Cole Shackelton

Cole Shackelton

I don’t have many memories of my time in the hospital, and most of the memories I do have are severe delusions and hallucinations, but this is what I’ve pieces together…
On Sept 23, 2019 I stopped breathing and my family called an ambulance. ( For the record I have no memories from about mid May, I’m not sure why?) I guess I had been quickly getting sick for a couple days, and my family thought I had pneumonia and were trying to treat me at home, but all of the sudden I went from wheezing to rattling and they called an ambulance.

By the time they got to the hospital I was intubated and was in severe multi organ failure ( lungs, kidneys, liver etc) and my family was sat down and told I probably wasn’t going to make it. I went into a coma that day and from what I understand was in that for around ten days when they put me into a medically induced coma for another ten to fifteen days. I’m not sure when I woke up, I am not clear on time frames but my health just cascaded out of control. I had a dozen surgeries, random things were happening to me like I started bleeding out of my…bottom so severely I had to have emergency surgery in my bed, no time to get to an operating room. I got three (THREE) flesh eating viruses (not joking! I didn’t know that was something that could happen in real life!) Got a hundred five degree fever which led to the amputation of both legs below the knee, my left hand and right middle finger along with lots of other little things like an allergic reaction to blood and my incisions dehesions and having to surgically redone. (Sepsis and Amputations)

While all this was happening I was having all sorts of delusions and hallucinations, several of which felt like whole lifetimes lived in alternate universes and realities. (Sepsis and Hallucinations) They all felt so real and to this day I have to remind my self that those memories aren’t real. I will be talking and be like ” I know, that’s like the time we were digging into the tunnels outside of Italy trying to get the blood they were storing since world war two” or ” remember when Donald Trump was chasing us so we spent six months in a submarine off the coast of Brazil?” I know how ridiculous it sounds, but these delusions are just as real to me as this moment, if not more so. I have a really hard time coping with them sometimes. In one delusion my husband was sleeping with my nurses, this sounds silly but the pain of it feels very real.

I was in the hospital until Feb 1 2020. As soon as I was released I got severe pressure ulcers all up and down my thighs from the holster for the Hoyer that the nurses and then my family used to transfer me from the bed to the chair. I have been in chronic pain with broken and fused back for years so I know pain, and let me assure you there is no pain more made of pure human suffering and torment than these sores! They go down a half a meter on each side of me, they were almost to the bone, people gagged and gasped when they saw them, I had to go to a special doctor to have all the dead black flesh cut away twice a week without so much as a single Vicodin! My mother who is luckily a rehab nurse acted as my RN during these months, and she very literally has PTSD from cleaning these wounds two and three times a day while I could do nothing but cry and scream and moan from the pain of her having to rip out the old gauze and pack these wounds full of gauze at least twice a day, I have no words for this pain, just horrific!

Luckily I have blocked out most of these memories. While these wounds are closed now they are horrific scars that still hurt very bad!
I also had to come to terms with from my perspective I basically went off line in the summer of 2019 and when I woke up the world was in a pandemic, everything had changed. I am still having memory problems, can’t remember much about last year at all, just flashes really, I don’t remember conversations had just yesterday, it’s really disconcerting!

I wasn’t told about Post Sepsis Syndrome, hadn’t heard about it until today, but it really seems to explain a lot about what’s been going on with me. While my memory being one of the most extreme things I’m dealing with, the anxiety has become debilitating. I have no stamina and walking ten steps exhaust me and I can’t catch my breath, leading to severe anxiety attacks!

While reading these stories has made me aware that other people are also suffering these same symptoms (memory impairment, anxiety, sleeplessness, lethargy, fatigue, PTSD with all sorts of fear of all the horrid things I went threw like being trached, dialysis, stuff like that happening again, fear that every little bit of sickness I feel is actually the sepsis coming back, even though I’m not sure if that’s possible?)

While I’m posting my story in hopes of helping someone who experienced the same to feel like what they are going through is normal, I don’t have a happy ending except that I survived and am trying to keep on keeping on. Thanks for taking the time to read my story:)

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