My first septic shock was in June 2015. I went in for a routine hysterectomy at 39 years old, which became complicated. (Sepsis and Surgery) My bladder was perforated, and this was missed. I went home feeling great, but I had extensive bruising on my ever swelling belly, which doctors assured me was normal because of the 400+ vessels they had to cauterize or tie, since my surgery was so complicated. Two weeks later, I felt like I had a UTI on a Sunday morning. My 9 year old son had a birthday laser tag party at 4pm, so my doctor agreed to call in antibiotics and I would see her the next day. I picked up the meds, but things went sideways quickly. I only remember calling for help, being in the ER, and a paramedic taking my son out of my curtain, over his shoulder, reaching for me. I had coded.
I had 6 procedures to rebuild my urinary tract. Two weeks in the hospital, ureter stents (worst things ever) and 6 months of IV and oral antibiotics. I came away with mild neuropathy, and couldn’t eat. If I ate, I threw up. This went on for 16 months, and the neuropathy got worse.
January 2017, I was taken by ambulance for emergency gall bladder removal. Who would think that ANOTHER routine surgery could go terribly wrong, and I would go into septic shock AGAIN? What are the odds?
A lot of dramatic stuff happened here, but I’ll jump ahead. I woke up in Georgetown Hospital in March. I miraculously avoided amputation, but had extensive nerve damage to my extremities, and was at that time paralyzed from the neck down, and anything touching me hurt like hell.
I didn’t want to believe the doctors, that I had a long rehabilitation ahead of me, that I’ll likely need a transplant. So far, I don’t need the transplant, but my rehabilitation has been long. I was hospitalized a total of 7 months straight. Seven months I lost with my son. I learned to move my arms, feed myself, swallow food. I contracted c diff three times, twice ending up in ICU. I was released in August 2017, in a wheelchair. (Sepsis and C. Difficile)
That September, my then 10 -year-old son and I decided to do the Sepsis Awareness Superhero Challenge. We started with a few steps with my walker, then I wheeled my wheelchair, then he pushed me. We went out 6 times, but we made our mile. We did the Challenge in 2018, and I was able to WALK the entire mile, no walker, no crutches, just my “human crutches,” my son and his friends and their moms.
I still walk with a limp. I get tired easily. But I’m alive. And I’m getting better every single day. And I’m grateful.