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Lorna McCormack


I was feeling extremely ill for about 3 months prior to my encounter with sepsis, with severe flu-like symptoms that I tried to take care of myself through flu tablets etc. I had a severe fear of hospitals and though I knew I was very sick, I was afraid of taking it further (to my doctor for fear of admission). Little did I know how serious it would become.

So I went away on a motorhome holiday to France with my partner (all the time playing it down). I soon got over my fear of hospital when it became fight for survival. So Sunday night having been particularly ill since Friday with severe chills and cold spells (nausea, lower back pain and severe flu), I asked my partner to sleep beside me that night (instead of the bunk) as I felt I was going to die. I slowly got up to be sick when I collapsed, crawled to the bathroom. This large amount of dark matter came up from the pit of my stomach. To my recollection it was like a basin full of dark thick seaweed that was nearly choking me.

I had a breath only every 3 or 4 seconds at this stage and was waiting to die but slowly another breath would come. And then came what was the symptoms of a heart attack (about 10 times worse than any panic attack I’ve ever had and I’ve had many) while still resting my head on the toilet. It felt like my heart all of a sudden made itself acutely aware to me. It was a thick claustrophobic feeling around my organ speedily pumping, boom boom again and again. Instinctively I just knew my fever was acute and  I pointed at the tap and motioned towards my neck. My partner was in blind panic by now. He did as gestured and instantly when he threw the soaking towel over the back of my neck, I felt new life breath in to me. At this stage the ambulance was en route to the campsite at 11.30 pm (26th May 2019, not easy for my partner with little/no French).

Brought straight into ICU for the next 12 hours of my 10 day hospital stay. That was so frightening and overwhelming that I could do nothing more than be a bystander to the chaos around me. It took them until about 1am to realise I had sepsis. Up until then it was all about what my heart was doing, how dangerously high it was. Then from time to time it would peak and swarms of doctors/nurses and my wonderful ICU ‘main man’ Dr Gonzallais panicking and running. I amazingly was just watching this from the outside in. It was the most vulnerable frightening thing to ever happen to me in my life and I’ve had my fair share of frights. All I could think of is, I’m only 48 years old and this is what it’s come to. Near death all because of a dreaded fear of hospitals. (I don’t have that now.. Lol.. How could I? They saved my life.)

I was in isolation after ICU for the next 10 days, 3 CT scans (with dye) and later they found out I had double pneumonia. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) Bacterial and viral of which the treatments were different from each other. There was hit and miss for 3 to 4 days until they got the right antibiotics that fit as I was getting slightly worse after some of the antibiotics they tried.. By the Saturday or Sunday when my temperature finally went down a notch, my nurses came in to celebrate when they heard the screech from my other lovely righthand nurse. I had been packed in ice (‘Glass in french,’ that word I will never forget lol) from the back of my neck to my lower stomach around the clock for about 6 days before the temperature shift. So that was a big one ❤️👍🎶.

My lungs will always have a tear on the lung sac they think and weaker lungs, and always must hydrate myself now as my body on the inside was like a shriveled prune (due to me not ‘liking’ water and only drank coffees all day every day.) How stupid I had been and how lucky I am to have a 2nd chance, of which I’m taking with both hands and running with. 🏃

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