath. I mean, I wasn’t exactly a fitness freak, but pre-sepsis I could do stairs at least!

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I felt it more, taking a shower and holding the head above me would make my arm bow. It was weakness. I would feel sleepy all the time. We aren’t talking a normal amount of sleepy, it honestly felt like someone was diffusing sleeping pills into the air *conspiracy theory? -plays X File theme song-*. I would fall asleep pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Just to clarify, I had been told by doctors to avoid going outside until I’d had my blood tests done. So, I was pretty much on house arrest.

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The next biggest change I felt was my stomach. Solid food was a firm no. Soup worked for me, but I found after a few spoonfuls I would either vomit or have extreme bloating! I felt like a crappy version of Kirby, where I ate my enemy but didn’t inherit any cool superpowers. I mean, does soup even have any superpowers?! Even if my stomach went unprovoked, it would feel heavy and would ache. In a sense if felt like my stomach had got worse and a lot more sensitive since being discharged.

With the weakness in my body, and not even being able to climb stairs my mood fluctuated too. I had naively assumed that being discharged would mean I could get back to my normal routine, going to work, enjoying my meals and so on. But, it felt like Sepsis had slammed the pause button hard on anything I used to do before I got sick.

When I went to see my local GP three days after being discharged, she stared at my report with wide eyes. ‘OH MY GOODNESS! You have been through a lot! Do you realise how sick you were? You are lucky to be alive!’. She told me I would need rest when I told her how tired and weak I felt. I was reassured by her that after a few weeks I would be back to normal. She wrote me a sick note, and booked me in for a blood test the hospital had recommended for the following week.

During the drive home, I thought about the shock on her face and telling me I was lucky to be alive. See, it hadn’t really hit me, until it did. I lay on my bed, and I felt a grey cloud submerge me. That is the only way to describe it. Being 22, my existence could be wiped off the face of the Earth, and that’s it. I cried a lot that day. I felt this heaviness to how I felt after that. I found it hard to grasp how fleeting existence can be. I think it comes with the territory of being young, and feeling invincible.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt myself slipping. My mentality became ‘is there a point in being so keen to return to routine, to work?’. Life is writing in the sand, and the sea is death which will wash it all away, leaving behind nothing. This became something I started to constantly tell myself.  Why am I here? Chimed in my ears as I went to sleep that night.

Check back for a post next week on how I attempted to beat this mindset!

My Sepsis Survival Story- Part 7

So there I was ladies and gentlemen, in a much better room, still hooked up to an IV. Though cleaner, I felt slightly miserable. Being in hospital was now feeling like a never ending story. A new doctor came in and took some blood from me for the millionth time. He said that this set of blood tests may determine how soon I’d get to go home. A little part of me wished as hard as I could as the blood was drawn, in the hopes it would magically change any results that would keep me here any longer.

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As he left, a nurse came in and gave me a menu for the day. I, a self confessed food addict, had not even thought about food for the past few days. The TREACHERY. I know. The menu was pretty standard, it had things like sausages and mash, vegetable pie and ice cream for dessert. I picked the smallest serving size possible as I wasn’t too optimistic about eating properly. Oh and OBVIOUSLY ice cream would be my dessert option. Not long after, I was taken off the IV drip again, being told to try having water to maintain my blood pressure. I felt frustrated with myself for not being able to drink water and keep it down. It was such a simple thing after all.

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My mum came to visit and could see I was partially down in the dumps, and asked the nurse if I was allowed to leave the room for a walk. She said I was able to, but not to stray too far from the ward. My mum helped me get up and then linked arms with me to make sure I didn’t fall over like last time (that seems to be my speciality in this process). We walked to the end of the ward, which took me a while even though it was a short distance. In a way, walking felt quite alien (more than usual that is, I’m so lazy!). An under ten minute walk had me out of breath by the time we returned to my room. I was shocked at how tired I felt, and fell asleep not long after.

After waking up, I felt my mood had lifted which I was grateful for. Not long after, my dinner had arrived which was vegetable pie and mash, with ice cream. I tried to eat as much as I could, but after three or four spoon fulls, I threw up again! The nurse came in and gave me a concerned look while she took notes about how much I’d eaten. I felt so queasy while my stomach felt like it was burning. I imagined little baby devils with pitchforks living in my tum, poking it for their entertainment (yes I know, I’m aged 22). The rest of the day went by in a blur of sleep, daytime TV and blood pressure checks. So far, I had managed to maintain my blood pressure with smaller frequent sips of water.

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At about 3AM I was woken up by a ghost. Just joking! No Paranormal Activity stuff here. I was woken up though, by a nurse, who I’m pretty sure was real (or was she?). She informed me I was going to be put back on the drip as my blood pressure had dropped again. GREAT! She plugged me back in and I resumed trying to sleep.

I was woken up for a bed sheet change and breakfast which comprised of a small bowl of Rice Krispies and a glass or orange juice. I managed to have a few spoonfuls before bloating and queasiness set in. Again, a nurse popped in and noted down how much I had eaten. She called in a doctor who suggested I try some tablets to decrease the bloating and burning I was feeling after attempting to eat. The doctor also took another blood test, saying he would be back to explain the results as soon as he could.

Lunchtime rolled around pretty fast, and after taking one of the new tablets I was given the burning sensation reduced. HA! take that baby stomach devils. This time I had a jacket potato for lunch, and I managed to finish half before feeling like I’d swallowed an anchor. I even managed a spoonful of ice cream! The nurse gave me a nod of approval whilst noting down my progress.

The doctor returned and explained my blood test results. My Neutrophils (a type of white blood cell that fights infection) were still low, which the doctor was concerned with. He also explained that they could not specify a reason for my Sepsis, and that Gastroenteritis was an educated guess made by the doctors and stomach specialists. He even went onto say they may be able to investigate further if I ever got Sepsis again. On hearing this, I found myself mentally facepalming. I really wasn’t comfortable with the doctor making it sound like Sepsis was just waiting around the corner for me again!

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For dinner, I had picked a vegetable pasty with a side of corn and a chunk of chocolate cake for dessert. I managed to finish just under half before the feeling of queasiness and bloating returned. I didn’t even get to have the cake! My sister had no problem finishing that for me, telling me it tasted pretty decent. *A moment of silence for not being able to finish my cake*

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The next morning, I was woken up by being asked for another blood test. What loveliness to wake up to, eh? I was in a really good mood, as I had not been put back on the drip, meaning I was keeping a decent blood pressure level. Whoo! As I attempted corn flakes for breakfast, a doctor came in with the results from the test. She said I would be discharged today, but my Neutrophils were still slightly below borderline. This meant I would have to book in another blood test with my GP in two weeks time to ensure my Neutrophils were back to normal, along with a check on kidney and liver functions.

A nurse returned not long after, giving me leaflets on after care. She removed the cannula from my hand and quickly put a plaster on it, telling me it would heal up fast. It felt good being able to move my hands like a normal person! The things we take for granted eh?

I felt so happy to be going home! The doctor returned to say if I were to have high temperature or get sick again, to immediately come back to A&E. She also stated I should have my room disinfected to avoid getting sick again, as my Neutrophils were still slightly low. The nurse helped me pack my stuff, and before I knew it, I was on the way home.

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Little did I know, my journey to recovery was only just properly beginning.

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!