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Amber Gutowski

Survivor

On Monday, my son came home sick with a stomach bug. On Tuesday, I started feeling it myself. I thought I had caught what he had. By Thursday, I struggled to walk through the house. I thought maybe I had the flu or something. And on Saturday, my husband took me to the emergency room. My blood pressure was 60/35, and I was admitted to the ICU.

It took several days and over a dozen specialists to figure out what was wrong with me. I didn’t even hear my official diagnosis until I had been moved to step-down care after 6 days in the ICU. 3 IVs, a central line, a catheter, 5 blood transfusions, 4 ultrasounds, 2 CT scans, multiple x-rays, and more shots, antibiotics, fever spikes, vomiting, and just all around misery than I care to remember…I had septic shock, stemming from a kidney infection.

I just remember thinking…This isn’t happening to me. I had a beautiful baby girl only 4 weeks ago. (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth) I also had a precious 5-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl at home. I was only 24 for God’s sake!Amber_Gutowski

That though, was what gave me the will to fight it. I was young and strong. I had 3 beautiful kids and a husband to take care of. I spent over a week in the hospital. Had to do PT and OT to be able to walk again. I couldn’t be left alone to care for my own children for weeks. But I made it. I still am more susceptible to kidney infections and I’m terribly paranoid about them. I get headaches. I tire super easily. I was recently diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), so that doesn’t help. We think the sepsis triggered it, since my heart was only functioning at 30ish percent when I was admitted. (Sepsis and Post-Sepsis Syndrome)

It’s been 4 months since my diagnosis. And I’m just now learning how common sepsis actually is. I had never even heard of it until my diagnosis.

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