Bára Hourová

Survivor

Hello, my name is Bara and I am a sepsis survivor. I also want to share my story here, because it may help someone with the similar face of sepsis.

All this happened in October 2009 when I was 20. Infection that caused sepsis in my case was from a decubitus ulcer (I am on wheelchair and I had decubitus, because I am very slim), which I struggled with many moths before all this happened. I had less serious infections in it many times, but none of them was as serious as this.

I wasn’t feeling well from August. I was weaker, and more and more tired. I was taking antibiotics because of the infection to the middle of October, but I was not feeling better after the treatment. I was feeling weak and cold every day and I was losing my hair. I also had a cough and I had no energy to go to school, and to go to all courses that I signed in to get prepared for entrance exams to university.

I visited my doctor one day (it was two days before I ended up in same hospital with sepsis) to get my decubitus checked and to plan what to do with it. She sent me to CT scan and after that I was sent home and told to come back to the hospital for small surgery two days later.

I was feeling weaker and weaker and felt that something is very wrong, even if I had no fever and was not visibly sick. I only had some strange feelings in my hip and a cough. When I came to the hospital two days later my doctor seemed nervous. She told me I needed an operation, but nothing else. She sent me to the surgical ward to get ready for the surgery. She told me that it will be a small surgery and I will be back home in a few days.

I have my pre-operation blood tests done here…I was feeling worse and worse, but still hoping that everything is alright, because my doctor seemed to be calm.

I remember another doctor came to my room and told my parents to go with him. My parents were told that my blood tests and CT came back and it was not good. I had only ¼ red blood cells. They were told I was in sepsis due to infection in my hip that came from the decubitus. They were told that I needed an surgery to drain the infection from my body and to clean my hip, but it is very risky in my condition and that there is only little chance for me to survive the surgery. As my parents were told, it was a miracle I was still conscious in this kind of health condition.

I was told nothing, but I knew it. I knew it, because I saw my mother crying when she and my father returned to the room. I also knew it, because I was feeling very, very sick.

I was given antibiotics and blood to try to improve my condition before surgery that was scheduled for the evening. I was only told that I needed a surgery today, that it will be in the evening and that it will be done by the different team of doctors, specialists in this kind of problem. I remember them coming to my room and talking to my parents. My parents told me later that they said it was serious, but there is still chance for me to survive. I am very thankful to my parents that they insisted that I was being operated as soon as possible by the real specialists.

As the hours passed I had stronger and stronger feeling that I am going to die. I was given more and more blood, fluids and antibiotics, but I did not feel better. I only wanted to sleep, because I felt tired, I also have strange feelings in my stomach and whole body. Feelings that I never experienced before and that were the worst I ever had. I also felt very cold. I had no strength to speak, no strength to fight. My cough (I was told later that could also be the sign of sepsis, although the infection comes from another source than from lungs) was also getting worse and worse. It was due to sepsis.

I went to the surgery room in the evening feeling this is the end. I thought that it was the last time I saw my parents. I remember people in the operating room. I was scared. I asked them many times, if I am going to live and if everything will be fine. I remember one of the doctors saying that everything is going to be okay. At that moment I believed him, but I also thought it was not possible, because I felt very bad. I also remember they gave my an oxygen and I was asked only to breath for a couple minutes, before they gave me anesthesia.

I woke up seven hours later (it was 4 am) in the ICU. I felt tired, I was in the room full of monitors, infusions and other machines, but I felt better. I felt better than before surgery. I felt like some kind of poison was leaving my body. It seemed weird in my condition, in place like that (I was in ICU, on two different types of antibiotics and many other infusions, still on oxygen…), but I was happy. Happy to be awake, happy to be alive. I was sure, everything will be okay.

And it was. Everyone in the hospital was surprised by my quick recovery. They told me it will take months for me to recover, but I was able to go home after three weeks, return to school and to all activities I planned before all this happened. They said it was a miracle.

It was not easy. It was horrible experience to lie in the bed thinking this is the end and to see my parents crying for me. I do not wish it to anyone. I also still struggle with some after effects of sepsis including the fact that I must take magnesium every day, because of its deficit or the fact that I am afraid of every banal infection. But on the other hand I must say that this adventure brought me a lot of good things.

I am very glad to be alive and I enjoy every day, because I think that life is a miracle. I enjoy every hour and every minute. And I also know that even if things go absolutely wrong, it may be better. Every year, I am celebrating this time (end of October) as my second birthday. I am very than full to all people that took care of me in that time and saved my life (my parents, doctors). I am also very thankful to Sepsis Alliance for raising awareness about sepsis. I think it is very important, because not many people know this terrible illness. Thank you!