Warren Camp

Featured, Survivor

I went to the hospital with severe back issues, to get a cortisone injection on a Thursday night. They ran tests Friday & scheduled injection for Monday. Saturday, a nurse was replacing an IV. While putting in the IV, she stuck me with the catheter, then pulled it out, sit it down, then stuck me with the same catheter again, digging around (I knew it was wrong but the pain from the back I was in and speed this happened just let it go ).

An hour later I noticed the swelling and shut off IV and called the nurse because it had infiltrated. Another nurse came and did another IV. Very early Monday morning I woke to chills and cold, which I am always hot. Quickly I began shivering uncontrollably. I hit the call button, and with the door open I tried to yell, but nothing would come out and I gasped for air. Soon the nurse came in, calling another nurse. They put several warm blankets on me, put O2 through nose. They tried taking vitals, at which one nurse yelled my O2 was below 70. They called code and there were about 5 nurses in the room. They had put the mask over my face with O2 maxed out. One nurse laid across my body to hold me down, trying to get me still enough to get my BP.

Next I remember an hour later everything was back to normal. I asked what happened and they said they did not know. Later that evening I received the cortisone injection. I was in the hospital till Thursday then released that night. I had asked each day if they ever figured out what had happened and they always replied, not sure, but don’t worry, it’s gone.

I went home on a walker. By Saturday was much better and progressed to a cane around the house. Sunday started feeling worse, but thought it was just my arthritis getting bad. Monday I had to start using the walker again and once my wife got home, we discussed it, but I didn’t want to just go to the ER and sit for them to do nothing (I worked in the medical field in the military so had some experience here). I woke Tuesday morning at 5am unable to move at all, in unbearable pain. Wife called ambulance, and they took me to a close medical center where the nurse diagnosed the sepsis right away.

I had a baseball size knot on both sides of my arm where the bad IV had been. They put in IV with antibiotics and pain meds, then rushing me to main hospital. My BP dropped down to around 43/38 two different times (I thought that it was over then). I went from ER once stabilized to ICU, from ICU to infectious unit. I had several different IV antibiotics. After 2 days testing they did an emergency back surgery to clean out an infection pocket in my spine where the cortisone injection had been. I was in the hospital for 30 days at which time the insurance company made them move me to a nursing home.

I was at the nursing facility for 5 months. The first 3 months I do not remember much. They rolled me side to side as only movement. The pain was unbearable. They could not touch me anywhere. It was like having my whole body burnt up. The cancer doctor had been called in for the pain medicines because they did not know how to treat this 24/7 pain. After 3 months the pain started getting better but took 5 months for most to go away.

At the start I weighed 294 (am 6’2”). After 3-1/2 months I weighed less than 180 (skin & bones). I started eating some then and around 5 months doing better. I had been flat on back so long that my knees legs and back had no bend. At six months I went back to the hospital to get a right hip replacement. (It was bone on bone before the sepsis and was scheduled). In the 6 months flat on my back, the bone had grown together and had to be hammer and chiseled out for replacement).

6 months in hospital and nursing facility with 8 months of dual antibiotics (I was still on IV antibiotics once home). Learned to walk again. It took about 3 years of going to Veterans Hospital, outside hospitals and specialists, and going to gym to get to the “best I will be” point. Kidneys and liver, permanent spine damage, leg nerve damage, and front lobe mini strokes (memory) were the damage. Overall very lucky to be able to get around and be alive. This happened in 2018 at age 54.

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