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Gene Mayfield


My sepsis story began in October 2017. I hadn’t been feeling well and thought I had the flu. I had the body aches and was running a high fever. My fever would break at night and I would wake up to my sheets soaked in sweat and I would be freezing. I kept putting of going to the doctor because I was trying to make it through Halloween night, my wife and my second anniversary.

The photo I am showing was taken the day I went to the emergency room, this is how bad I looked and how bad I was suffering. When I got to the hospital before any labs were done, they thought I was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they did not believe I was sick. They treated me very poorly and even held off on starting an IV even though I was badly dehydrated.

At 4:30 on Halloween night I couldn’t take it any more and crawled into the ambulance wearing only my underwear, I couldn’t even get dressed or grab my wallet or insurance card. I was taken to a local hospital and they could not believe my temperature was over 102 degrees. They started treating my for the flu and running blood work. I was delirious from the fever and could barely breathe.

The lab results showed that I had pneumonia in both lungs and was also in septic shock. They immediately transferred me to a state of the art facility for treatment. (Sepsis and Pneumonia)

My wife wasn’t able to go with me when I was transferred. The doctor called by wife and asked if they could intubate me and put me in a medically induced coma, they said I only had a 30% chance of living. I don’t remember the next few days, I was delirious from the fever and was being given morphine and xanax. After a week in intensive care I was able to walk out of the hospital and continue my antibiotics at home.

I am physically fine now but am suffering from post sepsis syndrome. (Sepsis and Post-Sepsis Syndrome) I cannot go to sleep and when I do fall asleep I have vivid dreams of my time in ICU. I have vivid flashbacks to all the needles, IVs and lab draws. Just think about a needle sends chills all over my body. I know that my body will recover from the septic shock but I don’t know if my mind will ever be the same. I am living moment by moment and hoping every day will be a little bit better.


UPDATE: June 2020

I have now survived sepsis twice. Three years ago I had severe sepsis and wasn’t expected to survive. I have health issues from that bout that will follow me the rest of my life.

This experience pales in comparison, but shows how easy it is for a sepsis survivor to get it again.

I went to bed on a Wednesday night feeling fine. I woke up at 4am the next morning freezing with uncontrollable chills. I got in a very hot tub of water but it was no help. I made it back to bed and my throat was so dry I could barely talk. My roommate saw my light on and came in to check on me. He got me the water I desperately needed.

I’m guessing he was afraid of the coronavirus because before I knew it he had called an ambulance. The first thing I told the paramedics was that I was a sepsis survivor. My fever was 101.5 and my heart rate was through the roof. When we got to the emergency room they called the sepsis code and my room filled with people.

It turns out I had atypical pneumonia which triggered the sepsis. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) They tested me for the coronavirus and the results a few days later ruled out the virus.I spent two days in intensive care getting antibiotics and fluids. I was sent home with oral antibiotics.

This bout of sepsis was very mild, but reminded me of the dangers I face. Anytime I see a doctor or EMT the first thing I tell them is I am a sepsis survivor. I also have my sepsis wristband that I never take off.

Hopefully this will be my last bout of sepsis, but I am only 44 so there is a real possibility I will get it again.

Take care everyone,


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