Lindsey Rowe


I’m 35 and have been an ICU nurse for 13 years. I have taken care of many patients in septic shock. Yet when I was sent home from two ERs with a “just a virus” diagnosis, I didn’t think much of it. I was the sickest I had ever been, but if they thought I was okay? I must be.

I woke up from a nap literally blue. Everything hurt, including wearing clothes. My husband luckily didn’t listen to me and immediately called 911. The paramedics who came couldn’t get my blood pressure to read. They had an even harder time getting IVs started. I just assumed I’d been dehydrated from the continuous vomiting and horrible stomach pain so I figured I’d get fluids and go home.

The 3rd ER recognized what was happening immediately. They called it what it was: septic shock. I had nurses swarming over me and I was wheeled into the biggest room they had. I got antibiotics immediately, and 5 liters of fluid. I was started on meds to keep my blood pressure up and a central IV in my neck. In the ICU, I had what they thought was a heart attack but my platelets were critically low and I ended up not getting intervention. I was placed on a BiPAP and sedated.

My husband and two young daughters were prepped that I was horribly sick and things were critical. There was a good chance I’d need ECMO.

I woke up two days later able to breathe again but more tired I have ever been in my life. I kept telling the doctors “I am just so tired” to which they responded “your body has run a marathon.” It was so defeating to not be able to do anything for myself or my family.

Ultimately we found out I had invasive group A strep septic shock, an incredibly high mortality laden shock. (Sepsis and Group A Streptococcus) The heart attack was actually stress cardiomyopathy, which meant it was reversible and I would get heart function back. Just under 3 months after getting out of the hospital, I was able to run my fastest 5K ever. I know I am incredibly fortunate to have survived my hospitalization relatively unscathed. While I still have some flashbacks, I am determined to be an advocate for everyone to recognize sepsis for what it is – a dangerous condition that needs to be acted upon quickly.

Send us Your Story
Learn More about SepsisSupport Faces of Sepsis