Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
The next morning on February 2nd Rick, Jo and Morgan showed up at the hospital to say good morning, thinking they were going to be picking me up. Leaving Desert Springs Hospital was definitely the last thing I was going to be doing.
As they turned the corner and got closer to my room Rick said there were five doctors and nurses running around my room, shutting the curtains and moving instruments around frantically. The nurse immediately stopped them from entering my room. At this time, on February 2nd, around 8:00 am my body had been swimming in sepsis for about 36 hours. My body fought as long and as hard as it could until it could go no more. I couldn’t handle the deadly toxins floating throughout my bloodstream any longer, so I lost my pulse again that morning. My body was in septic shock, it was dying, I was dying. I spent the night at the hospital, and no one had any idea I was in septic shock. What hope is there for me to survive when my doctors don’t even know what’s going on?
Rick, Jo and Morgan were beyond freaking out in the waiting room. The nurse walked up to Rick and told him he might want to come talk to me before they put me on the ventilator and into a coma. The reason being, they weren’t expecting me to survive, I had less than 1% chance of making it through surgery. They had no predictions of my outcome. At this point the doctors didn’t know my body was in septic shock, they just knew they were losing me. Multiple things were going wrong, my blood pressure was low, my heart rate was high, I wasn’t urinating.
I was crying, terrified and wanted to get out of there. Rick told me I couldn’t leave the hospital and asked me if there was something he needed to tell my mom because those could have very been my last words. I said, “no,” and he told me to be strong and they will be there when I got out and will see me soon.
One of my doctors, Dr. Singh called my mom before my surgery and he asked, “Do you want us to do everything possible to save your daughter’s life?” “Yes, of course!” my mom said without hesitation.
Shortly after they put me in my coma, Rick met my first doctor, Dr. Singh. Dr. Singh said all we can do is pray. He said, “I am going to go to my office to pray, she’s too young to be fighting for her life.” He told Rick they were going to do everything in their power not to lose me.
I was booked for my exploratory surgery for 2:00 pm. Rick was in the waiting room while I was in an ER, cut open from my sternum to my pelvis, fighting for my life. I am in the middle of a surgery that could potentially save my life.
My surgery took four and a half hours. The surgeons had to spread the two halves of my body open with a machine, so they could suction out the toxins that were suffocating my organs. Dr. Patel also noticed I had a significant amount of ascites that needed to be evacuated immediately. My intestines and organs were taken out, cleaned and put back in carefully.
After cleaning me out, Dr. Patel could then see that my duodenum was perforated and he could fit two of his fingers inside of my hole, the hole was the size of a dime. According to Dr. Patel that’s the last place a surgeon wants to do a repair, it’s one of the most difficult. The surgeon, the doctors, the nurses, no one had any idea my body was in septic shock until he made the incision, opened me up, cleaned me out and could see exactly where the rupture was. Then it was too late, I was already fighting for my life.
Due to the perforated hole in my duodenum being too large, after he patched the hole, Dr. Patel had to perform a reroute of my stomach. He didn’t want anything to pass through my duodenum because he was afraid the repair would tear, so he closed off the regular route and created a new one. Nothing passes through my duodenum anymore. Dr. Patel rerouted my stomach and connected it to my small intestines on the left side of my body. Now when I eat, my food lands in my stomach to digest then it travels through my small intestines.
It’s beyond amazing how Dr. Patel performed my surgery successfully. Dr. Patel had no predictions of how I would wake up. The doctors weren’t 100% sure if the reroute would be successful and they weren’t sure if I was ever going to be able to eat a solid meal again. The doctors predicted I would be eating through a feeding tube for the rest of my life.
When Dr. Patel performed my surgery, he repaired the hole in my duodenum but the hole was so big he couldn’t stitch it up completely. So when I woke up I had three drains coming out of my stomach: two on my left side and one big one on right side. The one on my right side was the drain that was next to my injury site. Dr. Patel did not have any estimation of how long I would have that drain in. It all depended on how long it took for my scar tissue to patch up the rest of the hole. It didn’t heal right away so I had to keep my drain in for two months after I left the hospital. That drain was like my baby.
Around 6:30 pm my nurse, Nancy, approaches Rick with a smile and tells him I am out of surgery and still alive!
An hour later Dr. Patel comes out to talk to Rick and told him, “She’s alive but still in critical condition. We started cutting her open and had to cut all the way down to her pelvis because gallons of bile, acid, and pancreatic juices poured out of her abdominal cavity. She was in septic shock. We’re not sure if she is going to make it.”
The day I met Dr. Patel, I remember this as clear as day, he said, “I am the surgeon who had his hands all inside of you.” He was one of six doctors I had on my team.
Dr. Baramitski was my renal doctor, when I went into renal failure. Dr. Qureshi was my infectious disease doctor; my white blood cell count was 51,000, that’s extremely high when it’s supposed to be in the range of 4,500-10,000. Dr. Schroer kept an eye on my 15 inch incision; he saw when it got infected and had to remove a staple. Dr. Singh was my ICU respiratory doctor, when I went into respiratory failure in the ICU. Dr. Singh was awesome, and he stayed by my side my entire journey. He knew the first night I arrived at the hospital I didn’t get the proper treatment, so he made sure I did for the rest of my stay. Dr. Jaradat was the doctor who ran the floor, he checked on me every morning around 10 am, he was handsome so I didn’t mind.
Dr. Patel drew a sketch for Rick of where the perforation was in duodenum and then the reroute he had to perform. Rick asked Dr. Patel if I was okay now and he said, “No, she is still very critical and it’s not good, you need to pray.”
After my surgery the doctors kept me in a medically induced coma. I had a 24 hour nurse who monitored my vitals, numbers and medication. Nobody knew how long I would be in a coma, it was a day to day thing. I was in renal failure with an extremely high heart rate, 130, and low blood pressure, my kidney doctor didn’t know where to begin.
Doctors believe in science and facts. When I woke up, my doctors told me I should feel very blessed because they medically could not explain how I survived. Dr. Penn, my gastro doctor, is surprised I went so long with a perforated intestine and survived. Dr. Penn told me on average, a person is in the ER within an hour after you perforate an intestine, I went around 36 hours. It is truly a miracle I am still alive today and I am beyond thankful to share my story and help whoever I can!
Thank everyone so much for following my blog! I really appreciate all of the support and I hope everyone is learning a thing or two about Sepsis and spreading the word along. God Bless & have an awesome weekend. See y’all on Monday!
Peace and Love!