On March 3, 2018, my husband, Larry Hubbard, began to have severe lower back, hip and leg pain. Thinking it was sciatica, he went to a chiropractor for about 3 weeks. No relief whatsoever. On May 24, 2018, he went to orthopedic doctor. Was diagnosed with bursitis. Over a period of 2 weeks, he was given 2 steroid injections in his right hip. Still no relief. By this time, my once very active and recently retired husband of 10 years had fallen into deep depression due to the unrelenting pain.
He was 71 years old with only one functioning lung. So after the failed steroid injections from the orthopedic doctor, he was sent for an MRI and nerve study on June 18, 2018. During this time, his feet and hands would turn bright red or be very pale. They would be cold and very painful and he had to use heating pads to warm them. We attributed this to poor circulation because he had been inactive since March 3rd. He had a dry cough but we contributed that to high blood pressure medication. He was short of breath, but again, we attributed that to being inactive for almost 4 months by now and only having one functioning lung. He was set to go to orthopedic doctor on June 25th for his MRI and nerve study results. However, on the evening of June 23rd he started with severe chills and then painful urination. By the next morning, things had gotten much worse…as if we thought it couldn’t get any worse.
Upon arriving at the emergency room on June 24th, his fever was 104°. Blood pressure was dangerously low. He doesn’t even remember going to the ER. Almost immediately upon arrival, he had fluids pumping through him. If I remember correctly, he had 3 bags of fluids in less than a couple of hours. The ER staff began the sepsis protocol even before the diagnosis of sepsis was complete. They did verify a UTI. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) We were very blessed with an ER staff that knew exactly what to do. The plan was to put him in ICU overnight with strong antibiotics and fluids and monitor his BP. I saw him at the 8pm visiting time and I could tell his breathing was worse but he had been through a lot this day so I wasn’t very concerned. Besides…he was in ICU…what could happen?
I left that visit and made my bed on the hard chairs in the ICU waiting room. At 3:30 am on Monday, the nurse in ICU called me. He went into respiratory distress, coded and had to be put on the ventilator in a drug induced coma. I wanted to talk to the hospitalist, who was a pulmonologist. The hospitalist kept telling me was “This is serious” and “I want you to understand how serious this is”. I didn’t realize exactly what he was preparing me for as he gave my husband a zero chance of survival. He went almost 2 weeks with no bowel movement. Went over 2 weeks with fever, and still in pain along with all the other issues going on in his body…. not to mention being heavily sedated. Then pneumonia developed…in the non functioning lung! (Sepsis and Pneumonia)
He was placed on 2 of the strongest antibiotics known. He was in hand restraints all this time also which caused pressure sores on his wrists. After almost 3 weeks on the ventilator without ability to wean from it, the decision was made to put in a trach. Things were beginning to look positive. However, during the night after the trach procedure, his non functioning lung collapsed. Doctor didn’t have an answer when I asked why a non functioning lung would collapse. The doctor did tell me that a non functioning lung was worse than only having one lung. This non functioning lung works against his good lung. So after 32 days in the ICU, he was released to a long term acute care facility. While at LTACH, he progressed very well. He had to learn how to speak, swallow, walk and feed himself. He was released from LTACH after only 12 days. We were told he would be there at least 3 weeks. Sepsis has become part of our life. He still has his bad days as he deals with post sepsis syndrome. We panic over even the smallest pain or symptom. The fear of infection/sepsis is always in the fore front of our minds. We are blessed. It is our goal as a sepsis survivor and the spouse of a sepsis survivor to make others aware of sepsis/symptoms and the dangers of ignoring these symptoms. We both also have a great testimony to share as to what God can do. Thank you for your time reading our story.
Source: Gwen Hubbard-spouse