Nathan Cole


Good Morning Everyone,

The photo used was taken less than 30 days before I almost died due to septic shock. (Sepsis and Septic Shock) I was only a Lance Corporal who had also just been promoted this same month. I was stationed at Okinawa, Japan at this time and it was my first day at this barracks. I was bitten by an unknown insect while I slept. Two days later I could not move my left knee to save my life, so I hobbled to medical to see what was wrong. I thought I had just hurt my knee and nothing serious was wrong. They ended up lancing what I thought was just a cyst or swollen part of an injury, it turned out I was very wrong. Lots of pus came out and it was so painful when they were trying to clean it up. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)

They prescribed me a bunch of meds and ordered me to follow a strict cleaning and antibiotic regiment. Two weeks later, I was in the ER. They weren’t sure what was wrong with me. My HR was in the 140s, I had a fever, a rash over 25% of my body and my blood pressure was low. They somehow managed to stabilize me and I thought the nightmare was over. It wasn’t. I ended up having to go to another base to talk to my parent command due to a family issue. My Mentor helped me out. He could tell I was in a rough spot. So he drove me to the secondary command I was temporarily following and dropped me off at my barracks there.

I had an instinctual feeling of dread and my body was not reacting to my commands well at all. I was in so much terrible pain, so I told my roommate to go tell the Duty NCO what is going on and then come back to help me get my cammies off. I couldn’t hardly think, I was so so so cold. The Duty NCO came back with my roommate and instantly started dialing the base emergency medical personnel number. My roommate was helping me strip to my green on green clothes so the medical personnel could handle me as appropriately as possible.

I was in a critical condition for 5 days. The pain was horrible, I couldn’t walk to use the restroom. The rash spread to 90% of my body. Fever of 104, I felt like I was freezing to death. Resting heart rate of 140. My blood pressure had almost bottomed out. They found evidence of a severe allergic reaction to the medication used to treat the infection. The the medication was ineffective against the infection. I was going through DRESS Syndrome and septic shock at the same time.  (Sepsis and Septic Shock) I was so tired, so exhausted. Even the Commanding General of III MEF was notified of my situation. I only survived because a doctor I am very thankful to, conducted an emergency procedure to save my life. He inserted an IV from the artery in my neck, directly to my heart and injected a “dangerous” blood pressure medication to increase my blood pressure. This combined with the other two IVs in both my arms, a lot of fluid, a lot of antibiotics and whatever else they did, saved my life.

I fought to stay in the military for 3 years, but even now 4 years 3-4 months after the injury I have to rely on a combo of roughly a dozen meds to keep my body working pretty well. I am no where near as strong or fast as I used to be physically, but mentally I am extremely strong!

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