Marieke Dufresne

Survivor

I am an incomplete paraplegic with weakness and partial paralysis from the chest down. It’s been this way since 2004 when I got transverse myelitis. (Sepsis and Paralysis) Due to TM, my bladder no longer functions properly and I have to use catheters in order to urinate. I have always been very careful, but I often get urinary tract infections (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) with which I am always asymptomatic (no symptoms), so I never really know when I have one. When I suspect I do, I make sure to get antibiotics to avoid getting any sicker. I also have a central line in my chest for IV medication, making this yet another possible source of infection.

Back in February, I got a fever and chills but chalked it up to the flu even though I rarely get sick. The fever was low grade and not worrying, but the chills were something new, a symptom I don’t recall ever getting with the flu in the past. I was also unable to hold anything down, including water.

The next day things got worse and scary fast. My fever shot up to 104F and the chills for so severe my jaw and other joints ached terribly. As a nurse, I knew then I was septic. I was rushed to the hospital, where I had an increase in temperature and severe hypotension (low blood pressure) and tachycardia (rapid heart beat). I received 7L of fluid and medication to increase my blood pressure and spent the next 24 hours under close observation, and then the next two and a half weeks in hospital on IV antibiotics. The verdict was urosepsis. My central line was also changed in case it was affected but in the end, it was clean.

I am forever grateful to the doctors and fellow nurses who saved my life and took great care of me throughout my admission. Always be vigilant about any changes in your body and health, it can save your life!