Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
Yoga has been a huge blessing in my life, before and especially after my accident. I started practicing when I came to college and immediately fell in love. Summer of 2013 was when I started practicing daily and it changed my life forever! Through practicing I learned that yoga wasn’t just about becoming more flexible and doing cool handstands.
The purpose of yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. Yoga taught me how to become one with my body, learning how to connect my mind, body and breath. Breathing is very important in yoga because it causes the movement of energy throughout your body and helps your body to relax.
Yoga is the process of self-discovery and allows you to become more aware of who you are. The practice helped to create space throughout my body after being bedridden in a hospital bed for a month. I was skin and bones when I was released from the hospital but yoga helped me to love and appreciate my body once again. Once you start practicing you become aware of your mind and all the noises it creates.
It’s amazing because yoga helps me even more off of the mat. I have a lot of anxiety since my accident, and yoga has helped me learn how to breathe. When I start to panic or feel unsafe I start breathing my ujjayi breathe and the feeling of calmness soars throughout my body and mind.
My soul felt dead after my accident. I didn’t want to listen to music, I didn’t laugh at jokes, I was very angry, sad and confused. I didn’t understand why something so awful would happen to me.
Yoga is what brought me back to life. While I was in the hospital I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to practice again, I was relearning how to walk and I was the weakest I had ever been. The thought of not being able to practice my passion in life broke my heart.
I knew before I stepped on my mat I was going back to the basics. Think of my scar as a tummy tuck, it was so tight that it wouldn’t allow me to stand straight up.
First I would sit on my mat and just cry. They were happy and sad tears all at the same time. I was so happy and thankful to be on my yoga mat again! But I was very sad because I physically couldn’t do much. I had never been physically weak before so this was all new and very scary to me. Not being able to pour myself a glass of milk or put my own dishes away because they were too heavy.
I couldn’t do baby cobra and that was just a shock! Something that was so simple before, I couldn’t do now. My happy place was on my mat so I got on it everyday even though I couldn't do much. I started seeing progress after a month, I stretched my scar out some and was able to do baby cobra. That was beyond exciting! I continued to see progress throughout my body and mind. I was loving it. I was starting to feel like Tory again.
I honestly never thought I would physically be able to do a backbend again because of 15 inch scar going straight down my belly. I was scared to try the first time because when my scar stretches it hurts really bad and I didn’t think my arms had enough strength to hold my body. I was so wrong! The first time I tried my backbend was a year after my accident in February and I was with my friend Carmen. Breath and go! WOW Carmen I’m in my backbend! I jumped for joy and I’m sure she could feel my excitement!
If my accident and recovery has taught me anything, it’s to have faith and to never give up. I worked hard everyday to gain my strength back and I’ve witnessed so many beautiful miracles. God is beyond amazing.
I was reminded of the power of yoga and connecting to my breath when I realized I felt alive again, integrating yoga and meditation into my healing. When I connect to my breath, the physical and emotional pain I was suffering would go away, and my mood would feel calm, focused and happy. It was during my mindful practices that I would listen to God and my life purpose slowly started to emerge from the muddy waters.
I am very thankful to have yoga in my life because it helped me to make peace with who I am again. The goal of yoga is to love,... well, yourself! It did just that, yoga helped me realized I am not a weak girl who can’t pick up a gallon of milk. I am a strong girl who can’t pick up a gallon of milk, YET! Thank y’all so much for reading today's blog post, see y’all next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
I thought we were never getting out of the hospital, or leaving Vegas. From a business trip that was only supposed to last 4 days, lasted for a dreadful month. Everyday more life-threatening problems would arise and I didn’t think they would ever stop. We would take one step forward and three steps back for 25 days. I was in a very dark tunnel and I could not see the light at the end of it.
My dad flew into Vegas to surprise us for the second time on February 23, 2016. Our mission was to get me out of the hospital and home to my family. My dad arrived and immediately talked to Dr. Jaradat and asked him what needed to happen for me to get discharged.
At this point, my white blood cell count was still high but it was coming down. The only thing that was going to kill the rest of the bacteria in my body was the strong antibiotics I was on. They can only be administered through IV, hence why they wanted me to stay at the hospital and to monitor me. I was so fragile and no one wanted me to leave Desert Springs. Realistically, I should have stayed for another week or more but I was losing my mind so that wasn’t an option. I left the hospital with two drains; one coming out of my pelvis from the abscess drainage, and the other coming out of my stomach located next to my injury site.
My caseworker was throwing us with so many curve balls before I could be discharged. First they recommended I have home-health care set up at my parents house in Georgia. Then I needed to I have a general surgeon appointment already scheduled for the next week. My case was so crazy and no other surgeon would want to touch another surgeon's work, so we were nervous no one would take me. Luckily Dr. Schwab at WellStar Surgical agreed to taking on my case! That was checked off the list.
The last hurdle was getting Dr. Qureshi, my infectious disease doctor, to agree to letting me take my antibiotics orally. After hours of waiting, he appeared in my room late one night and delivered the best news ever. Dr. Qureshi said the bacteria left in my abdomen was yeast and approved of me taking my antibiotics orally!
February 25, 2016 was the happiest day of my life!!! I was finally being discharged from Desert Springs Hospital and leaving Las Vegas. The entire hospital could feel and hear my excitement! I seriously thought this day would never come.
After a year of recovery and writing through my blog, I am just now understanding exactly what my body and I went through. They were trying to tell me in the hospital and I was not comprehending anything. My only mission was to get out of the hospital. I did not understand in any way shape or form how serious the trauma I had just endured really was. I thought I could stand up and walk right out of that hospital, and little did I know, I couldn’t walk at all.
Thank y’all so much for reading my Septic Shock Story! My crazy hospital adventure is over so now the following posts will go into details about my road to recovery, leading up to how Sepsis Awareness United was founded! Those of you who don’t know, Sepsis Awareness United is the nonprofit organization my friends Will Dickman, Kevin Ulmer and I have started to raise awareness of SEPSIS to the world and also be a friend to other Sepsis Survivors. See everyone next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
I went twenty-two days without solid food, without any food inside of my stomach. My surgeon rerouted my stomach to the left side of my body so no food would travel through my repaired duodenum. My doctors weren’t sure if I was ever going to be able to eat a solid meal again. We had to test myself by introducing my stomach to three different phases of food to see what I could handle. I started off with the clear liquid diet, liquid diet and then luckily I advanced to solid food.
The first week when I woke up from my coma I wasn’t hungry and my belly never growled. All I cared about was water and ice chips. My stomach couldn’t even handle that when I first woke up. The nurses cleaned my vomit a few times.
I started my clear liquid diet my last night I was in the ICU. When he brought my tray in it felt like the food heavens just came down from above. I had forgotten the taste of food so the smells of warm broth were sensational.
My tray consisted of clear liquid soup, jello, grape juice, a frozen lemonade and apple juice. This was Heaven on Earth! I normally hate jello, but this jello was delicious. This filled me up and I was a happy girl. My stomach handled everything and that was amazing. My clear liquid diet lasted for a couple of days then they bumped me up to a FULL liquid diet.
Thank goodness because the clear liquid diet was not enough anymore. I was starting to feel hungry, my tummy was making noises. My full liquid diet consisted of real soup, tomato or chicken noodle, jello, grape juice, apple juice, cranberry juice and frozen lemonade.
It took forever for my nurses to bump me up to the solid meal diet. Everyone was so scared how my stomach would react to real food, and it was a question if I could digest it or not. It was all a guessing game and I did not know that, thank goodness. I did not know that doctors didn’t expect to eat real food again. I wasn’t informed of a lot during my hospital stay and if I was informed, I was so out of it I wasn’t comprehending much of anything.
Every time the nurse would bump up my diet, the food tasted so good at first. Then after a couple of days, my stomach would want more. I was starting to hear it growl and feel hunger pains again.
Finally my favorite nurse worked her magic and they allowed me to have a solid meal! I was so beyond excited words cannot describe my excitement. It was breakfast, my favorite meal. My first solid meal in 22 days I ate delicious eggs, pancakes, sausage, banana, apple juice and milk. I was literally in food heaven! The best part is my stomach handled everything perfectly. It digested correctly and in that moment we knew the reroute of my stomach was successful. I wasn’t going to have to eat out of a tube for the rest of my life, and we were now one step closer to being discharged from the hospital! YAY!
Thank y'all so much for reading my blog! We are raising awareness of SEPSIS and I cannot thank everyone enough. See y'all next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
The day after my dad and sister left we were moved from the ICU to the floor below. YAY! I still had no idea when we were being discharged but now we had our own private room with a bathroom. No more ICU with all your noises and lights. We were so ecstatic!
Our new room had a perfect view of the Vegas strip. I never thought in a million years I would be in Las Vegas staring at the strip in a hospital gown from my hospital room.
My respiratory nurse and others would be so astonished that I was still alive. They would say, “Oh my gosh you’re the girl who survived!” I had no idea what anyone was talking about. I survived what? Why are they so surprised that I’m alive? Apparently a lot of people saw me in my coma, fighting for my life.
I remember feeling so out of control with everything that was going on around me. I had a monster cut from my sternum to my pelvis with real staples holding my stomach together and I have no memory of what happened. My heart would beat out of my chest and no thoughts would come to my mind.
There were multiple reasons why I was still in the hospital. I was still draining significant amounts of fluid from all three of my drains. We had to go from 1,000 cc’s of fluid a day to 0 cc’s.
My white blood cell count was extremely high. My count was 51,000 and the normal range for a 22 year old female is 4,500 - 10,000.
Before I left the hospital I had to eat a solid meal successfully. Okay, they just gave me a cup of water to drink instead of ice chips, food wasn’t even in the equation. From the time I woke up on February 11th to February 22nd, I did not eat any kind of solid food.
Food was never on my mind. The entire time I was in the ICU my stomach never growled, I wasn’t hungry. The doctors would listen to my tummy with their instrument but heard nothing.
“So, when were y’all bringing me food so I can cross this off my checklist?” I wasn’t informed that the nurses weren’t sure if I was ever going to eat solid food again. The nurses put me through three phases to see what my stomach could handle and digest; clear liquid diet, liquid diet, and then solid food.
When they pulled my poop catheter out of me it must have done a little damage because I started bleeding from my butt. I lost so much blood they had to give me another blood transfusion.
Problems like this would arise all the time, but these are not your everyday problems so I was beyond freaked out. This entire experience was an up and down crazy roller coaster of one step forward then two steps backwards.
One step forward three steps back this time. February 22nd was a magical day because I ate solid food for the first time in 22 long days! I only had one drain that was next to my injury site, the other two were taken out. My white blood cell count was coming down slowly but surely. I also used the bathroom successfully after eating. This was a big deal, to see if my digestion system was working with the new reroute. Everything was going great and my discharge was on the table!
Unexpectedly Dr. Patel calls my nurse and upon reviewing my CT scan from the night before, he found three abscesses in my belly and pelvis that needed to be removed immediately. An abdominal abscess contains infected pus or fluid that forms around an infection. If not removed, abscesses can be life threatening.
I thought this roller coaster ride was never going to end. I felt like I was in a very dark tunnel, and there was no light at the end of it.
All of my other surgeries were performed while I was in a coma so I had no idea what was going on. Now I’m awake and terrified. The interventional radiologist had to put me into a sedated state, stick a huge needle in my pelvis, direct it to the sac of pus and drain it out. The pus can’t all be drained at once so another JP drain was added to my collection.
My goal was to get drains out of me not add them back on. I had three abscesses and they could only remove two of them out because the third was in my pouch of douglas. Pouch of what you might ask? It’s a tiny spot in between your rectum and uterus. They couldn’t reach that abscess because of where it was located. So after all this, I still had an abscess in me that doctors couldn’t get to. Frustrated, mad, and hopeless does not even describe how I was feeling. It felt like we were never leaving Vegas, never leaving Desert Springs Hospital.
Thank you guys so much for reading, please share along to your friends and stay tuned for my next post! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
February 11th, 2016 marks the date which I was taken out of my induced coma after being in one for the past ten days. Because of the ordeal I was having to endure my sister and dad both came to surprise me, funny thing is how they weren't even aware the other was coming! By the grace of God, He gave me the strength I needed to be conscious throughout the rest of my fight. He also blessed me by allowing me to wake up just in time to be conscious when my sister and dad arrived in Vegas to see me.
When my sister arrived at the hospital she saw how white and pale the hospital was---and the patient rooms were no better. She immediately knew we needed to bring life into the room I was bedridden to. Because I was still in the ICU wing of the hospital flowers were not allowed, so our Plan B was salt lamps and healing crystals. Salt lamps are a beautiful alternative of mother nature. They’re awesome and are made from natural salt crystals formed by nature and mined from the foothills of the Himalayas. They naturally emit negative ions into the surrounding air which invigorates freshness similar to that found at waterfalls. Crystals are an effective healing tool, not as an alternative to conventional medicine, but in ways we can’t fully explain, they kick-start our immune system and generate our innate self-healing powers. Everyone has their beliefs.
My family began looking for herbal and earthy stores. Once they found a store near the area they called to find directions and with haste drove straight there. Once they arrived to the shop the owner began explaining to them each of his different healing rocks he had available. As he finished up his explanations he felt the urge to ask my mom if they were the family that called for directions earlier that afternoon, which her answer was yes. He then shared with her how moments before her call to the store the owner felt compelled to pray, so he stepped outside, lit a sage, and began to recite a prayer to help somebody today.
With amazement, my mom proceeded to tell him how I was in Desert Springs Hospital and that she was at the store to pick up healing stones and a salt lamp for my room there. “The prayer I said moments before you called was meant for your daughter. Now let’s pick out some healing stones to help her heal.” He told my parents what each stone represented. My mom and dad picked what they felt was perfect. My parents thanked him for his prayer and his healing stones and luckily bought the last salt lamp in all of Las, Vegas.
Every person has their own beliefs; and just because there is not scientific proof that shows why something works doesn't mean it doesn't work. Some people believe in the power of healing stones while others may just like them because they're pretty. To the very core of my soul I believe that prayer and those stones were meant for me.
Every night my mom and I would aline my stones going down my 15 inch incision, cover me with my “healing blanket” and say our prayer to God to help heal me and get back to my family in Georgia. Thank you guys so much for reading, please share along to your friends and stay tuned for my next post! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
Today is Friday, February 12, 2016 my second day being awake and my first day of physical therapy. I needed physical therapy to relearn how to walk again. I was in a coma for 11 days and my muscle memory forgot. The nurses and my mom kept telling me I couldn’t get out of the bed, I thought it was because they knew I would walk right out of that hospital or get water but it was because I physically couldn’t walk. I didn’t comprehend this until the first time I sat up in the bed, I felt unbelievably dizzy and I couldn’t hold myself up.
My physical therapist was super sweet and she lifted my spirits every time she walked in my room. Physical therapy was the only highlight of my day. I was finally out of the bed and moving around.
Day 1 she taught me how to roll over and get out of the bed properly without hurting myself. I had wires, needles coming out of all parts of my body and a fresh 15 inch incision going down the middle of my belly, so she had to teach me how to pick myself up without pulling anything out. I had to roll onto my right side and use my left hand to pick my upper body up. I was too weak, so she assisted. I sat up for the first time in 12 days and wow I was dizzy. All I did was sit up and my legs were hanging off the side of the bed.
The next step was to stand up, oh boy. So me, all of my drains, and all of the wires, all stood up and I took two steps to the left with her arms under mine to help hold me up. I was so weak, I couldn’t stand up on my own. After taking those first two steps I had to sit down. I was so tired, so weak, so dizzy. But I couldn’t lay down there, I had to stand back up and walk two steps to the right. That’s all I did for day 1 of physical therapy. It finally hit me how unbelievably weak and sick I was. I felt useless, sad and unhealthy. I knew I had a long way to go.
Day 2 of physical therapy I was so ready! I love striving to achieve goals. Not even two weeks before that moment I was trying to figure out what career path I wanted to follow and now I was literally trying to accomplish how to walk again. Starting from the basics.
Day 2 I was excited but nervous at the same time. I didn’t like how dizzy I felt when I was barely doing anything but I had so much motivation to walk again I was ready to get started! Today we were able to walk to the door and back to my bed. I had taken more steps than I had the day before and that was an accomplishment. I held onto the rolling machine to help with my balance and I had to make sure I was walking with my feet wide so I wouldn’t trip.
Walking felt so weird, so foreign. I went in the hospital at 120 lbs and now I was 100 lbs. My legs were very skinny, my thighs and calves were the same size and they couldn’t hold the upper half of my body. My stomach felt huge and giggly, like my organs were now sitting on the outside of my stomach. When I walked, I felt like a football player playing with two left shoes and I was going to topple over at any moment.
Day 3 of physical therapy was awesome! This was my thing every day there was no going backwards. Today I walked halfway down the hallway! It felt so crazy because this was the first time I was out of the four walls of my hospital room. My wheel chair came with us because we weren’t sure if I would be able to walk back.
No matter how mentally prepared I wanted to be, I’ve never felt this weak and tired before so I was okay with the wheelchair coming for back up. I had to walk down the hallway slowly, holding my machine, concentrating on the placement of my feet, concentrating on my breathing, my therapist holding my arm and all eyes were on me. Hey, I was walking!
Half way down the hall and I had to stop and sit down in my wheelchair to catch my breathe. It felt like I just sprinted a 400 yard dash. It felt like I didn’t have enough energy to walk back to my bed but I had to get back. So I stood up, looked down at my feet and told myself to walk wide. I was so damn proud of myself.
After my walk down the hallway, it took about an hour for my ears to stopping popping and for me to catch my breathe. This opened my eyes a lot, because the only time I felt like this was after sprinting at my fastest.
Today my nurse Jeff gave me another challenge, to sit in a chair after walking. We were seeing how long I could handle sitting before I needed to lay down. The first day I did 15 minutes, the second day 30 minutes.
Day 4 of physical therapy was the day I manned up and I walked all the way down the hallway! I felt like such a champ! I was wobbly and tired but I pushed passed the halfway point and made it all the way down the hall! I was so excited I wanted to jump up and down but then I would have really toppled over. We turned around at the end of the hall and I did not sit down, I had so much good energy flowing throughout my body I wanted to walk all the way back. I was getting stronger every day, there was hope for me walking again.
The picture on the right shows me watching my surgical drain located next to my injury site, fill up with fluid. The nurses couldn't pull the drain until my numbers went from 1,000 cc's of fluid a day to 0 cc's. This drain didn't get pulled until May. The two pictures are side by side so you can see exactly where the drain is coming from my belly.
My physical therapy continued to strive when we moved out of ICU. Now I was walking with a cane and I was able to hold my balance a little better so no one had to hold onto me.
My second physical therapist was a cool guy. Before we walked each day we would do exercises to help get my legs stronger. I would do kicks, taps, to stretch my legs out. Any kind of stretching felt amazing. I went from practicing yoga daily to now confined to a hospital bed, not being able to walk.
Every day I felt stronger. First we started off with one lap around the hospital floor and then we bumped it up to two. I walked with my cane for three days. I started to feel stronger so I told him I wanted to try walking to my bed by myself, without my cane. He had confidence in me, and said yes. I put my cane down, and I walked to the bed by myself without falling over! That was the absolute best feeling EVER!
After that I didn’t have to walk the hospital hallways with a cane anymore. Yes, I moved very slow and I still had to concentrate on everything I was doing but I was walking by myself. Something I couldn’t do a week ago. He didn’t have to hold on to me, but he had my back, and stayed close for the moments when I did get wobbly. On February 18, 2016 Tory did not have to walk with a cane anymore! I could walk by myself, it was a GREAT day!
Everyday I had to continue walking to gain my strength and energy back. After 3 days of walking without my cane, my physical therapist gave my mom and I the okay to walk the halls by ourself. That was the highlight of my day was getting out of my bed and walking two laps around the floor.
I was extremely proud of myself because I remember one day in the ICU, my nurse asked me if we had rehab facilities in my area. I said, "No, I am walking out of this hospital!" She said, “Actually no, everyone gets wheel chaired out,” but she knew what I meant. I wanted to know I could walk out of here. She said she was going to see my progress when I was being discharged. On my discharge day, I was walking :)
Thank you guys so much for reading, please share along to your friends and stay tuned for my next post!
Peace and Love,
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 will mark one year since I survived Septic Shock. It’s been a year and I still have not solved the mystery of how my duodenum perforated that night in San Diego. I do not let this deter me from the progress I have made in the last year. My friends and I are calling February 1st my Revival Day, but it’s more than just me surviving. February 1st represents the day my life changing journey began.
The trauma I endured is what made me who I am today. I enjoy living a healthy and holistic lifestyle giving my body the tender, love and care it needs to fully recover. My relationship with God is stronger than ever. December 18, 2016 was the magical day I was baptized by my good friend Skyler Frazier at Compassion Christian Church. Compassion has welcomed me into their church with open arms and loving hearts! I am so blessed to be apart of the Statesboro Compassion Family.
My accident is what brought me to my passion which is. For those who don’t know, SAU stands for Sepsis Awareness United. The nonprofit organization two of my friends and I have started to raise awareness for sepsis and help fund for early detection of sepsis in hospitals. I believe I survived because I have a purpose on this beautiful Earth. I have prayed and prayed and I truly believe my purpose is to become a strong advocate for sepsis. I want to raise awareness of sepsis to the world and let sepsis survivors know they are not alone.
Above are the founders of Sepsis Awareness United. Will Dickman, Tory Pereira and Kevin Ulmer.
At my one year mark I finally feel like a whole person again! Since the first day I woke up and saw the monster 15 inch incision going down my tummy, I thought of myself as two halves being held together by staples. My scar is a painful trigger reminder for me so I never looked at it, much less touch it. When I left the hospital at the end of February until August I could count on two hands how many times I touched my stomach. It still felt like my organs were on the outside of my body and I was nothing less than fragile. Now, just a year out I can proudly say today when I put lotion on I rub it all over my belly including my scar!
I am very blessed that I am not suffering any worse repercussions than I have. Most sepsis survivors and septic shock survivors deal with more severe aftereffects such as amputations, or dialysis for life. My cognitive abilities have been hindered due to the lack of oxygen my brain wasn’t receiving (for nearly 8 minutes) during my cardiac arrest. I have started to get used to my “new normal” I call life after sepsis.
My neurologist made the analogy to me, my brain is like a flower now, I have to water it for it to grow. He made this analogy because the results from my MRI, shows my brain is the equivalence of a 65 year old’s brain. The problems I deal with cognitively scare me, because I know the knowledge I had before and can see the regressed state I am working to come out of now. I know that I will never fully be my old self but for that I am thankful because my new chance to look at life has given me direction and meaning like I have never had before. Thank you guys so much for reading, please share along to your friends and stay tuned for my next post!
Peace and Love,
February 18th, I woke up today feeling like it was going to be a good one. I could feel it in my bones. The first thing we did was give me a sponge bath from head to toe. The warm water felt amazing on my skin, and the smell of patchouli made me smile.
About an hour later a grin appeared on my mom’s face as she was looking out of the window at the snowy mountains of Vegas. A few moments later four of the most handsome men I have ever seen come walking in my room! These were the paramedics who saved my life on February 1st!!!!
There was a nice woman at the Fire Station where the paramedics worked, and she called the hospital throughout my coma asking for my status. The doctors couldn’t report anything to her so she told my mom to call her when I woke up. The paramedics who saved my life, wanted to come see me and meet me in person! How freaking cool! Paramedics never get to see the end result after helping someone and they were so baffled how a healthy 22 year old female had all of a sudden flatlined in a restaurant.
Four handsome men walked up to bed and their 20 firefighter friends stood in the hallway outside of my room. They started asking me questions about what happened and why I went into cardiac arrest.
That is still the scary mystery of my story. After a year later, I still do not know what caused my duodenum to perforate. I have no memory of the night I went into septic shock.
The paramedics made the comment, “Wow, you are on the strongest antibiotics on the market.” They were surprised at how many antibiotics I had and how many bags with IV’s I was hooked up to.
Michael Cheney was the first guy who got to me that unfortunate night. They did not stop giving me chest compressions even when I had no pulse for minutes. This group of awesome paramedics are the reason I am still alive today and I got to meet my superheroes in person!
I still text with one of the paramedics today, Michael Cheney. The first time I sent him a message it was in August and I wanted to tell him I was still alive and doing a lot better in my recovery!
He told me he remembered that day like it was yesterday, and he was grateful that I have my life and health back. He feels very humbled that he could make a difference in my life. He also said it’s never too often to see miraculous things in his career, and he’s fortunate that he could be there for me! My heart smiled so big.
I still do not know the off duty police officer’s name who helped saved my life as well but THANK YOU! Thank you kind sir for being at Paymon’s on February 1, 2016 at 5:30pm and giving me the chest thrusts I needed to survive. I hope one day I will find out who you are and tell you how thankful I am!
I ended the amazing day of February 18th by walking by myself without my cane! This was the BEST day in our 25 day hospital adventure!
Thank you everyone so much for donating and reading about my Septic Shock Story. This is my favorite post and I could't wait to share. I have recently learned the definition of Sepsis has changed in 2016, for the third time. The new Sepsis definition states: Sepsis focuses in on infection with organ dysfunction. Here in the Sepsis community we are still learning new facts about this deadly disease daily. My goal is to raise awareness so I will keep you informed! Have an awesome week. See y'all next Monday!
Peace and Love,
Today was a phenomenal day! My friends Will, Graden, Kevin and I have been recycling, reusing material, adding some fire to it and creating art! We have been going around town and collecting aluminum people don’t care for anymore. Then we bring it back to the house, light up the torch and BOOM start melting it all down. The process is so cool, this furnace we have created allows the melted aluminum to get up to 3,000 degrees. We are now making them and will soon be selling them to raise money for Sepsis Awareness United, the non profit organization we are currently working on developing and launching.
Also today was another huge day for me and our friend Casey!
It was his birthday and my first time being able to bowl since my accident. I used to love bowling! I am still in recovery and gaining strength back everywhere in my body day by day. If you don’t know me I am 112 lbs, super skinny right now but slowing gaining muscle and putting meat back on my bones. When I got out of the hospital I couldn’t pick up a gallon of milk so I have started from the bottom in gaining my strength back. I thought there was no way I could pick up, yet throw a bowling ball.
We got to the bowling alley and I knew I was going to have to throw the 7 lb ball in between my legs. It’s okay if I look funny, I just wanted to have a good time with my friends! I was first and the pressure was on. Boy did I surprise myself! I not only bowled with one hand but I knocked a lot of pins down! I’m not as weak as I thought I was. Thank you Justine at 180 Fitness for your amazing yoga classes. This made me SO happy I jumped up and down and danced all around my friends. It hasn’t been fun feeling physically weak this year. Today showed me my hard work is paying off and I can now bowl with my friends. Slow and steady. Slow and steady baby.
Since my accident, I have learned to take life one day at a time. We are not promised tomorrow so we can only live life to the fullest NOW! I can't thank everyone enough for reading my blog and learning about this deadly disease we call Sepsis. Please share my blog and Sepsis Story along with family and friends to raise awareness of this silent killer. See y'all next Monday! Have a blessed week :)
Peace and Love,
The morning of February 11th was the successful day of pulling my tube out. Today I woke up and was able to breath on my own! I'm ALIVE!
Three days prior they were weening me off my sedation to see if I could handle breathing on my own. The doctors tested me three times and I failed the first two. I couldn’t stay calm enough to keep my heart rate down.
The third attempt, on February 11th, the doctor's reduced my sedation and I slowly started to come out. With the approval from Dr. Singh, and my respiratory technicians I was ready. They told my mom to get out of the room. Doctors were standing around me, Dr. Singh asked me to cough. I coughed, and the tube came out! Then my mom heard me say some off the wall question and she started bursting into tears. At that moment in time, my mom had no idea if I was a vegetable or not.
From the time I woke up, I was enraged with anger and highly agitated. My mom thought it was very odd, but I never asked any questions. I didn’t ask why I was in the hospital. I didn’t ask why there was a huge bandage on my stomach. I was so beyond terrified I didn’t know what to ask and what the answers were going to be. It was like I couldn’t even think what to ask. No thoughts were approaching my brain. I tried to remember where the last place I was and I couldn’t remember. I saw pictures of me in New York and San Diego and I had no idea why. I was in New York then San Diego and now I'm in Las Vegas hospital?
February 11th, 7 pm shift change for the nurses and the nightmare starts. From the time I woke up, I was aggravated and mad at everything. My mom described me as being a mean, uncontrollable alien.
First, I kept trying to get out of my bed saying I had to go to the bathroom when in my mind I was going to get water. I was so thirsty all I wanted was water. My mom, the nurses, nobody was giving it to me so I had a mission. I stuffed a clean throw up bag in my gown, and my mission was to get to a bathroom, fill it up with water from the sink and chug it like there was no tomorrow.
I didn’t know that my stomach went through a traumatic surgery that involved a reroute. I didn’t even know I couldn’t walk.
My mom was getting so frustrated with me she asked the nurse if they could put me back to sleep. That night, I had to poop in a walking toilet because I couldn’t walk. In my mind I knew I could walk, I’m a 22 year old healthy girl, of course I can do something as simple as walking. My mom and nurse kept trying to explain to me it wasn’t possible but I wasn’t listening. The nurse brought in my walking toilet and my mom helped me get out of bed, and that’s when it hit me.
My body felt so foreign. My legs were so weak and skinny they couldn’t hold my body up. My belly felt HUGE, like my organs were on the outside of my body. I was skin and bones.
I had ports, needles, drains and tubes coming out all different parts of my body. Needles were coming out of my hands, ports were coming out of my neck and legs, drains coming out of my stomach and one big tube that was coming out of my nose connecting to my stomach.
This tube that was in my nose was traveling down my esophagus into my stomach, pulling out the stomach juices and acids so it wouldn’t sit there and eat away at my stomach lining. They couldn’t retrieve it all during surgery so this was finishing the work.
I hated that thing coming out of my nose! It was green and gross. All I could do was stare and figure out a way to get it out. I wasn’t understanding anything that was going on around me but there were nurses and people coming in my room every hour to get blood, or prick me with a needle, or drain my drains.
I was never alone, my mom was by my side the entire time and nurses were in my room constantly. My mom left for a moment to go pee, and I thought finally! Finally I’m alone and I can get take all of this nonsense off of my body and get the heck out of here! As soon as she left, my mischievous acts started and I started pulling everything out.
First to go was the tube in my nose, that was so gross. Next was the port in my neck, this was a little harder to get out so I had to use whatever muscle I had left. It was sticky and not coming out so I gave it one last tug, and bam, that was out too! Next was all the needles that were in my hands, as I was in the middle of freeing myself a nurse walked in and started yelling at me. NO, you can’t take this stuff out of your body! My mom heard the commotion and ran over. Then everyone started yelling at me, I guess I did something wrong.
My mom said I scared the nurse to death. I scared my mom too because I was very uncontrollable. I wasn’t supposed to be pull anything out of my body, but I had needles, ports, and tubes coming out of everywhere and didn’t know why! The first time I pulled the tube out of my nose the nurse was very mad.
Yes I said the first time, because I pulled this thing out of my nose every time someone left me alone. I had to suffer the consequences and she had to push the tube back down my nose and I had to swallow when she pushed so it could be put back in my stomach. That was an awful experience. There was no reasoning with me, I wouldn’t listen to anybody. The boxing mitts were introduced to me once again. They would put these mitts on to restrain me from pulling instruments out of my body. I scared the women nurses so the rest of my time in the ICU I had a male nurse, Jeff. I liked him and he helped me stay calm and not pull stuff out of my body.
After trying to calm me down, they turned the TV on to capture my attention and go to sleep. I couldn’t sleep the first three nights in the ICU. I didn’t know I had just been sleeping for 10 days! Of course I wasn’t tired. I didn’t want morphine or any pain pills of any sort. I know how addicting they are and the state I was in, I would have easily been hooked.
My mom said I stared at everything that was going on in the hallway of the ICU unit. There was so much commotion and the lights were on all the time. I wanted to know everything that was happening. One night I remember hearing someone was standing behind a horse and he got kicked in the chest, OUCH!
It’s mind boggling to me how long it took for my brain to process what I went through. Even when I arrived back home in Georgia, I asked my mom to explain exactly what happened to me. My heart and body would hurt and I would cry every time like it was the first time I heard it. I really went through that? How am I still alive?
According to the CDC, more people die from Sepsis than AIDS, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The signs and symptoms of Sepsis are fever, cold chills, excruciating pain, confusion, clammy skin, shortness of breathe and high heart rate. Time is of the essence when your septic, go to the hospital immediately if you recognize any of these symptoms.
In the picture above, I had the pleasure of visiting and bringing flowers to a sweet man and his family who is battling Sepsis. You are strong and I hope you get to go home to your family soon!
Thank y’all so much for all of the donations and for following my blog! All the love and support is greatly appreciated in helping me spread the word of Sepsis. Have an awesome week readers, I will see y’all next Monday!
Peace and Love,