Jean Kestner


On July 11, 2015, I felt “off” – like I had an intestinal bug. I went to bed that evening and have little memory of anything else until four days later. My husband called the paramedics early the next morning when he spoke to me and I responded with gibberish. At one point after I had been in the ER for several hours, the doctors asked if I had a living will as my BP had flat-lined.

I was taken to CCU in critical condition with a dx of septic shock. (Sepsis and Septic Shock) I made it through the night and the next morning they began looking for a cause. A CT scan revealed a perforated ileum. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) Prior to performing an emergency ileostomy, the surgeon told my husband that he would do his best to correct the problem but my condition was very critical. I woke up briefly in CCU on a ventilator with my pastor sitting next to me and performing the anointing of the sick. I just remember thinking “this isn’t good.”

Two days later I woke again as they were transferring me out of CCU to a regular room. Fortunately, the ileostomy was reversed several months later, but septic shock has left me with cognitive challenges which prevented my return to work. I also have an autoimmune condition and digestive issues, but I am thankful for the ER staff at UPMC – Mercy in Pittsburgh who DX’d septic shock fairly quickly and for Dr. Harry Sell and his team who literally saved my life.❤️

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