With No Warning, Mom of Twins Finds Herself Fighting For Her Life

My case of sepsis occurred during December of 2016. I was 33, living with my partner Will and our twin babies, Layne and Evalene. I had been experiencing bouts of severe constipation for many weeks prior, and I found myself taking stimulant laxative pills daily to combat this condition. But even the pills weren’t working, and so out of frustration, I began taking way more than what I needed. So, that week, I had started taking 2. The next day, 3. The day after, 4. Still with no bowel movement. By the end of the week, I had a ridiculous amount of this medication built up in my system. Night time rolled around, and I ate a few slices of pizza and also an ice cream sundae. Eating this food was enough to kick start all those pills I had taken. The next morning, I awoke with the entire room spinning and the most severe stomach cramps I had ever known possible. I also began vomiting right there in bed. I tried to make it to the bathroom right across the hall and immediately collapsed and lost consciousness. I had this feeling all over my body of bubbles, like I was floating in a bottle of pop. Every time the bubbles would make their way to my face and head, I would lose consciousness again. I remember calling my partner at work and telling him to get home ASAP, I was dying. I remember the ambulance crew coming and I was in a pool of blood and diarrhea and pink frothy substance, which I didn’t realize at the time was stomach lining. The entire floor was a pool of this, there was so much, it was in our bedroom and our kitchen up the hall. I remember the panic on the one woman’s face as she was trying to take a blood pressure reading and also a temperature reading and couldn’t because they were so low, they wouldn’t read. She shouted, Lock and load NOW, we’re gonna lose her!!! I remember total terror and the realization that I was going to die, right here in my hallway with my twin babies 2 rooms over in the living room, and there was NOTHING I could do but give into that feeling of weakening and succumb to it. They worked on me at the hospital diligently to pull my temperature and blood pressure up, using heat lamps and heating blankets. My pulse was sky high, also, about 160 that whole morning. I ended up having sepsis, septic shock, hypothermia and a nasty c-diff infection in my stomach. I was placed in the ICU for days and days. I don’t know if my sepsis was necessarily brought on by foolishly using all those stimulant laxatives, but I can tell you I have not even taken so much as a stool softener since that occurred.

The grant money I received was used as a mortgage payment for our new home and our new life we began for ourselves. To know that there is a foundation like this in existence to help us move forward and pick up the pieces of our lives is simply incredible. We cannot properly begin to express our gratitude and I cannot begin to explain how truly important that money was for me and my family. This payment was used to make our very first mortgage payment, and there’s kind of a strange beauty in that I think. It’s fitting.

I wish there was some kind of head’s up I was able to give to others, symptoms to keep an eye out for, but truly, this hit me like a mack truck. There was no warning, no feeling, no premonition. I went to bed and literally woke up dying.

– Susan Filer

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