Posted on March 2nd, 2018
On October 3, 2017 I had a pretty minor procedure done in outpatient surgery. The next day back home and rested I was feeling good enough to have company over. That afternoon I loaded my kids up, commenting on how wore out and achy I felt all of a sudden and thinking I’d overdone it and probably should’ve taken a nap. By the time I got to town I felt like my skin was burning and I was struggling to drive. I got to our gym and lay down in the lounge. I was shaking and crying and curled up in a ball by this point. My husband came in and said he was taking me home. (Sepsis and Surgery)
My temperature was 104. My husband called the hospital where I’d just had the surgery and talked with them about all of this. They wanted me to come back and start IV antibiotics but were worried about me making the 2-hour drive. It was decided I was going to the local ER instead. They ran the usual tests and blood work, started an iv with fluids and Tylenol and gave me Augmentin. My white blood cell count was only slightly elevated so the antibiotic was said to be in case it was an infection. I got home and ate so that I would not be taking it on an empty stomach and went to bed. Within the hour I was violently ill. I could not keep anything down. My stomach hurt all night and my temperature peaked and broke over and over. It was a long miserable night and I got very little sleep.
We had made an appointment with a local doctor for the next day. They ran more tests and sent me back to the hospital for more blood work. My temperature was running around 102 now with alternating Tylenol and Motrin. I had tried to eat but had no appetite. My blood pressure was low and my white blood cell count had lowered. This doctor gave me a Rocephin shot and started me on a new antibiotic and something for nausea. As we were leaving they told us to watch my blood pressure getting any lower.
We got home and I took more meds and went back to bed. By this time everything hurt and I was adamantly not getting out of bed again. I vaguely remember my husband and my mother-in-law checking my blood pressure and stressing over it. When he loaded me back up in his truck a few hours later I told him I’d never been this sick my whole life. He got me to the ER where they said I was septic and admitted me into ICU because my blood pressure was now dangerously low.
Things started moving quickly then. I was started on bags of fluids, IV antibiotics and pain meds. I just remember not being able to open up my eyes without pain and feeling so dizzy and disoriented. I couldn’t answer the doctor’s questions.
It was now Oct. 6th. I was getting chest x-rays, an EKG, ultrasounds on the belly and chest, and more blood work done. Different doctors came in to discuss different scenarios and no one really seem to know what was wrong with me.
I was in ICU for three days. I was puffy and swollen and could barely bend my fingers from all the fluids. I was sore from all the bed rest but my fever was staying down finally. I tried my best to eat and walked some around the nurses station. I had some nerve issues but I figured that would fade once I got home. I wanted the IV out most of all. After I’d received my 9th bag of fluids along with some magnesium, potassium, morphine, and one last round of antibiotics, the doctor visited with me about my desire to go home. She’d said I was to be resting at home, taking a new antibiotic she was prescribing me, getting tons of water and to come back if my fever returned. I was then set free and we felt like we’d made it to the end of this crazy ride and were so relieved.
I spiked a fever a couple days later. The ER doctor told us I’d probably just caught a cold and that I didn’t need to come to the ER just because I had a fever. He said my hospital doctor who’d told us that was new and being overly cautious. He checked me for strep and the flu, drew blood and sent me back home. I continued to run a low-grade fever and we all stressed over what that could mean and my people prayed.
I saw a new doctor the next day. He sent me back to the hospital for more blood work and blood cultures and tests and talked to the other doctors involved in my case. He ordered a week of IV antibiotics at the hospital twice a day as well as an oral antibiotic 4x a day. This all felt insane but we were just relieved to finally have answers.
A few weeks following this treatment I was finding my joints bothering me more and more and my nerve issues were not going away. My doctor said my body had been on full defense mode and was attacking everything. He ordered an MRI, more blood work and consultation with a neurologist. I did physical therapy for two months before I began to feel even remotely back to normal.
I had never heard of sepsis before this. I am 36 years old and generally healthy. I had developed a cold the week before my surgery and hadn’t gotten much sleep. I think that may have weakened my immune system. There were no complications with the surgery but I had a streptococcus D infection and my body was unable to stop it. I thank God for his grace and that I get to claim the title of sepsis survivor.