Sister Elizabeth G.

Survivor

Posted on December 1st, 2017

January 30th, 2017 I woke with a temp of 102. I felt terrible. I went to my doctor and saw a new nurse practitioner. She did a few tests and told me I had the flu. So for three days I took Theraflu, Tylenol, and Musinex, but no antibiotic. As I got sicker they said I should rest more. By February 4th, I was completely unable to control my bodily functions. I woke up knowing I was going to die…with some strange awareness and strength I was able to call 911.

I slipped in and out of consciousness for the next few hours. The ER doc said I had pneumonia and was septic. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I had no idea what sepsis was at that time. After being in the ER a couple of hours, still with little control of my bodily functions I went into septic shock. I have a few vague memories of the ER Doc putting in a PICC line.

After spending about 10d ays in the hospital, 8 in ICU, I finally went home. The infectious disease doctor who saw me said it would be best if I could take a month to recuperate. I thought he was crazy. But after a few days home I knew I was sicker than I thought.

It is now November of 2017 and can say I finally feel my energy returning, but I still do not feel like my old self. I tire easily, my memory is very bad, I sometimes feel I am in someone else’s body. At one point I started to lose my hair, but thankfully that stopped and it is growing back in. It may sound strange, but my body smells differently.

Sometimes I have flashbacks to the ICU. I know I had some very vivid auditory hallucinations, and feel I am not sure what parts of the experience were real. The awareness of impending death and the hallucinations are what haunt me. (Sepsis and Hallucinations)

What I am sure of is that if I had not somehow called 911 I probably would not be here now. I am so grateful for everything the EMTs and the hospital did for me. Now I am left to just try to figure out how to live with the changes.

All of this happened in Arkansas, I now live in New York. I want to find a doctor who will help me understand what happened and help me by acknowledging the trauma. Everyone says “Wow, you are lucky you survived.” I know that in my deepest core, I have all my limbs, I did not have to go on a ventilator…I am lucky, blessed, incredibly graced to be here and functioning. Each day is a gift to be lived fully and I try to do that the best I know how…in gratitude and in constant prayer for others going through this experience.