2016 was an interesting year (you can read about it HERE), and 2017, so it seems, is not wanting to be outdone.
At the end of June, while on a family vacation in Bear Lake, Utah, I started not feeling well (beginning of a UTI, so I thought). Doing what I do best, and not wanting to ruin this fun family trip that had been planned with extended family several months in advance, I tried to take care of it myself with over the counter meds and with drinking plenty of fluids.
But sometime during the night, I did feel a lot better. My fever seemed to break, and by morning I felt well enough to drive to the clinic where all my tests came back negative, but was put on an antibiotic anyway, since sometimes an infection won't show up until after a culture is completed.
Unfortunately, on the drive back to the cabin, the chills started again, and I couldn't keep anything down. I was freaking freezing! Here it is, the end of June, up in the 90s temperature wise, and I'm wearing a hoodie, socks, and am covered in blankets.
While everyone went to the beach (I insisted everyone keep having fun) my poor mama stayed behind to take care of me (which is what mama's do even if you're 45 yrs old). As the afternoon wore on, once again, I began to feel like I was on the mend. Fever broke. I kept an antibiotic pill down, and even ate a little bit. Things were looking up.
We had all planned to go see a play at the Pickleville Playhouse, and since I was doing much better, I went along (I had such hope and optimism). I made it to intermission, but during the second half, the darn chills crept in again, and I had to excuse myself.
I sat in the car, with the heat turned all the way up (I was freezing even though it was the end of June and well over 80 degrees outside that evening). I was wearing a hoodie and had a blanket over my lap. I kept having to open the car door to throw up on the ground. Not a good time at all.
When the play ended, and my husband took one look at me, he said enough was enough, and even though it was nearly 11pm and we'd have to drive an hour through a dark and twisty canyon, he was taking me to the emergency room.
And I'm really glad that he did.
We weren't there more than 15 minutes when my heart rate went crazy high, my oxygen levels dropped, and my blood pressure crashed. All this while fighting a 104.8 fever. They placed me on monitors, slapped oxygen on me, and hooked me to two IV's. Yes, TWO IV's. I had ultrasounds, chest x-rays, and a CT scan done.
Unbeknownst to me, because I was in such bad shape and could hardly think, all my tests were coming back negative. My blood work showed an infection was causing havoc, but they couldn't figure out where it originated. Kidney and UTI tests all showed negative. Chest x-rays, negative. CT scan, negative. Ultrasounds, negative.
Well, at 4:00am, I got a lovely ride on an ambulance to another hospital over an hour away, because that particular hospital didn't have an ICU.
I kept asking, "Am I that bad?" and they'd say, "Yes, you are." The ER doctor said that had I not come in that night, most likely by morning I would've been intubated and life flighted out of there. Turns out, I had sepsis. I'd never heard of it. Neither had my husband, who when they were settling me into ICU, had to wait outside. He Googled it and got the crap scared out of him. (People die from sepsis, so it's no joke).
I spent the next three days in ICU. Lots of blood work, more ultrasounds, and even a EKG later, and the doctor still had no idea where the infection came from. I overheard him talking to my team and saying, "This could be an episode of HOUSE."
But, the regime they had me on to kill the infection and get me out of the septic stage was doing its job. I was slowly getting better, and honestly, that was all that mattered. After three days in ICU and two more on the the regular floor, they deemed me well enough to go home.
A month later, and I am doing much better. My stamina is slowly coming back and I'm not nearly so tired, but I do have a lovely cough I acquired during my stay in ICU (due to them pumping so much fluid into me). It's annoying and causes its own set of problems, but I can live with a cough.
A cough is doable, especially since the alternative could've been so much worse.