Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
This was the question I was wondering myself on that dreadful day February 1, 2016. I had the unfortunate experience of falling ill to septic shock. Septic shock is the third and most severe phase of sepsis according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In my case, the 2 inch wide perforation in my duodenum (that's where the chemical digestion of your food takes place) was as severe as a survivor of a gunshot wound when described by doctors.
Due to the lack of knowledge I had about sepsis, I did not go the hospital immediately when I started noticing the early signs of sepsis. This was my mistake, I tried to tough it out, which was the worst decision of my life. After approximately 24 hours of being septic, and driving from San Diego to Las Vegas, I went into cardiac arrest in a Las Vegas restaurant on February 1, 2016 around 6pm. I layed on a restaurant floor with no pulse and no oxygen traveling to my brain for about 8 minutes.
Once the ambulance and paramedics arrived and hooked me up to a ventilator, the machine recorded the minute to minute report which read my pulse and blood pressure which fell to zero multiple times. I was stabilized and rushed to the nearest hospital E.R. where doctors tried to assess what was wrong with me. After a CT scan was preformed the doctor said he saw air in my abdomen, so they decided to keep me over night to monitor me. The next morning, I lost my pulse again.
Before my surgery the doctors told my parents and boyfriend, to hope for the best but plan for the worst in a general sence. Due to the fact that I had less than 1% chance of surviving. Nearly five hours later, I beat the odds and survived the abdominal trauma surgery. To give you an idea, the surgery consisted of cutting me open from my sternum to pelvis, removing and cleansing every internal organ and rerouting my stomach from the right side of my body to the left. I then spent 10 days in a coma, 16 days total in ICU, 22 days without solid food and 25 days total in Desert Springs Hospital. Dr. Yogesh Patel is the brilliant surgeon who performed my successful surgery.
After Dr. Patel and the team stapled my 15 inch incision straight down the middle of my stomach with thirty staples, he talked to my loved ones and told them I was very critical for the next twelve hours to see if I would pull through. He then didn’t know what to expect for the next two weeks even if I lasted the next 12 hours.
“She is still in very critical condition and we have no predictions if she is going to survive this kind of trauma." Doctor Patel couldn’t tell my parents anything specifically because he didn’t have a clue how my body would respond to everything it had just been through especially the re-routing of my stomach.
He couldn’t even estimate how long my hospital stay would be if I did survive, a month, six months? Even if I did survive the following hours of surgery, the doctors didn’t think I would be able to eat a solid meal ever again due to the re-routing of my stomach. It was all a game of guessing and praying.
Throughout the twenty-five day hospital stay my mom and I went through trials and tribulations. We thought the problems would never stop, and that we were never getting out of Vegas.
My body had just endured:
-Acute kidney failure
-Mixed disorder of acid-base balance
-Acute respiratory failure with hypoxia
-Postoperative anemia, and non-thermal blisters on my right thigh.
February 25th was the happiest day of my life! I was finally released from the hospital! I still had a five month out-of-hospital recovery after this traumatic event but I didn’t care, just as long as I was getting out of the hospital.
Don’t get me wrong! I was and will forever be INCREDIBLY grateful for all the care and attention I was given by the staff at the hospital, but I was sick of being poked and prodded every two hours like clock work. The relief I felt getting out of Las Vegas and finally returning back home to my friends and family in Georgia was sensational. After spending a month in a Vegas hospital home was all my mom and I longed for.
One of my resulting side effects is memory loss due to the lack of oxygen to my brain during the time I went into cardiac arrest. With that being said I am starting this blog to tell my story about how my life-threatening sepsis experience and how it affected my life in such a drastic way. I am hoping that by being able to work through this blog and structure my story, I will then be able to help my memory potentially jog itself for the betterment of my rehabilitation.
I am collaborating what little memory I have of the events leading up to, during and after my entire experience. In addition, I have been interviewing different people such as friends, family and the those who were with me throughout the course of my experience to objectively compile as many details of my story as possible.
With personal dedication and taking life one day at a time, I’m slowly merging myself back into a normal lifestyle once again. I hope that my future posts will help raise awareness of sepsis and inspire anyone who may have been through a similar experience or anyone who just struggling with life in general.
Like I have said in my About Me, this experience has made me reconsider my life and how it all works. I do not only believe but I know God helped me pull through this experience because it was part of a much grander plan.
Just reiterating what I said in my About Me, I am currently in the early stages of starting a nonprofit organization to raise awareness of sepsis and assist in funding research for early detection. My goal is for future septic victims to be aware of the noises their bodies are making so they may then be medically treated sooner and increase their chances of survival! In addition we will be seeking to fund further scientific research into early detection.
With that being said any donations made (here) will be split 50/50. Half will go towards starting my non profit organization in early 2017 around March/April and the other half I will be using to pay the remaining $200k worth of medical bills that I am now responsible for. Thank you so much for reading, stay tuned for my next article about my detailed story! Please share along, it’s more appreciated than you know!
Peace and Love!