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Lily Salska

Survivor

It’s been a little over a year now since I nearly lost my life to sepsis, a condition I knew very little about and can affect anyone. The experience now being one of the hardest things I have ever gone through and not a day goes by that I don’t think of it in some sense. One day I was healthy and fine, sitting writing having breakfast in Nepal and within a matter of days hooked up to IVs and later a ventilator.

There was an exact moment I knew things were teetering on life and death, (the little semblance of self I had at that time) the second hospital I was at I was on the phone with my mom and trying to form sentences but my speech was slurred and the words I was trying to say just turned to tears. One of my initial doctors who figured out what was going on took the phone out of the room and next thing I knew my parents were on a flight to Nepal. They had to tell my parents that I might not make it, however I didn’t know it at the time. Seeing the eyes of nurses trying to calm me but not being able to. After that I was on a helicopter attached to oxygen, quite literally racing for my life to the main hospital in Kathmandu where they had better care for my condition.

Weeks in the ICU, too weak to walk, in and out of consciousness, low blood pressure, rising fever, swollen arms from IVs, sepsis hallucinations (yes it is a thing.), Excruciating pain. Double pneumonia. (Sepsis and Hallucinations, Sepsis and Pneumonia) Months of recovery. (It is described to be quite similar to COVID, for you non-believers.) These are many of the worst effects of sepsis shock, before your body begins to shut down. (Sepsis and Septic Shock) Many cases result in amputations. I am incredibly lucky.

The silver lining here (besides living) was the undeniable love I felt from strangers during this time for me, and for my family. I write this mainly in knowing I’m alive partially because of them and well ~ something else ~ The doctors, the nurses who braided my hair and sang to me. Especially Ravi and his family who took in my family as their own, when they stumbled into a restaurant next to the hospital. Inviting to them to their home and giving them tours when they weren’t allowed at the hospital. Keeping them somewhat sane.

The love I have for Nepal can be explained because of the people and their incredible kindness. My family overall, dropping everything and being there for me even if initially it was through a glass wall. Life really is so precious. Honestly it is a little crazy to still think that of the millions of people whom have died from sepsis, that I survived. I only have positivity to take from this experience now. Writing helps me clear my mind and maybe hearing parts of my story could potentially help someone. (Thinking back to that it all started from a tick bite in the mountains, life is really crazy isn’t it?)

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