My Mother; Alice Mary Onyona was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2008. In 2016 medical reports showed that she had mitral valve regurgitation. There was fluid build-up around her lungs (pleural effusion). As a result, she had a persistent cough.
She had hallucinations while in hospital. In retrospect, this may have been the onset of Sepsis.
She developed a malignant wound on her left foot. Her doctor said the wound was a result of clots in her limb. He prescribed diuretics for accumulated fluid in her legs. He also prescribed anti-coagulants for the clots and antibiotics for the wound. In April 2020, her left long toe turned red, then pitch black. Her doctor mulled over amputation but went into Covid exposure self–quarantine.
Her skin became itchy. She developed rashes. Her skin color changed. She had pale patches all over. Her new doctor said this was vertigo. She had severe chills. Lab tests showed a bacterial infection in her blood.
The bacteria in her blood wouldn’t respond to antibiotics. Her blood sugar became unstable even as her blood pressure plummeted to the depths. At 5 am on July 13th, 2020, she chatted with my sister as she freshened up in the hospital washroom. Then she lay down to rest and never got up again.
Her death certificate reads Cardio-respiratory arrest due to chronic wound Sepsis due to heart failure OSC atrial fibrillation. Big words that made no sense until I began my journey into the world Sepsis. Now I understand that elevated blood pressure led to heart failure. Heart failure in turn led to caused Pneumonia that may have triggered Sepsis. Heart failure also led to inadequate oxygen due to poor blood flow in her limbs. This activated gangrene and Sepsis. It also makes me realize how complex sepsis is. How difficult it is to control because there is no particular corner into which to pin it. Any condition can trigger it.
We’d been so fixated on Momma’s BP and heart, we missed all the signs. My advice is; ask hard questions. Read about each symptom. Avoid seeing many doctors at the same time. Nobody knows who is doing what. Above all, arm yourself with information. Knowledge is power. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be writing this.