On 9-3-21, after dealing with a Bartholin’s cyst that had turned into an abscess and was not responsive to conservative treatment, I went to the emergency room in 10/10 pain. My vitals were well out of range and the ER doctor lanced and drained the abscess and placed a Word catheter. My vitals were never checked again and no labs were drawn, despite my racing pulse and high blood pressure. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)
I thought that I felt better and went home to rest. I woke up about 6 hours later and decided to get into the shower. Immediately, I became light headed, my heart was racing, I couldn’t breathe, and my vision started to close in and get dark. I asked my boyfriend to grab something for me to eat because I thought my blood sugar was low. I improved over the next 10 minutes and thought I was okay.
I noticed that I hadn’t really had any urine output for the day, but chalked this up to dehydration.
Within 8 hours, my heart spasmed and I felt warmth spreading across my chest, my arms and neck and head started burning, and my heart started racing, and I couldn’t breathe. I knew that I needed to get to a hospital.
On the way to the hospital, I was certain that I was going to die. I started to get confused but I kept telling myself my name, my phone number, my address, anything, to stay conscious.
Once in the ER, the receptionist told me to have a seat. I tried to have a seat but I told her that I was going to die if someone didn’t help me. A few moments later, I was in triage and my bp was 210/115 and my pulse was racing in the 160s. I could barely breathe. The nurse asked if I’d taken any illicit drugs. I began to tell her that I’d been taking antibiotics for an abscess that I had drained the night before.
Within minutes, I was in a trauma bay with IV access. I begged the doctor to get my pulse down because I couldn’t take it.
I had dozens of labs drawn and I was started on antibiotics and fluid immediately. My bp and pulse continued to drop and then rise uncontrollably until I was given medication.
My potassium was critically low, my kidneys were struggling to function, and incidentally, I found out I was pregnant in the midst of this.
After days of being hospitalized and receiving antibiotics and fluids and potassium, I was able to switch to oral antibiotics and eventually discharge home.
Though I haven’t been home for very long, I’m still dealing with the trauma of almost dying and have trouble sleeping. I didn’t sleep for more than 15-30 mins at a time in the hospital at all before waking up panicked with my heart racing.
I’m grateful for the fact that I was able to receive medical attention quickly and begin treatment.
If you or a loved one ever experience sepsis symptoms, go to the ER immediately or call 911.