How Can You Help?
Share your StorySupport UsGet Resources

Bill Owens


On September 24, 2009, I had laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery. I was supposed to be back at work in a week or so depending on how well I did. After surgery, I didn’t do well in recovery. I was in a lot pain that day and had some shortness of breath as well. Then when I made it home that afternoon, I was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t sit, stand or lay, I was just miserable. (Sepsis and Surgery)

It was about 8 p.m. that evening when suddenly I felt like someone had turned off my oxygen. I could barely move any air, so my wife called an ambulance for a trip back to the hospital. In the E.R., all my tests were inconclusive, but (thank goodness) they kept me there to see the doctor in the morning.

Moving to three days later, Sunday morning 9-27-09, my doctor (surgeon) came in my hospital room and had another doctor with him, a nephrologist (kidney doctor). Things were getting very serious now. My blood work was bad, my kidneys were failing, I was swelling from retaining fluid, I had no appetite, and the bottom lobes of my lungs were wet and sticky and were collapsing. The doctors were talking about putting me on kidney dialysis. So they decided to send me up to the ICU unit.

My wife didn’t see me again until late that afternoon and she said I was much worse than that morning and was as bad as I could possibly be. By 6 p.m. Sunday evening, the surgeon came out and told my wife he was going to take me back into surgery as soon as he could get a surgical team to the hospital. During that surgery, they discovered that in the process of trying to remove my gallbladder, they had cut my intestines and I was in septic shock.

bill_owens_hospitalWhen I came out of surgery, my wife told me I had 10 to 15 IV different size bags colors of antibiotics plus my regular IVs from surgery flowing through me. I also had 20 doctors treating me. The next week I was in a drug induced coma on a ventilator. No one knew if I was going to live or die. It was a wait and see thing. I spent two weeks in the ICU unit, came off the ventilator and was in a room in a couple of days. I spent another week in the hospital, three weeks in all. Then I had to have home healthcare nurses come to my house for about a month after I went home.

It was three months before I could return to work. I lost 30 lbs. during that three weeks in the hospital, because I had gone two weeks without a bit of food in my mouth. But I am doing great now. I’m very fortunate to be alive to tell my story.

Send us Your Story
Learn More about SepsisSupport Faces of Sepsis