As a 2007 septic shock survivor, I have beat the odds. A surgical error made during an outpatient tubal ligation caused a catastrophic assault to my 35 year-old body. (Sepsis and Surgery) I was intubated and sedated for 6 weeks in ICU and then sent to telemetry for a few more weeks. I have no recollection of those months.
Once home, I didn’t recognize my body. I would ask my family what happened every day because I had no memory of the hospitalization and also couldn’t retain the information they gave me because of ICU delirium, hallucinations, night terrors, and a real fear of dying at any minute. And the pain. There are no words! I was sent home with a wound vac over my gaping abdominal wound infection, a PICC line for IV meds, drains for my intraabdominal abscesses, and that respiratory spirometer that I hated. We had a regular rotation of wound nurses, physical therapists, respiratory therapist and nutritionists who came to the house who were a necessary evil. With a couple of exceptions they were very kind, but what they needed from me exacerbated my pain, furthered my fatigue, and the pity on their faces pushed the limits of my anxiety and depression. Lastly, I had a bunch of follow up appointments with cardiology, infectious disease, pulmonology, and my PCP (who incidentally had no idea that I had been in the hospital) that I had to keep even though I could not eat, walk or shower without assistance. I have been humbled by the many family members, friends, acquaintances and even strangers who held me in their thoughts.