Denise Karch


Posted on October 6th, 2017

Reflection of a sepsis survivor…

I started feeling I was coming down with a cold after a weekend with friends at the end of April 2016. A week later it turned into more than a cold and was diagnosed with bronchitis on May 9, 2016. The antibiotics prescribed did not work and I called my doctor for a different antibiotic. On May 12th, I went to the emergency room as my coughing was uncontrollable, I could barely catch my breathe, and I shivering uncontrollable. I felt as if I was going to die.

Lucky for me, the emergency room was not too busy and I was taken right back to triage. I only remember bits and pieces after that. Fever of 102.7. Lactate level of 7.54. The word sepsis uttered and a stay in the ICU for 4 day.

Soon after, I was able to piece together what started as bronchitis progressed into pneumonia then to sepsis. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) Living in New York, there is a protocol hospitals adhere to if sepsis is suspected. I am thankful each day since that evening of May 12th for the hospital staff detecting the sepsis within an hour or two and acting quickly to provide me with the antibiotics needed to fight the infection.

I have recovered and only a few side effects remain which have diminished over the past year and a half; namely insomnia, nightmares, poor concentration, being forgetful, loss of self esteem/belief, and an overwhelming fear that every little cough or scratchy throat may lead me to having sepsis again.

Approximately 6 weeks later, I went on vacation to Acadia National Park in Maine, determined to climb Bubble Rock. “Slow and steady wins the race”, as the saying goes and I made it to the top. My son and aunt were with me that day and tears still form thinking of that moment I made it to the top, admiring the views, showing my son I was strong again and you can accomplish anything (even after a life threatening illness), and how truly thankful am to be alive.

I am a sepsis survivor.