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Sepsis, it kills 258,000 Americans each year. When it comes to Sepsis, IT’S ABOUT TIME. Here is where you can see all of the symptoms and what to look for. Here are the basics of what you need to remember:
Why is it important to know Sepsis? Have you ever heard of it before reading this piece? I’d heard of it but never really knew much about it, until now. I’ll explain why it’s so important to know Sepsis.
- A more specific definition of sepsis can be found here but in brief, sepsis is your body’s toxic, or severe, response to an infection. This extreme inflammatory response (swelling) in your body is frequently caused by a bacterial or viral infection, such as pneumonia or influenza, but it can be caused by parasitic or fungal infections.
- Our body’s immune system, which is supposed to fight off the infection, goes into overdrive and begins to attack your body.
- Sepsis is a medical emergency and must be treated quickly and properly for survival.
Wednesday August 1, 2018
I heard my Gramma was sent to the ER by the facility she lived in. My mom told me she didn’t have all the details but they suspected pneumonia and she was probably going to be admitted. She said my Gramma had been crying in pain to the staff and they were not sure what was going on. So they sent her to the ER. I never heard back from her nor my sister who is my Gramma’s healthcare surrogate. I just assumed all was good.
Thursday August 2, 2018
My mom texted me during the day and said “Gramma is back in the ER, I’ll call you when I know something.” I had been out all day working my grocery delivery job and was soon headed to Physical Therapy. I texted my dad to let him know she was in the ER because it is his mom and neither my sister nor my mom communicate with him. I’m in Illinois, they are all in Florida. I’m usually always the middle man of conversations in my family.
I arrived at PT and my phone started vibrating not long after. I told my therapist I would just call whoever it was back. It was my mom, so I quick texted her to let her know that I had contacted my dad to fill him in. Told her that I would call her as soon as I left PT. She said, “Call me, I need to talk to you.” That phone call changed my life.
While sitting in the same ER that she had been in the day before, while in the process of being admitted, she suffered a Septic Stroke in front of my sister and my mom. They came in to draw some blood and my Gramma with her ever-present wit said, “Sure, if I have any left”, and those were her last words. They immediately scrambled into action and decided to life flight her to the big hospital in downtown Jacksonville. Only to find out a short time later, they couldn’t fly because the weather was too bad. 2 Hours pass and they decide to move her via ambulance. Once they arrived, they scanned her again only to find that the embolism had spread and there was more damage than initial reports showed. There was nothing they could do. The Neurologist wouldn’t perform the surgery because the outcome was not going to be good.
The consequences of a stroke can be devastating. Not only can a stroke kill you, but nonfatal strokes leave you severely debilitated, paralyzed, or unable to communicate.
Friday August 3, 2018
My oldest son and I were on the first flight out of Chicago headed to Jacksonville. I barely slept through the night, I kept thinking I was going to wake to a phone call that she didn’t make it through the night. She wasn’t expected too. She hadn’t woke up since the stroke, she was put on a vent for transport and to keep her comfortable. I wasn’t prepared to see her that way. I immediately took her hand, started talking to her, she opened her eyes and squeezed my hand. I had just talked to her not long before and reminded her that we would be down for Christmas this year. It would have been the first Christmas I spent with her in about 10 years. I joked and told her she got her way and got me there sooner. Later that afternoon after we took her off the vent, she had to be moved from ICU to another room, again not expected to make it through the night.
Saturday August 4 – Monday August 6
We didn’t leave her side, someone was with her constantly. We took turns leaving to shower, and eat. We slept on anything we could find. The staff was very accommodating in allowing all of us to stay. They knew what was coming and they didn’t make us leave. Those 3 days seemed to have lasted a year. We went from ICU floor 10 to Floor 8 to Hospice in roughly 24 hours. My oldest son rode with her during transport to hospice. I was so worried that she would pass during the ride and I feared that would break him. He had already witnessed his father die, his great-grandpa and now her? He battles depression and I was not prepared for how this would affect him. But he insisted he wanted to ride with her. I knew he needed that time alone with her though because they were really close.
We spent our awake hours laughing, crying, sharing stories and listening to her favorite country music. We surrounded her with love and family and that is all she ever wanted in life. My family dynamic is dysfunctional and broken, bonds that can never be repaired. But we all put that aside for her. The one person in our life who was always in our corner. No matter what we did, she was always there. She loved endlessly and without boundaries. All she ever wanted to do was feed us and make sure we were comfortable. She didn’t come from much, a small farmhouse in Mississippi where she picked cotton as child. She had stories for days and home remedies that would make those Pinterest mom’s shutter. She rarely swore, she hated the word “fuck” and never used it. But she was quick to flip her middle finger off at someone and say “up yers”. She was classically funny, had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back.
Monday August 6, 2018 should not have been the day of her last breath. She would have been 91 in January and although she couldn’t drive and had mobility issues, she was 100% there in her mind. Her mother died from Alzheimer’s and we feared it would take her. No Dementia and no Alzheimer’s for her, she was all there. She should still be here with us, damnit!
Florida State Laws
We did contact a lawyer regarding medical malpractice because we found out that she did have all the signs of Sepsis the first day in the ER and they sent her away. Turns out, Florida statutes protect hospitals and doctors from medical malpractice law suits. In a nut shell, Florida says because she didn’t have anyone dependent on her physically or financially, her life meant nothing. IF she had someone who relied on her care or finances, then we would have a case. Now how fucked up is that? Did you know Sepsis can happen to anyone at any age? So what about a 3 month old, or 10-year-old, their life would mean nothing to the state of Florida because no one is dependent upon them. Bullshit!
My sister becoming my Gramma’s Health Care Surrogate was the best thing to ever happen. She is in the medical field, with a couple of degrees, and is insanely smart when it comes to medicine. She is going to be filing complaints with the state agencies against the doctor who refused to admit her and the hospital.
There are National Sepsis Core Measures happening all over the healthcare industry. Why? To reduce Sepsis Mortality. With early detection and the rapid initiation of appropriate treatment, sepsis mortality can be reduced!
There are parts of my heart hurting that I never knew existed. I was extremely close with my Gramma and my life is never going to be the same after this. She was like my second mom. My parents worked my whole life and my grandparents were there to help raise us. My parents divorced when I was 11 and my grandparents were there to pick up the pieces. I’ve gone from sobbing to weeping and I’ve done so every day since I got that call from my mom. I can not put into words what this loss feels like, there are no words. The loss of a loved one is never easy and we are rarely ever prepared for it. The only thing I know that I can do right now is get the word out. It is who she was, coupled with how she was taken from us that has me seething with anger. I need to make people aware of this and hopefully educate someone who never knew it existed. Sepsis, it’s about T.I.M.E.
My Birthday is Sunday August 26 and I am holding a Fundraiser on Facebook for the Sepsis Alliance. I am also donating all of my August and September commissions from sales on my Perfectly Posh site. If you can not donate, the greatest thing you could do for me is share this post and help me spread the word.