My story begins with a UTI I ignored. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) I took a home test that came back positive but since I was busy at work, I figured I could just drink lots of water and I’d be fine. Ironically, I work at a hospital so yes, I knew better. Nevertheless, I ignored it for almost 2 weeks. On the day I decided to see my doctor, my dog suddenly had a seizure, so all my attention went to her. That afternoon, I started feeling tired, so I went to the urgent care center down the street from the emergency pet hospital.
I was prescribed antibiotics, but I didn’t realize that by then I was too late. I started feeling cold and had chills later that evening; I’d never shaken so hard in my life! I didn’t sleep much that night and I woke up feeling worse. I toughed it out all day but that night, I had a fever of 103.5! The violent chills continued as did the fatigue. I started breathing rapidly, couldn’t control my fever and noticed some of the nail beds on my hand were turning purple. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I asked my husband to take me to the ER.
I received IV antibiotics after they did blood draws and other lab tests. I spent the entire night hooked up to an IV pole feeling profoundly tired, but it was impossible to sleep. I was discharged in the morning and was told I’d get a call if anything appeared on the urine or blood cultures. I spent the entire day in bed unable to shake the simultaneous exhaustion and restlessness. As the day went on, I started to wonder if I had sepsis. Sure enough, a very concerned physician called me that night urging me return to the hospital immediately. She confirmed the blood tests showed I had sepsis.
Back I went to the hospital, where the first doctor I met told me I was the least septic-looking sepsis patient he’d ever had. Indeed, nobody could believe I had sepsis; I looked healthy and cracked jokes with the staff. We all knew, however, that I went to the ER in the nick of time because I didn’t have to go the ICU and was hospitalized only 2 days.
I eagerly returned to work a few days after I was discharged, but it took some time to feel like my old self again. My energy levels were slow to return to normal, but I was fortunate that I never experienced a decline in my mental state. In retrospect, this ordeal was totally preventable, but it never occurred to me that a UTI could turn into sepsis. I emerged from this experience a little wiser and much more cautious. Please don’t take your health for granted because it’s easier to maintain it rather than get it back.