My story started in 2017, I was recently married in Punta Cana and just returned from our first family vacation in Florida. Upon returning, I woke up with a swollen lip that I thought was a sun blister that I had picked at the night before. I went to the ER and was sent home with Bactrim and Keflex being treated for a skin infection.
I had broke out with a sulphur rash on my 8th day of treatment and was advised to discontinue the meds. At this time the infection had appeared to have healed on the outside but not knowing the storm that was brewing on the inside. A couple of weeks went by and I had traveled to Las Vegas for a work trip. I had started experiencing pain in my right shoulder from what I thought was from stretching oddly. I returned home and the pain continued so I went to a Patient First, where they treated me for bursitis and sent me home with pain meds and steroids. The next day the pain had got worse and I had decided to go to the ER where they treated me with vicodin and valium and sent me home. Later that night my pain was so severe that I went back to the same ER and was treated this time with dilaudid, diazepam and percocet. I was sent home again, but this time with an orthopedic consult as well.
I remained on this drug cocktail for two days until my orthopedic appointment, where the pain never subsided and they gave me a steroid shot and again sent home. My condition continued to worsen and by the next morning, I had spoke with my father who had noticed that I was slurring my speech. He had called my husband and advised to get me to the ER immediately. I was taken to the ER once again. While there they put me through several tests and determined that I had pneumonia and thought that I had tumors on my lungs. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I had remained in the ER all day until they transported me to the hospital. They were unsure what was wrong with me and were also not sure that I would even make it through the night.
I was admitted to the ICU where they continued to try and determine what exactly was going on with me. I was seen by many doctors from different specialties, all asking the same questions and going over my body from head to toe. The next morning the bloodwork results came back and I had MRSA pneumonia and sepsis. (Sepsis and MRSA, Sepsis and Antimicrobial Resistance/Antibiotic Resistance) My body continued to weaken and my organs were shutting down. At this point they decided to put me on a ventilator to help my body rest and hopefully heal. I was also being treated for the infections.
I remained on the vent for 11 days. During this time, although I was mildly sedated, I recall every conversation from family, friends, doctors, nurses and even the people that came in to clean my room. I was told that I was the sickest person in the hospital at the time. I was 39 and in good health and unable to understand how things could progress so quickly and I could be so sick. During my time on the vent it was touch and go and there were days that they did not think I would recover. Things started to take a turn for the good and they were preparing me to have the vent removed. Once removed, I was moved to the step down unit where I regained enough strength to be discharged and sent home to continue my healing journey.
My critical pulmonologist called me his miracle patient and that I was a part of a very small class of people. I was thankful to finally be able to go home. While at home, I shed many tears, became depressed and at times thought I would never get back to my old self. I ended up regaining my strength physically but even to this day, I struggle cognitively. While it may not be noticeable to others, I myself can tell that I am not as sharp as I used to be before getting sick. It is very frustrating to say the least, however I will be forever grateful to be alive and well. I can’t thank enough, my team of angels who cared for me in the hospital and to my family and friends that remained by my side every step of the way. My sepsis story was very crazy and scary. The doctors stated that it was the “perfect storm” of events to get me to that diagnosis. I am lucky to be alive and thankful to have found Sepsis Alliance. Reading other stories like mine and being able to share my story to raise awareness to others has become my mission.