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Vicki Shenton

Survivor

Had a 5 1/2 hour planned abdominal surgery 12/23/20. (Sepsis and Surgery) Was originally told by both surgeon and anesthesiologist that I would require an overnight hospital stay. In post op recovery, there were no orders for admission so the nurses discharged me home. I didn’t know it at the time, but my sats were 89%. I was discharged home without an incentive spirometer, follow up labs and antibiotics.

I was having shortness of breath and considerable pain so I saw my surgeon within 7 days post op. I had all of incisions and drain sites covered. The surgeon said she didn’t think it was necessary to remove the dressings or sutures so told me to make an appointment to come back the following week. I went to the front desk snd they informed me for the first time my surgeon was going to her own private practice the following week I was to be seen. They said construction wasn’t done on time, so the soonest I could be seen for post op was 12 days later.

I continued to decline at home and two days before my next scheduled appointment, I couldn’t stand or walk or breathe normally. I called the surgeon’s office and her assistant said come in later that morning for an urgent visit. By the time I reached the surgeon’s office, I was also now starting to go in and out of consciousness. My surgeon came out to the waiting room and said I was too ill and needed to go to the emergency room rather than be seen and evaluated by her.

I was in the emergency room for 8 or 9 hours and was told they didn’t really see much wrong with me. When my abdominal pain would incapacitate me, I would hyperventilate. My surgeon came to the ED after her clinic hours. While my surgeon was in my ED room, the nurse that had been taking care of me reiterated not much was found during work up and suggested my hyperventilating with severe pain was actually just severe anxiety attacks.

The surgeon said they should then stop treating my pain and give me anxiolytics instead. Using the little strength I had, I strongly disagreed with the ED nurse assessment. I was transferred to a hospital floor for overnight observation. The surgeon ordered only routine vital signs. I went the whole night having tremors and dizziness and did not void. By the time the day shift arrived to finally check my vitals, I had gone into septic shock and a rapid response code was called. (Sepsis and Septic Shock)

After fluid resuscitation, I was sent to the OR for abdomen wash out. I ended up needing two more surgeries after that as the wash out did not appear to find the infection source. I am now home. I have missed several weeks of work and short term disability only covers 60% of my wages. Facing huge financial crises. My friend started a go fund me but I think people have their own financial worries. Trying to find sepsis recovery sites like this that will allow me to post my go fund me, but not having luck with this. I currently have the entire half of my abdomen open as the wound vac I tried for three days caused severe chemical burns and created multiple new wounds. My abdominal wound is about 4 inches in depth. I now have to be driven to my surgeons office daily for dressing changes. I do not have a return to work date yet. I have been a registered nurse for 24 years. I have been my own advocate throughout this entire ordeal and just can’t imagine how a patient with no medical background survives severe sepsis.

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