I survived sepsis at the age of 23. I began having nights where I would wake up with unimaginable stomach pain, but it would be gone by morning. I, like anyone would, immediately assumed it was food poisoning, or cramps. Trying not to assume the worst, I would manage it with Advil, Pepto Bismol or heating pads. After the third night of pain, I made an appointment with my doctor. She told me my white blood cell count was very high and ordered ultrasounds. The results were inconclusive, so there was nothing much I could do.
2 more nights of extreme pain left me calling an ambulance to go to the hospital. The hospital told me it was a cyst, gave me painkillers and sent me home. The pain wouldn’t go away, so I went to a different hospital a few days later. This hospital told me it was endometriosis because of my age and gender. They also sent me home. Finally the next night, my blood pressure hit 56/30 and I was in and out of consciousness. The hospital finally admitted me, but still couldn’t understand what was wrong. They took me into immediate surgery to find out that my appendix had a slow drip and ruptured, which led to severe sepsis. (Sepsis and Appendicitis) The surgeons had to drain 5 litres of infection from my body and do 8 blood transfusions. I ended up needing to be placed on life support for 5 days because my organs were failing. I was placed in ICU for 7 weeks where I received tremendous care.
Sepsis could have been prevented if the hospital had admitted me the first time I went, and had done a full investigation into my symptoms. I am extremely lucky to be making a full recovery, and that sepsis was caught in time. However, the takeaway here is to be an advocate for yourself and your health, you know when something doesn’t feel right with your body! Don’t give up!