My name is Kelley Shields. I am the mother of two young adults and bonus mom to my fiancé’s two young daughters.
In February 2017 I had a routine hysterectomy, all went well and I was discharged. About 7 days post op I started feeling ill. I was very swollen and in a lot of pain. I saw the surgeon for follow up appointment and complained about the pain and fever. He diagnosed a bladder infection, took a urine sample and sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics. I took one dose that evening and went to bed. By midnight I was very ill and in extreme pain, I was fighting hard to wait it out. I didn’t want to burden anyone or call an ambulance because they would have to carry me down three flight of stairs. It’s very strange the things you think about in those moments. My daughter Samantha was home and I was trying hard to downplay my discomfort to save her worry. By 1:00am, I had this sudden overwhelming feeling that I was going to die. I could feel my body fading and knew it was time to stop being the tough guy and let my daughter take me to the emergency department. Upon arrival they immediately took me away and took action. I was faded in and out of consciousness and to this day there are parts I don’t remember.
My daughter was informed that I was in Septic shock. They suggested she might call relatives as chances were I might not make it through the night. My amazingly strong daughter told them that they didn’t know her mother and that I wasn’t going to die. She managed the situation all on her own with strength and courage that would make anyone proud to know her. It was later determined that I had developed a hematoma that had become infected leading to Sepsis. During this ordeal I suffered liver failure,pulmonary edema and a collapsed lung. I was admitted and hospitalized for 7 weeks. I was discharged with no information about Sepsis or anything related to recovery. I was readmitted a few months later and then again that following November with another scare.
Without warning I entered the Post Sepsis nightmare. I was never told what to expect after I was discharged. Some of the issues I faced alone and afraid included poor concentration and memory loss. I started to lose my hair, which still continues to flare up without warning. Liver, lung and kidney issues along with extreme fatigue, lost of cognitive function, the neuropathy was brutal and extreme joint pain. My fiancé is a Decorated Canadian veteran who suffered the loss of his feet to the IED.We were a disaster, when my feet hurt too much he would wheel me to bed on his lap.
Though my family supported me, I was exhausted and tired of being in pain and having to decline invitations. I have always been very active and independent. I loved my work and was very involved in my community. Nobody could tell me what was wrong with me. Depression set in as the loss of myidentity and self-worth faded. I was angry, sad, felt lost and very alone. I just wanted to disappeared from the world.
If I had been informed prior to being discharged from hospital, I feel my family and I could have been more prepared for what to expect with post sepsis recovery!
The Sepsis Canada support group saved my sanity, my mental health. The medical world needs to provide information at discharge and support to Sepsis survivors and their families.
As a survivor I am asking everyone that can make a difference to use your voice to help educate more people about Sepsis in order to save more lives and families.