Hooked on Ventilation by Stacey Mcwee
This August marked two years since I lay in the operating theatre of a hospital whilst surgeons removed my appendix. Earlier on that day I was sent home from work with what I thought was a stomach bug, however within a few hours I was vomiting, shivering, feeling cold, clammy and in severe pain…. I had no idea what was to come, my suspected appendicitis was in fact a life-threatening condition called sepsis.
During surgery there were many complications as a result of undiagnosed sepsis and I lost the ability to breathe on my own. I was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and my family were called to wait by my bedside. I cannot imagine the pain my family went through at this time, no parent wants to ever see their child hooked up to a ventilator, fighting for their life. Yet, only hours earlier I was at work, going about my daily business with no worries in the world.
So what is Sepsis ?
According to the UK Sepsis Trust (2016), sepsis stems from the way the body’s reaction to infection injures its own tissue and organs. This leads to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death if not promptly treated.
Figures show that every year sepsis affects 150,000 people and results a staggering 44,000 deaths, which is more than bowel breast and prostate cancer combined (UK Sepsis Trust, 2016). Despite a 47% increase in awareness over the last year, 1 in 3 Britons still have never heard of sepsis (UK Sepsis Trust, 2016).
It can take survivors up to a period of eighteen months to feel like themselves again, however some may experience physical and psychological difficulties as a result of sepsis (UK Sepsis Trust, 2016). I am very fortunate that after about one year I was back my previous level of health. During this time I read extensively about sepsis and contacted the UK Sepsis Trust to share my survivor’s story. I also decided to change careers entirely and I am now training as an Adult Nurse at University.
I am committed to campaigning for awareness and hope by sharing my own experiences, I can help other people recognise the signs and symptoms. Sepsis can occur from cuts, bites, chest, water infections and abdominal problems. It’s not always diagnosed in time and I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. It breaks my heart that every 3.5 seconds someone dies from sepsis (UK Sepsis Trust, 2016). Every 3.5 seconds someone somewhere loses a loved one. It does not have to be like this. Be aware. Know the signs and symptoms and never be afraid to ask ‘could it be sepsis?’
September is Sepsis Awareness month
Many thanks to Stacey for sharing her story ‘Hooked on Ventilation by Stacey Mcwee’ . Stacey now advocates for the UK Sepsis Trust in their efforts to campaign for more awareness. Do you know your Sepsis facts ? Check you’re knowledge with Stacey’s Sepsis Awareness Quiz .