I struggle every day to try to come to grips with life after sepsis. My story may be confusing, because I am still confused.
Nine months ago, my nightmare began. I got a flu shot, the first one ever, and got the flu, the first time ever. (Sepsis and Influenza) I did not realize anything other than a stomach virus or cold could be the culprit. As the days went on, I felt worse and worse. Finally, on March 19, 2013, I went into a coma, drifting in and out all throughout the day. I guess I spent the day moaning loudly and vomiting. I don’t remember much of what went on. Finally, near midnight, my son and daughter decided I needed to go to the ER. I remember hearing them say I was “burning up.” I roused up and gave them my ID, bank card, and insurance cards. Then they helped me to the car, where I immediately laid down on the back seat, not even putting on a seat belt.
When we got to the ER, I again drifted in and out of consciousness. I was rushed back to a room, with an oxygen level of 73, I was admitted with acute respiratory arrest. But, thank God, the doctor suspected more than flu was wrong with me. He immediately hooked up IV and 3 different types of antibiotics. He suspected MRSA, the super bug. He tested and was correct.
I had MRSA pneumonia. (Sepsis and MRSA, Sepsis and Pneumonia) One lung was entirely filled with secretions, the other 2/3 full. I had the use of 1/3 of one lung. I did not even feel them do two arterial oxygen blood tests, very painful procedures. My family had to turn away. I remember drifting into awareness long enough to see them in tears, telling me I would be okay, that when I got home they would take good care of me, not to worry. I drifted out again, and was in a coma for 19 more days. The MRSA had gotten into my bloodstream, and my entire body was septic.
Coming out of the coma was so frightening. I could not move or speak for another 5 or 6 days. I did not know where I was, who I was, who anyone was, what had been going on in my absence. I was told I would be okay, that I was in the hospital. That meant nothing to me.
I had a trach, a respirator, a feeding tube…and no knowledge of how sick I had been, still was. I spent another nearly 3 months in a hospital and nursing home for rehab. I had to learn to talk, sit up, walk, stand, etc. It was a long hard struggle. But the struggle did not end there. MRSA and sepsis have damaged my body. I am prone to infections now. My lungs are severely damaged. I have COPD, asthma, bronchophneumonia, and bronchiectasis, all chronic, and all active. (Sepsis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) No cure. All that can be done is to try to “keep me out of trouble,” my pulmonologist says. It is scary. I have been back in the hospital since then, with pneumonia, something I had never had in my entire life. I have it now. Spent hours in the ER again last night.
I am on a regimen of antibiotics now in the hopes of preventing the worst from happening. It is my life. I feel so worn out all the time, and such a burden, over something I never knew existed…sepsis! I am a burden. No one will talk about what happened to me. I feel lost and alone, but I have been called a miracle, more than once, by the medical professionals. I don’t feel much like a miracle. I wish I had been more aware of what I was in for when I came home.
MRSA…sepsis…nearly destroyed my life. But I am alive, and for that I am truly thankful. I know God has a purpose for me. Maybe it is to help others like myself. I know I will try to make the most I can of whatever days I have left. Thank you, God. And thank you, survivors of sepsis.