Phillip Cunningham

Survivor

Posted on May 17th, 2019

It all started with a 4 mm kidney stone. (Sepsis and Kidney Stones) As it was only 4 mm and not larger, it usually would be left to pass out of my body without medical intervention. But it got stuck, right where the right kidney entered the ureter. The ureter got infected, due to the urine and waste products in it and the kidney stone acted as a dam, thereby blocking the flow of urine to the bladder through the ureter. The right kidney bulged and grew bigger and fuller as it couldn’t drain the urine away because of the kidney stone dam blocking the ureter. The ureter infection spread to the right kidney and then my blood got infected. The infected blood flowed all around my body and then my right lung collapsed. Blood pressure plummeted to way under 100 for the systolic blood pressure reading. Septic shock had begun.

I had been sent to Blacktown Hospital by ambulance from Mount Druitt Hospital and whisked into theatre where they removed the kidney stone and inserted a shunt between my right kidney and the bladder. I was then put into the Intensive Care Ward where I stayed for 10 days. I was in a coma when I was taken back to the ward and I stayed in the coma for 3 days with a breathing tube in my mouth for I couldn’t breathe for myself, a feeding tube going into my nose, the dialysis machine connected to my arm churning away while it was plugged into me, and fluids from a drip bag that was regularly replaced connected to me and something on my neck for the antibiotics to be administered.

While I was in my coma I created and lived in a dream world where I was a Welsh truck driver in Wales who streamed relationship advice to the internet, flew helicopters and sailed in ships and after when I woke up, back in the real world where everybody lived I was still in the dream world. My wife who came to see me every day got yelled at by me once as I told her she had interrupted my streaming three times, just by her coming that day to visit me. Later, when I returned home, she said I was just sitting up quietly in bed, just staring into space, doing nothing at all. At one time in my dream world I thought I was in a restaurant car park, another time I thought that I was in Melbourne. This is when I wasn’t driving trucks in Wales. I was off the planet in my own dream world. This dream world of mine continued for the whole 10 days that I was in intensive care and 3 of the 6 days that I was in the general ward and the dreams were to me were so real, that the dream world was the world in which I lived and not the world that I and everybody else really lived in. I remember more of the dream world than the real world.

On my fourth day in intensive care, after waking up from the coma I had a fleeting moment of clarity as I was fully alert when my wife came in and it was the first time that I had seen her since being admitted. I yelled out to her, “You’re here, you’re here, you’re real, you’re real” and then I slipped back into the dream world. But, I don’t remember my sister and brother-in-law coming to see me twice, or for that matter my daughter and her husband who also came twice to see me and I don’t remember my pastor or my father, and two people from my church coming to see me either as all those times I was deep inside my dream world. After being in the Intensive Care ward for 10 days I spent 6 days in the General Ward where I basically got my life back.

Fortunately, before being admitted to Blacktown Hospital, I had attended Mount Druitt Hospital on the Wednesday where blood tests had been taken and had been cultured to see what grew. I didn’t have any signs of sepsis or septic shock on the Wednesday, no-one including myself had any inkling that sepsis was on the way. All I had was a little bit of pain, possibly a 4 out of 10. I was sent home to await the result of the blood tests. I was rung up on the Friday and told that I had blood poisoning and to come to the hospital straight away and so I did. By the time I got to Blacktown Hospital after being at Mount Druitt Hospital earlier that day the sepsis by then had turned into septic shock. The thing that worked in my favour though was that since they had the 2 days to culture the blood tests, they knew exactly what bacteria it was that had invaded my body and so they were able to target it with the correct antibiotics. The sepsis disappeared and all was well.

I had the best of care at both hospitals. Everybody who had something to do with me performed perfectly, right from the beginning in Emergency at Mount Druitt Hospital on both of the days that I was there with its doctors and nurses and at Blacktown Hospital for the 16 days with its surgeon, its doctors, the nurses of both wards that I was in, the physiotherapist, the on-call weekend doctor and the urology doctor as well. Everything went smoothly like a well-oiled machine, like clockwork. After all, God was in control for he had in the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 given me the time to heal for it says: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, a time to die…a time to heal”. God gave me that time, the time to heal. God healed me. Hallelujah! Praise God.