Sepsis Survivor Shares her Story – Kayla Irick


February 12th, 2019

A personal essay by Kayla Irick:

I’ll never forget the pain I encountered on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. I was 22-year-old, a dental hygiene student, full-time dental assistant. Pain radiated from my back and I felt like I was being stabbed. I called my mother to ask her what passing a kidney stone was like and she explained that I should pass it within an hour or two. I waited until I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and got my mother to drive me to the ER. When I arrived at the ER, the PA instructed the RN to give me a pain shot and send me on my way.

The next morning, I was feverish and began vomiting and still in pain. I made my husband take me back to the ER where I received another pain shot and a CT scan revealed a 6mm kidney stone on my left side. I was instructed it would pass and I was sent home again.

Sunday morning, I woke up again feverish and vomiting getting ready to head to a different hospital when a urologist called asking if I wanted surgery the next day. I said yes and lay in misery until 6 am on Monday, Oct. 17. I went into surgery and my best friend was my surgical nurse. I only remember being wheeled back, crying my eyes out in pain.

When I woke up, I was surrounded by my nurses pouring ice on my body as my temperature was 108. I could hear the nurses saying my BP was 60/20, pulse was 199 and temp was 108.

It turns out the kidney stone I would “pass” had a large abscess behind it that went into my bloodstream. I don’t remember much until I woke up in ICU with an oxygen mask and I heard nurses talking about doing a PICC line and getting my blood gases. It was then I heard the doctor tell my husband that my body organs were failing and I needed life support and Xigris to even have a chance at surviving.

I spent 3 days on life support and an additional 4 days in the hospital.

I realize how blessed I was to have made it out alive. All of the odds were stacked against me. I’m thankful for the quick thinking of all of the nursing staff and for my husband for allowing all of the procedures to occur because I was too sick to make my own decisions.

I was septic again in 2014 with pyelonephritis, sadly! I tell my story every chance I get to raise awareness for SEPSIS! Within the last couple of years, I have lost a good childhood friend and an uncle to SEPSIS and since I am a two-time survivor I spend what free time I have raised awareness for Sepsis!

To read more about Kayla, click here.