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Natasha N

Survivor

In June 2020, I had a uterine outpatient procedure that was pretty standard. I had already gone through a bit of a frustrating time with my OBGYNS with IUD pain and abnormal bleeding, so I was glad to finally have some answers, even though frustrating and traumatic. I was given antibiotics post-procedure and felt fine the next two days.

My boyfriend and I were on a road trip when I starting feeling very uncomfortable in the car and slight cramps. I was told this was a potential side effect of the procedure so I thought nothing of it. We get to the hotel that evening and I shower before bed. After the shower, I started feeling very exhausted and fatigued, and it hurt to pee/use the bathroom. I honestly thought I was just having constipation. I crawled into bed and immediately got the chills. After about an hour of shivering but sweating at the same time, my concerned boyfriend gave me some Tylenol in hopes I could sleep a few hours, We decided if I didn’t feel better after getting some sleep that we would go to the ER since we had a long road ahead the next day. The next early morning, my abdomen was in excruciating pain. I could not walk, my ears felt muffed, I was very disoriented and dizzy and still had a fever. We rushed to the closest emergency room, 30 minutes away and when I got there, I could barely stand or move and I was in so much pain. (Sepsis and Surgery)

I was rushed to the ER, where my blood pressure was significantly low, and I had tachycardia. The doctors and nurses couldn’t get an IV line in me, I was such a hard stick. Even with an ultrasound machine, my veins were not cooperating. I finally got a line in my neck, and arm after what felt like HOURS getting stabbed. I was in so much pain, I was coming in and out of consciousness. I was given a uterine ultrasound, and the OBGYN and ER doctor decided I needed to be admitted and have emergency surgery. The issue was trying to keep my fever and blood pressure stable pre-surgery. I had toxic shock syndrome and sepsis from Staphylococcus aureus. (Sepsis and Toxic Shock Syndrome, Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)

I was finally admitted and 19 hours later, finally had emergency surgery at midnight.
I felt immediately better post-surgery, it was like night and day. I spent a week in the hospital and had a PICC line post hospitalization that I had to administer antibiotics to myself daily for a month. I know I could have been in a worse position if I was not a healthy and active woman already.

But, it is not all rainbows and butterflies. I now have added to my military service-related PTSD, with PSS extensively. I forget things constantly, have panic and anxiety attacks, and there are days I physically feel like I cannot get up. I have 2 more surgeries upcoming for unrelated issues, and I am terrified I will get sepsis again. Even shaving my legs, getting a hangnail, anything blood related I have major anxiety with.

I thank God, I am alive today and that I was with my boyfriend at the time. I live alone, and would not have brought myself to the ER I am sure of it. I will continue to fight for sepsis awareness so no one has to be in my same shoes!

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