Posted on December 1st, 2017
My name is Linda Swaim and in January of 2014 I went to the hospital to have a simple hysterectomy, an every day procedure, not knowing that it would be the first day of the next two months that I would be fighting for my life. (Sepsis and Surgery) I went into surgery at 2:00pm waving at my husband as they pushed me towards the OR. After the surgery the doctor went out to the waiting room and told my husband that everything went well and he would be able to see me soon.
Later on that night I was fine, but the doctor had told me prior to the surgery I would be spending one night. The following morning I was having trouble holding anything down and my white blood cell count was high, so the doctor decided to keep me just to watch me but okayed me to eat that evening. About 2 hours after eating I started to feel sick and had excruciating pain in my abdomen, and by 10:00 that night I was taken into the ICU and intubated and induced into a coma to prevent pain. An MRI was ordered that showed nothing but my abdomen was quickly filling up with some type of fluid.
I was taken into emergency surgery on the 3rd morning and found to have a through and through perforated colon that had been leaking purulent fluid into my abdomen, there was approximately a liter and a half of fluid in my abdomen. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) I was in severe septic shock and respiratory failure. I have undergone approximately 22 surgeries since the hysterectomy including but not limited to exporatory, colon repair, right below knee amputation from the pressor meds that had to be used to keep my heart pumping (Sepsis and Amputations), a tracheostomy from being intubated for too long and getting pneumonia, multiple leg revisions, multiple hernia repairs and last but not least having to have implants replace my teeth from being intubated for so long and the tubes losening my teeth. I have also had 5 DVTs.
The hardest part to deal with out of all of this is the part that was not explained to me, the life after being septic. No one told me that there would be after effects of the sepsis that there would be days of depression, days I wouldn’t want to get out of bed. No one told me that in general my health would never be the same and that any type of infection would be 10 times worse then if I had never contracted sepsis. Every day I wish someone had told me so I could have been at least aware of what the future held for me.
Since then I have made myself aware. Sepsis is no joke. For those of us who have been effected by sepsis it changes our lives forever, and awareness should be made possible. Sepsis should be taken seriously. I am very fortunate to be alive and I struggle every day to just get through it, if somebody had told me before I left the hospital how I would have to deal with sepsis maybe things would have been a little easier and life a little less complicated. If someone you know has contracted sepsis and falls ill tell them to make sure if they go to the hospital for any reason to let the doctors know they have had sepsis, push the issue it could mean the difference between life and death. I tell anyone who listens sepsis is no joke. It turned my life and my dreams upside down. i continue to struggle every day and I know things could have been different if I had known just what I was dealing with.