Michael came home from work a few days before Thanksgiving 2018 with a terrible stomachache. We just assumed it was a stomach virus, because everyone in town had been sick with it. The next morning he said he felt a little bit better, and he even went into work. Work sent him home shortly after he arrived. He had severe stomach pains, nausea, and diarrhea. We texted a little through the day, and he never said anything alarming.
When I got home from work that evening, I tried to get him to drink some Gatorade, but he was too weak to hold the glass. I thought to myself maybe he has pneumonia? I got my stethoscope and went to listen to his lungs. As I got closer I noticed that something was wrong with his lips. I turned on all of the lights so I could get a better look at him. His lips and ears were purple, his skin was incredibly white. I asked him if he could stand and he said he was fine to walk. The kids watched him walk out of our house. He walked into the ER and they rushed him back.
The triage nurse was in as much shock as I was to see that his vitals were 100% normal. Michael was so confused as to why myself and the nurses were so concerned. He didn’t feel like he was “that sick.” They rushed him back to the trauma room because something was seriously wrong, but they had no idea what. CT scans, x-rays, blood work, fluid boluses, IV antibiotics… He had a team of 8 working quickly. The lab results came back within 10 minutes pointing to sepsis. The doctor told us they knew what was wrong, but not what had caused the sepsis.
He was critical, but we were on the right path. We would be admitted to the ICU. His color started to return, but he also began to develop petechiae all over. His biggest complaint was that his feet were cold. I called his sister to come to the ER ASAP. As she was walking into the room, I was rushing out because his breathing had become irregular and he was incredibly anxious. The doctor rushed in and said I’m sorry, we are going to have to intubate him. They shuffled us quickly down the hall into a room and I could hear the commotion. I knew what was going on. They were coding him.
A quiet woman came and stood in the room with us, she was there because he wasn’t making it. Fifteen minutes later the doctor came back in to tell us that Michael had passed, they were not able to save him. From symptom start to death, he was sick less than 24 hours. We were at the hospital 2 hours before he passed. Michael had a hereditary anemia called spherocytosis, and his spleen had been removed when he was a child because of this. (Sepsis and Impaired Immune System) The lack of spleen allowed the virus to overtake his body. The blood results would show us that he had streptococcus pneumoniae in his blood. Michael left behind his wife and 3 children ages 2, 6, and 8.
Source: Melissa Butler, wife