Hilary Forde


On 14th April 2018 it will be 4 years since I lost my beloved Mum, she was 76 years old. During her later life she suffered so very badly with her health, it broke my heart to see her battling the pain of arthritis and having to cope with diabetes, asthma, heart failure and many other health issues. She was such a strong and determined lady and wouldn’t give in to anything, consequently when the doctor advised she go into hospital she refused and, at that time, no amount of persuading would convince her. Her breathing was getting so bad though that she eventually went into the hospital voluntarily. This was nothing new to us, she had been in and out of hospital for years and we thought it was just another episode where she would fight back and come home to us. Sadly this wasn’t to be.

Once in the hospital they ran many tests and I remember one of the nurse practitioners coming over to take a blood gas from Mum’s wrist. Now I know these hurt and the nurse even said to Mum that it would be very unpleasant but my Mum was the incredible trooper she always was and took it in her stride without complaint. The blood was taken away but we were informed that they couldn’t use it because it had clotted before they could test it. In sepsis, blood clots far more rapidly than normal. The very next day Mum had deteriorated considerably, she became confused, her heart was racing above 130bpm and her respiratory rate was elevated. None of us were aware of these red sepsis flags back then but we knew she was bad, we had never seen her this way before, consequently we knew, in our heart of hearts, that our beloved Mum would not be coming home again.

They moved her from a general ward to an intensive care ward and informed us that the situation was “grave” and her organs were failing. She was diagnosed with endocarditis (due to a leaky heart valve) and sepsis. We visited for as long as we could every day and we all cried every single day. I hated leaving her alone on that ward, it was the worst time of my life. I adored my Mum and it broke my heart seeing her this way. It was 9.00am on the 5th day of Mum’s admittance when my phone rang and it was my Dad. He didn’t need to speak, I knew what he was going to say. Mine and my brother’s beloved Mum and my Dad’s beloved wife of 45 years had passed away. I was numb. We went in to see her and that was the most horrific time of my life. I heard someone wailing in grief and then realised it was me. I will never get that image of her lying in that hospital bed out of my mind. My super strong, independent, feisty, stubborn and utterly amazing, loving, caring and beautiful Mum was now at peace. We held her hands and said goodbye.

Please everybody, learn the red flags for sepsis. If in doubt, please get medical advise. Sepsis is a definite killer and it’s not proud of who you are, it can take you at any age and it doesn’t matter if you’re healthy or not. Any doubt, get checked.

Source: Karen Forde (Daughter)