Hi, I'm Diane M.,
My sepsis story started July 8 2016, I was having an ovary removed to check for cancer. what was suppose to be a 45 minute procedure turned into a 1.5 hrs, and abdominal staples which I wasn't supposed to have. I was sent home with no explanation just told to return in a week to have staples removed.I went back to have the staples removed, I noticed a smell immediately. I work in heath care so I knew this smell. I had an infection. With no real exam I was provided a prescription for oral antibiotics and sent home. That evening I started to run a fever, hallucinations, was struggling to breath and 911 was called. At the hospital I waited on a stretcher in the hallway for a few hours before I finally seen by a doctor. Then everything went like a whirlwind, blood work and scans. The doctor then did a small debridement of dead flesh. I was prescribed IV antibiotics and I was admitted to hospital. About 3 days later, I thought I was improve, but boy was I wrong. While in a doctors came in to look at some tests results. Suddenly I was fading, all I can remember hearing is “were losing her, call her family.” My son was told I had died on the table but survived.
When I woke the next day, I had a 34cm long, 6 cm deep, 6 cm wide open incision across the bottom of my stomach and I was hooked to a vac machine. I was told I had an infection and was sent home week later to heal. My coworkers (home support nurses) come in every second day to clean, pack the wound and vac machine. It took 5 months for the wound to finally close. In the meantime I was having memory issues, like forgetting what I was saying midsentence and how to spell some words, it was so frustrating, I was also told I could start driving again it took me two weeks to get the nerve up. When I got behind the wheel, I started to shake like crazy, couldn't figure this out. I’m a home support worker and driving is part of my job. This is when I was when I was told I suffered PTSD.
While home in my recovery, I had to have forms completed for insurance purposes. For this part purpose I needed to request my hospital records. It was going through these records that I finally found out what actually happened to me! It turned out that my bowel had been nicked during the first surgery to remove the ovary. This caused issues with ligaments, and damaged the femoral nerve in my legs. But the big takeaway from my records was I had had Sepsis. I was not told any of this. I researched Sepsis myself.
Determine to return to work again I spent almost a year in physio therapy trying to get strength back in my legs. I have also lost sensation to the lower part of my abdomen. One side of my abdomen swells up when I’m lifting anything as the muscles are destroyed. I was so fortunate to work for a company that worked with me and helped me with adaptations to my new disabilities. It’s been a few years and I am still only able to work half days now, no long walks, lifting clients or transfers, but I’m alive! Most days, halfway through my legs swell and feeling very heavy. I will never be able to return to work fulltime.
I couldn’t find any information on Sepsis recovery so joined a few Facebook Sepsis Support Groups for help. It was through one of these groups that I learned about “Post Sepsis Syndrome”. You can’t even imagine the relief in finding out there’s a name for what I was suffering and that I was not “losing it”. The groups were very helpful, but that is when I realized there was nothing available for Canadian Sepsis Survivors. I founded Sepsis Survivors Canada PSS Support on Facebook which has helped a lot in my mental and emotional healing. I am also a Patient Partner with Canadian Sepsis Foundation, determined to get support and knowledge out there for those affected by SEPSIS.
It has been many years later and I still tire easily, have leg issues, still some memory issues and thee odd PTSD episode. But I’ve mostly come to terms with that I will never be the old me again and I help Sepsis survivors and families as best as I can.