Linda Jones

Survivor

I woke up with pain. Daughter took me to ER. I thought I was having a heart attack. Pain across shoulder blades and neck. ER doc misdiagnosed me and sent me home same day. He did only tests to rule our heart attack. No blood work done. He sent me home with diagnosis of muscle spasms and a prescription for valium. Sepsis was already in my body.

A day or 2 later I fell in bathroom, hit my head. I came to and could not move. I was completely paralyzed. My organs were all shutting down. The only thing that kept working was my mouth and it never stops working 😉 My faith in GOD and humor kept me going.

My daughter had came by to check on me. (This was after ER visit) My daughter and son-in-law came. My daughter needed back up, hubby. I told them both I fell and can’t get up. I have worked in the medical field for most of my life. Most medical people are the worst patients as far as being stubborn. I told my kids if you could just prop me up on the couch I think I’ll be OK. OMG, I could not even move nothing but my mouth I was so out of it.

The ambulance came and took me to the hospital where they did emergency surgery after several tests that was discovered that I had sepsis by my infectious disease doctor . My spinal surgeon operated for four hours to scrape all the infection off my spinal cord. I was always asked how do I think I got this. And my answer was always, I don’t know. And on the websites group supports that I’m on nearly all of us don’t remember how it actually happens.

I was on the verge of life or death because this had already shut my organs down. I stayed and I see you after my emergency surgery. I had tubes coming out everywhere. I’m so thankful that I had children that took care of me and friends. After surgery I was in ICU for several days. I spent a few weeks out on the floor in that same hospital. I was so doped up because my pain was a strong 10+. I told everyone I could’ve had 10 kids but natural childbirth and it wouldn’t hurt as much as sepsis does. That is the most pain that I have ever experienced in my entire life. It’s undescribable to people that have never had it . I was very lucky to get a good surgeon and an infectious disease doctor when I was admitted.

On my admittance I had  pneumonia, anemia, dehydration and meningitis. (Sepsis and Pneumonia, Sepsis and Meningitis) I was told if I didn’t have the surgery I would surely die, so we did proceed. The incision went up over the top of my left ear all the way down to the middle of my spine. I do not remember much about the first hospital because I was so drugged up for the pain. After leaving the first hospital, I was transferred to a skilled nursing facility because they had more ability to take care of my needs. When I was transferred there I still could not feed myself, I could not sit up on the bed without pillows being propped. I never was able to take a shower. I had bed baths x about 6 weeks.

The pneumonia made it very hard to breathe and or talk so I was on oxygen for several weeks. I was bedridden for nearly all of my stay at the skilled nursing. I had to learn how to feed myself with these huge rubber grips that they would put on my utensils. I got so excited the first day I was able to feed myself. So slowly very slowly I was gaining some functions back. I had a catheter for most of the time I was in the hospitals and I had a massive yeast infection worse than the doctor had ever seen. (Sepsis and Fungal Infections)

So in the skilled nursing facility they would take me down to the therapy department and work my arms and legs. I had to be hoisted up by that sling that’s on the crane where they crank you up and lower you down into the chair from your bed. Because obviously I was not able to do any of that. Sleeping was something I only got maybe four hours of during the night because of all the IVs going off because I had constant anabiotic‘s for seven weeks. I couldn’t move my arms very well so they had to make me a special call button that I could kind of lean over and hit with my elbow.

After spending 36 days in skilled nursing I was transferred to a rehab hospital, where I just stayed about another month. I remember them putting a belt around me and therapy and pulling me up out of the wheelchair trying to get me to take my first step. Learning how to walk again was very strange. And I’ll never forget the first time they were teaching me how to step off of the curb by the sidewalk. I told the therapist I said that looks like a long ways down there. lol again. Humor is something that I have a lot of and so much better than crying that does not good at all. And when I was in a positive mood, the people that came around to see me were in a positive mood.

After I left that last hospital I was still on a walker doing outpatient rehab. The outpatient rehab was in the hospital that I first went to that I worked at. When I went for my first postop check up with my spinal surgeon he looked at me and said you are definitely my miracle patient because it’s bad as I got both of my doctors. And my internist were really amazed at my progression. I can tell you this determination is important. I was determined to get well. I had many people praying for me that I didn’t even know. People would bring me candy and I couldn’t eat it all so I was giving it away to the nurses. Bless their heart they were so wonderful but so understaffed. And they were understaffed and this is way before Covid this was almost 6 years ago. Will be six years in January. I went to the hospital in the winter and I came out in the spring.

I am a grateful person and I give my testimony to everyone I see because some people don’t believe in miracles, but I can tell you if you look at me I am a miracle. Sepsis did leave me a little gift of neuropathy for which I take gabapentin 3 times a day. I still get tired very easily. I am now fighting sores all over, mostly my face. I have been on antibiotics since May of last year. I’ve seen three doctors and none of them seem to know what’s happening. That’s when I go to my support group and they all have gone through something similar of all the weird stuff that happens to sepsis patients that doctors cannot explain. I have lost some hair from where the sores were and that’s OK cause I got plenty of headbands, wigs, and caps. They could always be worse. I’m not in a wheelchair I do still occasionally use my cane and or walker if I need to, if I’m going somewhere where I know I’m going to do a lot of walking. Wearing mostly tennis shoes these days but always something that’s fairly flat to the floor because I’m also a fall risk. I could be standing in at any time just fall down. Mostly that happens when I get tired.

I try to do my errands all in one day because the next day I’m usually down for a while. I was fortunate enough to have at least one family member with me at all times. I suffered from panic attacks in the hospital. I was taking a bucket of pills when I left the hospital and now it’s down to a bowl of pills. I took pictures or had pictures taken and I had a photo album made of those because my sepsis journey hopefully can help other people understand especially if they get it. Thank you for letting me share. God bless you. That about covers it. I am living in a senior independence apartment living. I love it here and all of us have something wrong with us it seems like. We help each other.

Send us Your Story
Learn More about SepsisSupport Faces of Sepsis