My left hip was replaced in 2007 due to osteoarthritis. In October of 2015, I was near the end of a work day on Thursday and when I stood up from my desk an excruciating pain shot through my left thigh. I had no idea why and thought I must have pulled a muscle. I struggled to finish my job and drive home. (Sepsis and Joint Replacements) The next day I went to my PCP and she agreed and prescribed pain meds and bed rest.
The pain didn’t improve and I grew weaker each day. I began using a walker to get around at home. On Monday I went to an orthopedist in a wheelchair and he stuck to the same diagnosis, I had pulled a muscle getting up from my desk. He also recommended pain meds and bed rest. I showed him that my right wrist was bruised and very painful for no reason. He said that it was from using the walker. I told him that I had used a walker several times before and it had never affected my wrists. He dismissed it. He did order blood work to be done at lab corp in the next few days. I never made it there. In 2 days I was in the ICU with full blown sepsis.
For 3 days I drifted in and out of consciousness. The infection had affected the fluid sack surrounding my heart which they had to drain. I am allergic to penicillin so it was difficult to find the right combination of antibiotics to treat me. They had to get the infection under control before they could operate on the hip implant. They only did a partial replacement and in January of 2016 I found out that the new hip is still infected. So I am on an antibiotic for life and praying that this infection does not get into my bloodstream again.
Surviving sepsis is not like recovering from any other illness. It is an ongoing healing process and it has changed me into a completely different person. You cannot “feel death” for days and come out on the other side unchanged. This illness affects its victims, their partners, families, friends and loved ones in ways that others can’t understand. Much more needs to be learned and taught about this horrible illness. I have made it clear to my family that I will NOT survive it again.
I am extremely grateful to be alive but I know that I do not want to live through that experience again. Truly, some things are worse than death.