Yvonne Bekker

Survivor

Posted on June 16th, 2017

I went for surgery (laparoscopy) in October 2014. That was on a Monday Morning. I woke up after surgery feeling absolutely terrible. This continued to worsen and it felt as if I was going to die. (Sepsis and Surgery) The nurses and doctors just said it would get better. The surgeon had done a full laparotomy as he could not get to the hernia site. (I have so many small scars of how he was trying to get in). My tummy was swollen, I was disorientated, I looked like a Dalmation with all the white spots all over my face and I couldn’t go to the loo.

Finally on the Wednesday morning I stumbled out of bed (in the hospital) to try and go to the loo once more, and I landed up on the floor with fluid seeping from my wound all over the floor. It was so traumatic. I can still feel the warmth of the fluid pouring down my legs. I collapsed and woke up briefly at around 11 AM when my husband was shouting at a nurse to please get the doctor. I cannot remember the doctor coming to me. I just remember my husband trying to get them to operate before 19h30 that evening.

That evening they took me to theatre and I woke up about two months later with my husband crying on my chest asking me to please wake up. Apparently I had developed sepsis due to the surgeon cutting multiple holes in my intestines. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) During the surgery that he did the evening of the Wednesday, he failed to close these openings and apparently caused a couple more. At the time of me waking up I had received dialysis and was on a ventilator for many weeks.

They couldn’t do surgery again and the doctor kept on saying, let’s wait and see. My husband then insisted on a second opinion and after a couple of weeks my new surgeon told me he is willing to go in and fix the holes as they were not closing. There were numerous holes. He told my family to get my affairs in order and my poor husband sat outside the operating room once more.

The surgery went well where he got rid of the fistulae by doing a couple of bowel resections. He fixed me. My husband cried rivers of tears and I spent 3 months in the hospital of which most was in ICU. I started having flashbacks a couple of months later. A smell, sound, picture, emotion even as little as a scene on TV or in a movie will trigger it. I will have to do breathing exercises and calm myself down. (Sepsis and PTSD) No one knows all this as I feel so silly. I feel I have put my husband through so much. This is a really awful part of the healing process. I have become so antisocial. I cannot stand large crowds of people. I was unable to write or walk properly after I left the hospital. I couldn’t feed myself. I had to wear diapers in the hospital as I had lost control of my bowels. Thankfully this was regained after a short period.

Now more than 2 years later my feet constantly burn, my joints are always stiff. I am so fatigued. I have constant shortages with malabsorption. I get terrible UTIs where blood drips from my bladder. I was unable to feel emotions for quite a long time. This is slightly better now although I cannot remember when last I have been excited about anything. I have lost that ability. I even had to stop my car on the freeway the other day and calm down after a flashback again. Was surviving this ordeal the best thing for me? Will I ever be able to be normal? My life is a sufferance with no support or understanding from any medical discipline. I am unable to work as I used to. My memory is terrible. This is really tough. I lost a Christmas, a new year and my 50th birthday which we had so many plans for. Must I be thankful that I walked away with my life? I suppose so. I would love to hear how people cope and if there are any tips for me to deal with this. (Sepsis and Post-Sepsis Syndrome)