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Mary K.

Mary K.
Survivor

I’m told by doctors that my sepsis story is a strange one. That’s the reason for sharing it on this site. Early June 2021 my knee started hurting. I could not flex my knee, it felt like something locked. After a couple of days I decided to see my GP. My knee was at that time also a little swollen. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for what was thought to be a meniscus tear. The orthopedic surgeon ordered an MRI and I was given a new appointment to discuss the results in three weeks time.

Within the next few days my knee became extremely swollen. I couldn’t bend it or stretch it fully. Walking was extremely painful and the pain was there all the time. Even with total rest, the swelling didn’t subside, which I thought was strange as meniscus tears get a little better with rest. My knee just got worse, the swelling got so bad I had trouble wearing trousers. I had to wait two weeks for the MRI and in that time started feeling unwell. I had nausea, low grade fever on and off and didn’t feel like eating. At one point I felt so bad I called the orthopedic surgeon as I felt something wasn’t right. My knee was red and hot to the touch.

Initially the hospital didn’t want me to come in and told me to wait for the MRI and results. I told them I felt really sick, something was off, and if they said it was okay after I called them and explained my symptoms then they should be really sure without seeing me and the consequences would be on them if it turned out it was not okay. Eventually they told me to come in that day to be evaluated. At the end of the day I saw the orthopedic surgeon and explained how I felt. He did say my knee felt hot and there was a lot of fluid. He drained it and sent the fluid in for testing and sent me back home telling me not to call again unless I had a temperature of over 38,5 even if I was using paracetamol.

So I went back home. I had the MRI the next day and they had trouble making it. I had so much swelling the muscle in my upper leg kept twitching.

The two days after the MRI I felt so bad. My husband took me out with a wheelchair, but I felt so awful. I had missed a couple of phone calls and when I finally picked up the phone it turned out the hospital had been trying to get a hold of me. They found a bacteria in the fluid and I had to come in to the ER immediately.

In the ER they tried to drain fluid from my knee again but failed to do so. I was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure and a high CRP and ESR. They gave me intravenous antibiotics and I was scheduled for surgery the next day to clean out my knee.

That night I had a terrible headache, was extremely sweaty and I developed a high fever.

After surgery my headache was gone and surprisingly I felt so much better. I stayed in hospital a week and was sent home with oral antibiotics for 6 weeks. I apparently had a slow developing bacteria called Propionibacterium which may have been why my symptoms developed so slowly. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)

It’s now been three months. I still cannot bend my knee fully and there is still some swelling.

I have developed a sore left elbow for three weeks now and a UTI. So I am monitoring this closely, as sepsis can be slow to develop and tricky to diagnose. I have cartilage destruction grade 2 in my knee. Probably from the infection. I hope to see some improvement within the next few months. There was no trigger for my septic knee. I did not have any other infections, did not have any cuts or anything like that.

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