Gary Long

Gary Long

Reading the stories of Sepsis Survivors, I find that many of them initially suffer symptoms of sepsis with no idea what is causing them. The same thing happened to me. A month after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and put on steroids, I began to run a high fever, vomit occasionally and experience chills and mild delirium. (Sepsis and Impaired Immune System)

I thought this illness would run its course and stayed home watching television. My son asked me what I was doing with the remote and I told him I was playing Words With Friends on my cell phone. He called his mother and she told him to call an ambulance. I was taken to an emergency room and attended by the doctor on duty. He asked me a series of questions and tested my ability to move my extremities. My wife arrived and asked what was the matter. He told her I was having a stroke. I was 67 and have high blood pressure so those may have been the reasons for that preliminary diagnosis.

My wife did not believe it but left it to the doctor to take action. I have no recollection of what happened the rest of the day until I found myself in a hospital room that evening. The doctors determined from my MRI that I was not having a stroke but told me I would be kept in the hospital until they found out what was the matter. One thing they did which may have saved my life was they put me intravenous antibiotics. During the next six days I was attended to by about ten different doctors. I don’t recall any of them telling me what was the cause of my hospitalization.

During preparation for discharge, I was handed a set of documents. On the first page it said I had sepsis. After a couple of weeks, I was fully recovered.

There are two good points to this story. First, although it took time to make a final diagnosis, the doctors kept the sepsis at bay and it caused no permanent harm. Second, the numerous tests I went through revealed my serious heart condition–bicuspid aortic valve and aortic stenosis. I am eternally grateful to the doctors and staff of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA.