Hello, my name is Hennah Shah. I’m currently recovering from Sepsis. I had a pressure sore on my leg, which got bigger and infected very quickly and this began just after Good Friday. I’m in a wheelchair so the pressure sore was going to be unavoidable. In the first week, I noticed that I had a sore but it came back as nothing, three days later, I started to experience cold/flu like symptoms then went onto having fevers with temperatures extremely high or extremely cold on random. I would also shiver so much, whether I was in a warm place or not. The infection from my wound naturally began to smell to the point where I would hallucinate for hours on end and become very sick. I was very much aware that they were not real but some hallucinations were scarier than others. The worse ones were when I would see or being around people, I couldn’t see their faces properly because they would distort and change. Being around people at the time was frightening because I couldn’t take body heat and physical contact such as a handshake and hug were extremely painful and I was scared that people would pick up on the smell of the infection. Each day I would experience something new and this was all in the first week.
By the second week, my body felt like a warzone within itself because I felt physically distant from myself and I could feel it attacking itself. I lost appetite and couldn’t eat and would just drink water to hydrate myself. Even drinking water was feeding the infection and making things worse. Night times were the worst with sepsis because that’s when everything I was experiencing would come all at once and I would also violently sweat from the high temperatures. The pressure sore was seen to everyday but that wouldn’t stop the bodily fluids and infection coming out of the wound. Each day got worse and worse. Eventually, my body started to physically wear down, my emotions were everywhere and uncontrollable, one of my organs was beginning to fail. My skin went from brown to a very grey complexion with very dark circles under my eyes. Everyday was a battle to get through and I dreaded to see anyone or do anything because I was scared something would make my infection worse. I was given medication after medication but none of them would work at all and I was naturally desperate to get better.
Four days into my third week, my condition worsened and my sense of awareness was non – existent and I was going autopilot, pushing my wheelchair to see the nurses. I thought they were going to redress it; they had a look at the wound and knew they couldn’t do anymore. The nurses told me that I was very close to poisoning my blood with this infection and gave me 3 days to live. I was rushed the hospital as soon as the ambulance arrived. I was put on IV antibiotics as soon as they took my blood tests, according to them I had other organ problems and as I was very dehydrated. I was placed on IV drips for 2 days and had my first emergency debridement surgery. I didn’t know I had sepsis till after my first surgery and being temporarily discharged to wait for the second surgery. I spent two weeks back in my flat prior. Being back in my flat was traumatising for many reasons, everything I went through before the surgery, felt like it had come back. This was also when I discovered I had memory loss due to sepsis, as when I came back and saw my friends, I couldn’t recognise some of them by name or face and sometimes even both. Some of them had to re introduce themselves, and also some were hard to recognise by photographs, but with some of my friends I knew how I close I was to them before getting sick.
I had to have a catheter attached to me with a bag, I have had stomas since I was 11 when my bladder got replaced with an artificial one, so that wasn’t very new to me, but was still very restrictive. My second surgery went well but there were complications to it. I was meant to have skin and muscle graft to seal the wound, but they were unable to do that properly, so they reduced the wound size as much as possible for the next surgery. At the moment, I am still recovering from the physical side of my illness and also on bed rest for a while, but I find myself to be frustrated from my psychological and mental state as I’m now having problems remembering my closest family and friends. I am also waiting for my third surgery which I hope it will completely seal the wound and heal properly. Overall, it’s been a very traumatic experience for me, in many ways and the whole time I felt like I had my life and all I know ripped away from me, and I can’t seem to reach it. I have still got a while to go to fully recover from it all and I hope I recover sooner rather than later. Writing my story was difficult and scary, especially towards the end. Most of my memories are from being very sick and hard to recall, in terms of what I was doing, where I was going and who I was seeing at the time.