Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
(The following events are the recalled memory of my fellow employees and friends that were with me on the trip) As told by Morgan and my minimal recollection of the day:
3AM Throughout the night I kept tossing and turning, in agonizing pain. Around 3am on February 1st I projectile vomited all over Morgan, who was laying on the bed a foot and a half next from me.
I have no recollection from the night before but I have little flashbacks from parts of the day on February 1st. I remember having the most excruciating pain in my stomach that morning, I couldn’t stand up straight and kept saying how bad my stomach hurt. One of the many early symptoms of sepsis.
8AM The stabbing pain I was feeling in my stomach was equal to nothing I had ever endured before. I thought it was a combination of period cramps and being a little hung over. I couldn’t walk because I was in so much pain so Morgan had to help me get dressed. She asked if I should go see a doctor but I said no. I am terrified of hospitals and doctors so I thought I could tough it out.
11AM We started our journey to Vegas, it was a beautiful five hour drive with windy roads around snowy mountains, and deserts and I remember none of it. At this point I was approximately 12 hours into being septic. On average, a person with a perforated intestine is in the ER within an hour after the perforation, according to the Medical professionals in Las Vegas.
Later, I also found out that every hour that goes by while you’re septic, your life expectancy drops 8%. The entire trip Morgan said I couldn’t stop moving and I kept saying I was in so much pain. Rick said I was very uneasy and uncomfortable. I have a flashback of being in the car holding my stomach, it being extremely cold outside but I felt like I was hotter than a furnace on the inside. Another symptom and early sign of being septic.
After a five hour car ride, we arrived at the Las Vegas Convention Center and it was time to work. The stabbing pain on the right side of my stomach never got better. I still could not stand up straight, much less unpack hookahs and set up the booth.
At this point the intense fear that I had tried to deny was becoming more and more real with every passing moment, I felt it in my gut. I couldn’t walk, so I stayed in the car while Rick, Jo and Morgan spent about two hours setting up for the show. When they finished, everyone was hungry and thought it would be smart for me to eat so we stopped off at Paymon’s Restaurant.
Morgan said I sounded like my mind was very clouded. She described me as looking like a zombie, and physically I was pale and incoherent. The entire time my eyes were shut and my head was hung. I was so incoherent I couldn't even order my food. Rick was trying to ask me questions and I wasn’t answering; to try and help me Rick ordered me soup. He tried feeding me, but all of a sudden with what little strength I had left I uttered, “I can’t see y’alls faces anymore.” That split moment, before my body started shutting down, was one of the first and last thoughts I really remembered from that day.
On February 1, 2016 around 6 pm I went into cardiac arrest at Paymon’s restaurant. My body completely shut down, it died. I died on that floor. No one thought me feeling sick was anything serious. In reality, my body was slowly dying and I hung on until I couldn’t hang on anymore. It’s gut wrenching every time I say it. Surreal.
Soup started drizzling down my mouth. Everyone started freaking out. Rick’s first thought was taking me to the hospital. Rick called 911, and one of the waitresses ran over and started doing CPR. Luckily there was an off duty cop who was at the restaurant, and he stepped in. Thank goodness this off duty police officer was at the restaurant that very moment because this is the man who saved my life.
At this time, I didn’t have a pulse. The waitress couldn’t find a pulse, the cop couldn’t find a pulse. The off duty police officer told Rick to tell the paramedics, she has no pulse, she’s not breathing, and throwing up into her nose and lungs. The police officer continued doing CPR on me until the paramedics arrived.
Morgan thought the off duty police officer was going to break my chest he was pushing down so hard. To paint a better picture, Rick said, he was pressing on my chest so hard, my arms and legs would fly out, and my body would jolt as if it was coming to life. Luckily these intense thrusts from the off duty officer gave me the push I needed to make it in that most crucial moment before I was transported to the hospital.
Fluid was rolling out of my mouth. Rick was on the phone with the ambulance, and the cop turned to him and asked where they were? The cop said they’re not coming fast enough and then made Rick put the ambulance on speaker and started spitting the terminology that he needed someone there ASAP. He started saying his badge number and telling the paramedics to get there like yesterday or we’re going to lose her. No one could get there fast enough.
When the paramedics arrived they immediately hooked me up into a ventilator. Everyone was wondering why the paramedics weren’t taking me to the hospital. But they couldn’t take me to the hospital until I had a pulse and was stable enough for the short trip. Morgan asked the EMT if they were going to take me to the hospital, and they said “ma’am we’re just trying to get her back right now.”
After the revived me on scene, they put me in the ambulance and we made our way to Desert Springs Hospital. Rick, Jo and Morgan followed and said it was like Moses parting the Red Sea as the ambulance spun down the street as the sounds of the sirens spread the passing cars to the side of the road. The hospital was only about four or five blocks down the road. Extremely close thankfully!
It’s said I had less than a one percent chance of surviving the EMT ride to the hospital, alone. I overcame those odds. I overcame many odds that doctors don’t have an explanation for. Rick, Jo and Morgan stayed in the waiting room for hours waiting for any news about me.
I have no recollection of waking up at the hospital or the events that followed but Rick was by my side the entire time.
Finally, I woke up. Around 10-11 pm the doctors took me to get a CT scan. Upon reviewing, the doctors stated they saw air in my abdomen and couldn’t see much more but they wanted to keep me overnight to monitor me. Rick said I was not very happy about that. Around 12:30 am the doctor comes in and reviews the CT scans, presses on my belly, and asks me on a scale of 1-10 how much did that hurt? I told him a 4. I don’t remember if I was in pain or not but after them loading me with IV’s and pain meds I doubt I would feel any kind of pain. Rick said I was feeling euphoric, who in the world feels euphoric after you’ve had sepsis throughout your bloodstream for 24 hours and just went through a cardiac arrest at the age of twenty-two?!
The doctor on call stated, that if there was something really wrong with me then I should be in more pain and he shouldn't be able to press like this. He informed me of an exploratory surgery they could perform but did in no way express to me how urgent and imperative the decision of doing the surgery was. The doctors did not know I was in septic shock that night. HOW? How were my vitals not screaming, SEPSIS?!
I guess because I was under the impression that I had a choice in the matter and at the time of waking up I felt fine I said no to the surgery. Due to the doctors not performing exploratory surgery that night, my blood remained septic and I lost my heart beat, my pulse, again the next morning.
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Peace and Love!