How Can You Help?
Share your StorySupport UsGet Resources

Joseph K.


On June 17, 2006 I departed Tallin, Estonia, bound for St. Petersburg, Russia, to join Linda, my wife, and two of her friends for a Russian holiday extending through June 27. I was having a recurring problem with athlete’s foot and was treating it with a medication I brought from America. Sandy was a nurse. She looked at the infected area and recommended that I continue treating it with the American medication. My wife and her friends then departed for America, and I departed to Bratislava, Slovakia, to prepare for an accounting training course I was to conduct. The athlete’s foot problem continued. On July 2 I departed to Beladice, Slovakia Hotel Tartuf.

Upon arrival in Beladice, I noticed significant redness on my foot and ankle. And I finally looked at the athlete’s foot medication I was using. It had expired 2 years earlier. I commenced the course on July 3. During a break I mentioned my foot problem. This inspired much curiosity among the participants in the course who had come from 8 difference central European countries. When I arose the next morning, I was startled to see the redness had risen to nearly my knee. One of the Slovak participants suggested we drive to Nitra, Slovakia, about 15 minutes away. There was a hospital in Nitra. My student translated for the doctor and me and another medical person who spoke some English. The doctor was, I recall, a dermatologist. At that point the redness was in my crotch. The doctor assessed the problem and said she should commence treating what she referred to as blood poisoning with an antibiotic. She also gave me a salve (in a plastic butter cup) to apply to all the redness areas. Through my student translator, I learned that the “poison” probably would kill me once it entered my torso. The antibiotic did its job causing the creeping redness to stop creeping almost immediately. The salve took several days to do its job on the redness. I survived and I resumed training.

The topic came up again in a discussion last week, the first week of September 2021. I was asked to describe the infection once again. Two words came into the conversation, cellulitis and sepsis. (Sepsis and Cellulitis) Coincidentally, this week I was in the my hometown medical facility in La Crosse, WI and noticed signs around the facility referencing sepsis. I reached the conclusion that my problem in Slovakia was sepsis or something a lot like sepsis.

Send us Your Story
Learn More about SepsisSupport Faces of Sepsis