Jeanne L.

Survivor

I had a virus which I caught from my son five years ago. He had gone to the doctor and was told no meds needed. I stayed home alone with my illness while my son was on a camping trip and my daughter with young children stayed away to avoid catching my cold. (Sepsis and Viral Infections)

My virus suddenly went from making me feel very sick, to not remembering a thing. I barely recall seeing some blood when I coughed and nothing after that.

I had written an email to my work with crazy, nonsensical info that should have been a signal that I was not ok. Somehow at 7 am, I walked to my neighbor’s and told them I had been robbed (I don’t know where that came from or how I could have walked there?) and apparently collapsed right there. I was acting as if I was drunk, high, and worse. My neighbors called 911, and everyone assumed I was having a drug overdose. I was not treated for any illness, was intubated there at my home while unconscious, and taken to the closest hospital.

My daughter is a doctor (dermatologist), but I was new to my neighborhood and no one knew who to call. They should have known I was very sick, but instead they all assumed overdose. I had a ten level back fusion six months earlier and did have medications in my bed side table, but it was no overdose. I was 53 at the time, healthy and had been recovering great from my back fusion. I had been back to work, working out, and very healthy.

A neighbor found a picture online of my daughter when looking at local dermatologists that looked like me, and finally my daughter got a call. My son was out of cell phone range (camping in the mountains) to answer any calls.

I had been unconscious and not treated all day for any illness while at the hospital, all day long!! By the time my daughter found me, she let them know I had been sick and brought them all of my medications to show it was no overdose. I finally was tested for pneumonia, and had both bacterial and viral in both lungs. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I was in a septic coma, and my daughter was told to be ready, as I may not recover. It was a scary few days on the ventilator for my children. I cannot recall anything since the day before I somehow walked over to my neighbor’s.

I was finally given lots of very strong antibiotics and slowly recovered. After several days, they were able to take me off the ventilator, and I woke up.

Because I cannot remember any of it, it is difficult to discuss it; but the sepsis signs should have been seen by the first responders and definitely in the hospital. I was fortunate to wake up. It is good information to know how fast you can turn from sick to dying in a septic coma. Everyone needs to know the signs. The doctors all told me they only see what I had in those over 80, and did not think to test my lungs. I had a fever, congested lungs, and worse; but somehow they still assumed overdose! I have a great survival story, but I try to let others know that a virus can suddenly become pneumonia, which can quickly turn a person septic and in a coma. I wish everyone had the good ending I finally had. It was very close. We need first responders and doctors to learn more about the signs, and stop believing sepsis is for those over 80 only!