My mother had been ill with flu like symptoms for about five days. Her 4-year old grandson and youngest daughter had had similar symptoms, and she thought that a couple of days in bed and some hot drinks would soon remedy the situation.
She was feverish, had a very sore throat and was aching all over, but she shrugged off any suggestions of calling out the doctors, as she had wedding flowers to complete for a client and adamant that she must finish those first. She also had a slight rash on her chin, but due to some extreme allergies, she presumed that she had bathed in something that hadn’t agreed with her. Unfortunately, she collapsed twice at home and my sister and father called an ambulance as they were so concerned for her health.
When my sister called me to tell me that an ambulance had been called, and she was taken to the local A&E department, at worst we thought that she would be kept in overnight and given some antibiotics, and possibly even some fluids if she was found to be dehydrated. My dad followed the ambulance and my mother was assessed on admission and made comfortable. Overnight he received a call to say that Mum was being moved to a High Dependency Unit, so that they could keep a closer eye on her. We still assumed that this was routine and that there wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about.
I arrived at the hospital the following morning with my Dad, and we were immediately taken into a relatives’ room in the ITU, and told that my Mum “is a very, very sick lady”. The consultant came out and briefed us a few hours later (at this point we still hadn’t seen her), and what he told us will forever be etched in my memory. She was fighting for her life, had sepsis and double pneumonia, and had been put into an induced coma, on a ventilator and was in multi-organ failure. He told us that the next couple of hours were critical. They wanted to transfer her to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff (about 6 miles away) but she would not survive the journey, so would need to try to stabilise her first.
She was eventually moved to University Hospital Wales about five hours later by ambulance and spent the next four days fighting the hardest battle of her life. Sepsis ravaged her body and the number of machines and medication keeping her alive was incalculable. Her prognosis was worse by the minute and her chances of survival never got above 5%. She passed away soon after.
She was a very active 62 year old, who had her own floral design business and enjoyed her golf, travelling overseas with her husband, Mike, and spending quality time with her family and friends. In 2012 she had accompanied my Dad on his overseas contracts to New Zealand and the Bahamas, which they both thoroughly enjoyed. One thing you could say was that they made the most of every minute, and loved exploring. They also had their second home in Spain, which was another of their great loves. Married for over 42 years, my Dad is now alone, and having to find a new purpose in life.
Over 250 people attended her funeral service, and her death has left everyone stunned and deeply saddened. It is the aim of those affected to raise awareness of Sepsis, and to hold fundraising events in aid of UK Sepsis Trust, so that more research can be done to avoid another loss.