The True Definition of Perserverance

I am pretty health 54 year old woman who had a challenging year.  Bleeding ulcers in January, Shingles from Valentines day to Easter…then in an attempt to regain my health I started hiking.

On May 18 my baby graduated from Rockhurst University in KC. Being the vain person I can be…I wore heels.  I got a couple of blisters but being a tough lady..(NCAA division 1 soccer player, coach, beneficiary of 2 new knees in Nov. 2015) a couple of blisters…no big deal. Went hiking the next weekend….on Monday my foot was sore so I thought I needed new shoes.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the pain was increasing and on Thursday I finally went to urgent care where I was told I had Tendonitis.  Friday, I could not physically go to work.  Saturday I became violently ill, vomiting, chills, agitated, beginning of becoming mentally altered.  

My daughter who is a Physician Assistant, living in Indianapolis and preparing for a move to Colorado Springs to start a job told my husband to get me to the ER and she was on her way to St. Louis to be with me. 

We went to Mercy South in St. Louis where  I was whisked back to the treatment room.  After several rounds of test and many many questions of which many I could not answer….for example, what year was it, what year was I born, who was the president… I received a diagnosis of cellulitis, MRSA, Staph and then later the sepsis diagnosis! 

My blood pressure was low, ammonia levels were through the roof, heart rate of 130 BPM.  So the treatment began, antibiotics, blood transfusions, oxygen.  On Wednesday they did a surgical procedure to drain the foot infection.  I was in the hospital for six days.  I think back at the level of pain…no sleep, and total delusion.

I was finally released and sent home with a PIC line, I did four injections three times a day for the next three weeks.  Home health visited until the middle of August.  I was able to return to work on a limited basis starting two weeks after diagnosis.  If I had had a job that was not desk based I would not have been able to return to work for 5 months….therefore exceeding FMLA and could have lost my job.

I am much better off than many.  I have resumed a pretty normal life….hiking again, traveling, however I am now on the liver transplant list and undergoing extensive and costly testing.  

I really do know how lucky I am ….the mortality rate of this illness is frightening.  I could have easily lost my foot if I had waited 8 more hours, death at 24 hours.  The infection could have settled in my new knee replacements meaning I would have had to have two new knees which would require open wound for three months and months or years of rehab…or the possibility of being a double amputee.

My family and I realize the magnitude of all of this…we choose humor to deal with all of this.  We laugh at my hubby who insisted at the time this was due to tramadol and diet coke…he also made me put my foot in a bucket of ice water for 15 minutes to reduce pain and swelling (it did neither)

I have always been involved in healthcare,  My daughter is a PA and my niece a family medicine doctor.  Neither of them remotely thought of sepsis at the beginning. 

I really did not understand the seriousness of the illness until I met with my physicians after discharge.

I feel a strong need to help support others with this through support, education and raising funds for those who are not as blessed as Iam…..sometimes bad things happen for good reasons and I now have a new mission in life.  I am a very persistent woman who feels it is time to pay it forward and help others in anyway possible.  

  • Mallarry, Sepsis Survivor

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