I already have an incurable brain condition that leaves me exhausted doing the smallest things, agonising migraines every day, sickness, bones that hurt and ache. I feel like a failure as I can’t run round the park with my kids and people take so much for granted, I want to be a good wife and have my house immaculate and dinner waiting for my partner at tea time, yet some days I struggle to get down the stairs, I have had 7 lots of brain surgeries. All that is hard enough to deal with let alone battling with post sepsis syndrome.
I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of sepsis. I was awaiting my 8th brain surgery as I needed a new shunt in my head, I had a Picc line in my arm that had been there 4 months as after all my surgeries my veins were knackered. A nurse was supposed to come out and flush and change my Picc line dressing each week but didn’t. I felt ok, well, no worse than I normally did, I turned up to the hospital in October 2016 at 8am for my surgery and a nurse checked the Picc line was working and ‘flushed’ it.
Within minutes my whole body started shaking I was freezing cold, I had 6 blankets on but then my temperature shot up to 43, then I started vomiting bright yellow/green bile, apparently from my liver, it was burning my throat and I vomited 40+ times non-stop for 4 hours, I was in and out of consciousness. They took bloods straight away as they suspected an infection because of my temperature, I truly thought I was going to die and I couldn’t understand how this just came on so suddenly.
I started to feel better and my op was obviously cancelled so I said I’d go home and wait for my blood results, at 8am I woke to a call from the hospital in London to say I needed to call an ambulance and get to the hospital immediately otherwise I could die within hours and that I had a serious infection. Bedford hospital were faultless, they were waiting for me with a team of 7 doctors and rushed me in, pushing all kinds of medicine through my Picc line, again it happened the vomiting and shaking and my blood pressure dropped to 43/22, that’s when they said my body was in septic shock, I was rushed to intensive care and I was told it was critical and I had a 40% chance of survival as my crp was 530 and my body was shutting down.
I have never been so scared in my life.
I had heart monitors, tubes in my throat, lines in my heart, machines everywhere, I wasn’t allowed to see my children, mum, sister, husband or anyone as I also picked up another life threatening contagious infection.
I was so alone, it has ruined me as a person, I now suffer from PTSD. I’m losing my hair due to the sepsis attacking my immune system and skin follicles and my brain has been majorly affected. I suffer from terrible short term memory loss, I’m exhausted all the time, I hate my kids seeing me so down and poorly all the time and I have spoken to people 3 years post sepsis that are still not back to themselves.
Obviously I’m more than grateful that I am here today with my family and children and I am forever grateful for that. I know some people are not that lucky, but it’s just a shell of me left, it causes depression, exhaustion, sickness, my head pain on top of everything else, all the nerves in my back are permanently damaged from the 50+ lumbar punctures over the years to control my brain condition, it may sound vain but the only thing I love about myself is my hair and now I’m losing that too, the PTSD has left me having anxiety attacks and have no interest in anything. I don’t want to be around people, I don’t want to see anyone, I don’t really leave my house. I do have some good days and take advantage of these days, but I’ll never be well enough to work again. I envy people that can have exciting days out with their children or even take their dogs for a stroll.
Please don’t ever take your health for granted and always live every day to the full, you never know when it’s going to be taken away from you and we only live once. I may ‘look’ ok on the outside but I’m far from ok. Not all disabilities or illnesses can be seen, I don’t expect sympathy from anyone, just for some of my friends and family to understand. I’m not moody some days for no reason, I am stroppy but sometimes I can’t help it, I have a few friends who are the same, who have illnesses that are not visible and struggle like I do.
Sepsis is a life changer and can start with simple flu like symptoms, high temp, body shivers, vomiting etc PLEASE just ask ‘’could it be sepsis?’’ you could save a loved one’s life. I’m speaking out as there are certain friends I have known for 25 years that didn’t so much as send a text when I was in hospital, even when I was told I could die, not even my own father got in contact and these people knew as were told.
You DEFINITELY learn who your friends are when you’re that poorly, so many people have rallied round to help not just me but with the kids and Paul as it’s not just me that’s going through this but Paul and the kids have too. Without them I wouldn’t be here today.
I will always remember who contacted me and asked how I was even though I wasn’t well enough to even look at my phone…I appreciated it so much. I get by each day by thinking there’s always someone worse off than me, but sometimes nothing helps but I’m trying to get myself better and the old Laura will be back one day.
I love my friends and family so much and I’m grateful I’m here today, my kids are so strong and I love them with all my heart. Paul has been through this with me every step of the way and he deserves a medal, he’s honestly been my rock, he’s stood by his vowels in sickness and in health, he’s one in a million.
I have met many new friends on here that are battling post sepsis syndrome too and PTSD. If anyone knows someone that’s battling this I’m always happy to help, I have applied to be a telephone consultant for the sepsis trust to be there and support people going through what I have been through, hopefully I will be well enough soon to do so.
Thank you for reading my story and remember educate yourself about sepsis it’s a silent killer and is killing more people than cancer every day. I hope by spreading my awareness someone’s lives will be saved.