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Pam S.

Survivor

“I just knew”, was my response to the ER nurse when she asked me how I knew to call for an ambulance that night in March 2017. After over a week of low BP, low body temp, chills, etc., and all I was able to do is move from laying on the sofa, to my bed. Then my temp spiked to over 103 and I was delirious. I had an untreated sinus infection, and had a hip replacement a few months prior that lead to sepsis. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections, Sepsis and Surgery, Sepsis and Joint Replacements)  Treated for sepsis and released, but it happened again in September.

This past April after being treated the previous month for food poisoning and a sinus infection, I became sick. Low body temp (95), sometimes 99, my oxygen level fell into the 80s, BP 50s/40s, chills. etc. I had been to the ER 3 times within a week for a hip injury after working out. I lost 7 lbs in 3 weeks. I did mention these symptoms too, and they were noted and ignored. Within days I became delirious, confused, even psychotic episodes. I had somehow managed to drive 70 miles r/t to the GYN, the only doc who would see me in person without having to go to the ER. Urine stick was close to the darkest color, dehydrated. I was treated me for a urinary tract infection (especially fluids). I could barely manage to go into the pharmacy to pick up my prescription.

Back home my temp was 101. The tramadol with acetaminophen may have helped when my temp spiked to over 102 later that night. I knew then I had sepsis, but I wouldn’t call for an ambulance unless my temp went over 103, which it didn’t. I was afraid I had COVID-19 or would catch it at the hospital….or that I had it and would be put on a ventilator and end up dying. I was still fighting confusion and delirium. The next day, the higher fever broke and a few days later I started to feel a little better. I was suffering the entire time. 2 Telemed appointments the following week -pulmonary for the low oxygen, and my PCP suggested I may have COVID and to stay home and self-quarantine. He later ordered a COVID-19 test (negative) and last week I had the antibodies test (negative). I had a telemed appointment with my PCP yesterday, and he denies I had sepsis despite all these symptoms. I reminded him that I had sepsis and near septic shock twice before so I know the symptoms and what it feels like. He did prescribe antibiotics – I’ve had a recurrence of the sinus infection.

My oxygen level, though it went up to normal in a couple of weeks and I used a new inhaler – stayed in the mid 90s until a few weeks ago. I stopped using the inhaler and my levels are between 97-99%, perfect. My body temp is still below normal, but not as low as before. I am staying hydrated. “I knew” I had sepsis and was nearing septic shock again- worse than in 2017. I went into survival mode again and was able to seek out help. Since the end of April, I’ve been walking every day and have even been kayaking twice.

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