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Robert Helton

Featured, Survivor

In February 2021 I received care from a neighborhood physician’s assistant for a hangnail that had become infected. After having the infection drained, I was prescribed an antibiotic. Two weeks later I became ill with severe diarrhea and returned to the same office. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections) I was prescribed Cipro and Flagyl for potential diverticulitis and my symptoms subsided.

Another two weeks passed and again, I was sick again with the same symptoms and visited my primary care physician and was again prescribed Cipro and Flagyl and the physician’s assistant also ordered a CT scan that later revealed irritation in my colon but no diverticulitis. My condition again temporarily improved; however, two weeks later I developed severe diarrhea, a fever of 103, and nausea.

My primary care physician saw me directly, said I did not have diverticulitis, ordered bloodwork and an EKG stat, and the results revealed that I was septic. At the hospital, I was immediately given an IV with piperacillin-tazobactam. I was having severe cramping, hallucinations and the chills while managing to take care of my personal needs independently as the hospital, was also dealing with COVID-19. Later that night I was admitted for sepsis/C. Diff infection, started on a long regimen of vancomycin and spent several days recovering in a med-surge unit. (Sepsis and C. Difficile)

I was fortunate to get care quickly, but the after affects of dealing with this have been difficult. I rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a time, my overall energy level has been severely compromised, I become anxious every time I visit the restroom, and realize that my personality has become a bit different. Buspirone has helped me cope, and I gain strength from talking to others who are presently dealing with chronic illnesses. I am better than I was; however, I am still not whole. God bless you all who are traveling with me on this unexpected journey.

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