Natalie's Story

  • Age: 21-30
  • Location: UK
  • Story:
  • Developed Sepsis to the kidney six weeks before her wedding


When I woke up on the Friday morning I was feeling a little tired and achy and guessed I was coming down with a bug of some kind, and by the early afternoon had developed a very painful back but guessing that it was simply the first day of the month I hauled myself out to work anyway. Within two hours I had begun vomiting and the pain was intense. My boss seeing that there was something very wrong with me arranged a taxi to take to the GP who I’d gotten and emergency appointment with. Half an hour later I was practically in hysterics I was in so much pain, and simply walking caused severe pains through my back and spine. The GP took one look at me and diagnosed a kidney infection, gave me a prescription for a high dose of antibiotics and some painkillers, ordered my husband home from work in case I got worse and I was told to go home and stay put. If I got any worse I was to go to hospital immediately, but she would see me again on the Monday to see how I was.

On the Saturday my husband didn’t dare leave me alone but I needed care so I was taken to my mother’s (who is a retired nurse). I hadn’t had much of an appetite but had been made to try small amounts of things and had eaten without too much of a fuss. By Sunday morning I’d made no improvement despite my antibiotics and had started to refuse food and drink and begun to shiver uncontrollably, so despite my protests I was bundled into a car by my husband and father and taken to A&E at King’s Mill Hospital. We waited for around twenty minutes, and when we saw the triage nurse. She took my information from my mother, and suggested maybe it was a virus mixed with the kidney infection – but she wanted me checked out all the same. Leaving the room, I got really lightheaded and fainted.

They rushed me into a cubicle and took blood for analysis whilst I laid and tried to stop my head from swimming. I just remember feeling really weak and tired and I just wanted to sleep but my mam wouldn’t let me  – just in case. This doctor was back within half an hour to give a positive diagnosis of sepsis. I knew myself that sepsis wasn’t good but it was the look of horror on my mam’s face that got me really worried – normally she’s a man-up kind of person!

I was admitted onto a ward straight away and given IV’s for antibiotics, pain relief, dehydration and anti-sickness, but by the evening I’d developed a fever and had to be given a second IV of antibiotic. To be honest, I don’t remember a great deal of that except a few bits and pieces between the fever and the pain relief I was just out of it. Come morning I was moved onto another ward, added Heparin injections and told to just rest. I spent the first day just sleeping and was barely responsive to my family coming in and checking on me and had to rely on a very kind nurse to come and help me shower when I accidentally wet myself (this lasted for a few days so I’m very grateful!). As I got on I started getting up despite my bed rest orders and was trying to walk around my bed, then the ward, and eventually the corridor – admittedly clutching to my IV post at first. I was just so desperate to be better and be able to go to my wedding! I think the nurses there were too, although a fair few were shocked at seeing me walking around four days after being admitted!

A week after being admitted the doctor gave in and let me leave the hospital – but only under a nurse’s care (my mam) and only if we promised to come back immediately if I had any worsening of symptoms – even just a cold, and was sent home with a heavy supply of painkillers, antibiotics and anti-sickness. For around three weeks I was under care at home, and had regular visits to the GP to keep an eye on me.

I feel I did get off very luckily, and the doctor at the hospital believed I would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for my boss and mother being so quick off the mark and the fact that for my wedding I’d been eating healthily and exercising daily for over a year, but I still ended up losing the function of one of my kidneys (over a year on and still barely functions) and needed treatment to boost the function of my liver. On a purely vain level, I was also very dismayed to realise I’d become very pale, lost so much weight I barely fitted in my corset-back dress, lost clumps of my hair and when it did grow back through it came back grey! Still my hairdresser was very skilled so it didn’t show, and although I needed to keep taking rests throughout the day I was still able to fully enjoy my wonderful wedding day.

My mam also like to add that she was impressed at how quickly they diagnosed me and the level care of which I was given.

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