Posted on November 24th, 2017
Ashleigh, Spencers' girlfriend
It all started early in December 2016. Spencer first started to complain about lower back pain. Tried to remedy it by giving him appropriate pain killers; heating pad, massages; whatever could be done. He even told me that the Motrin back pills I had given him had helped and he was feeling better; that only lasted a few hours though. After 2-3 days had passed; Spencer had become bed ridden. Not able to sleep; extremely uncomfortable; and agitated. At one point he had become too much for me, so I got up out of bed and told him to try and rest, that I was going to see a friend and I’d be back in a couple hours.
When I returned, roughly 4 hours later, I found him in a completely altered mental status. He was mumbling a lot, couldn’t stay still, couldn’t focus, and was walking around the apartment bent over 90 degrees. I thought he had possibly taken too many pain killers and became irritated again. I called his cousin and she and her boyfriend showed up, and shortly after that we made the unanimous decision to bring him to the hospital (against his will). We had to physically carry him out of the building, put him in a cab so we could get to the medical centre that wasn’t even 2 blocks away, and then physically remove him once we got there.
They took him in right away, and it wasn’t much longer until the doctors had discovered he had a pulse of 190 bpm and that their facilities weren’t equipped to care for him. So we got transported by ambulance to a General Hospital in our city. Upon arrival he was sedated and intubated; they still had no idea what was going on. He woke up the next day and remained semiconscious for close to a week. They had preformed countless cultures, tests, and exams like a TEE, and electrocardiogram. Then the infectious disease doctor had told me that Spencer had contracted MRSA and that he was suffering from infective endocarditis because of it. The vegetation on his heart was right sided; but had broken off; and sent septic emboli to his lungs, this causing a vegetation on the left side of his heart to form. (Sepsis and MRSA)
Shortly after that a thoracic surgeon has told us that Spencer had such a large reservoir of bacteria in his body and that the damage to his lungs was the worst he had ever encountered. By this point in time, Spencer had been put into a medically induced coma (where he remained for 3 weeks). He was on the maximum dosage of Vancomycin, Daptomycin, Linezolid, Ceftriaxzone, as well as Dilaudid, Propofol, Midazolam, continuous Fentanyl drip; and was routinely paralyzed with Rocuronium in an effort to prevent his body from having to work so hard to keep him alive. The oxygen levels in his blood continued to decrease. When Spencer had first arrived at the hospital, his doctor had said that turning him onto his stomach would be one of the last things he could do to help his blood oxygenate. And now that time had come. The nurses had asked me to leave the room, so they could reposition him; (they were only allowed to keep a patient on their stomach for so long before repositioning). So, I reluctantly left the room for a short 20 minute walk and a phone call with Spencer’s mom.
When I had returned to the ICU, he had passed, his body was bagged up, and I couldn’t see him again. He died, alone on January 5, 2017, at 33 years of age after 1 month in ICU at Rockyview General Hospital.
I wish I was more persistent with him seeing a doctor. He was so stubborn though. I didn’t know the symptoms of sepsis but now that I do, I see them all, plain as day. It was so obvious. His life, and countless others could have been saved.
I love you Spencer