Sepsis is a rare but terrifying illness that comes form some form of infection in the body. Left untreated, it can very quickly lead to multiple organ failure and death, yet until quite recently, I knew very little about this illness and it’s symptoms.
Take a look at my Facebook live chat all about my experience with sepsis, or read on to find out all of the signs and symptoms that you should be aware of.
My encounter with sepsis came shortly after the birth of my 4th baby. I gave birth on Thursday morning and was home 3 short hours later, tired and sore, but happy. On the evening of Saturday 5th February 2017, I began to feel very unwell. I felt freezing cold, though my temperature was soaring. My most noticeable symptom was that I was shaking violently and uncontrollably. I was groggy and just couldn’t think straight and incredibly drowsy.
My husband was incredibly concerned. I insisted that it was just extreme exhaustion from having had almost no sleep following the birth. Luckily, he did not believe me and contacted the postnatal ward of the hospital that had discharged me a few days earlier. The receptionist that answered the phone said that as I was over 48 hours postnatal, I no longer came under their care and to contact the GP. He wasn’t happy with waiting to see a GP and called the on call midwife. She did not want to come out to see me and said that I should contact the GP on Monday if we were still worried. Still not happy, Daddy of Four called the hospital back and was quite stern with the receptionist on the antenatal ward and said that I was really quite unwell. She said that she would speak to the registrar on the ward and call him back. Within a few minutes he had a phone call back, saying that he should bring me in to the hospital as a matter of urgency. Within 20 minutes of being admitted I was on IV broad spectrum antibiotics. They took a blood sample and swab of my womb which were sent to the lab for blood cultures. When the cultures came back a few days later, they confirmed that the bacteria that they found in my blood which caused the septicaemia was treatable with the antibiotics that they had me on.
What Had Caused My Infection?
Late on Saturday evening, I had “passed” a large slug like piece of “retained products”. It appears that a small piece of placenta had been left in my uterus after the birth on Thursday morning. The placenta had managed by Saturday night, to create an infection so severe that, if left untreated, may have proven to be life threatening. The most frightening thing about the whole event was that it had never occurred to me for even a moment to think that it might have been sepsis. Al I wanted at the time was to be left alone to sleep. I am thankful every day that Daddy Of Four fought to get me the treatment that I so desperately needed so that I can be here today to be a Mummy to my four beautiful children.
After my terrifying experience (which you can read more about in my Round Up Of 2017 & My Letter To My Baby Girl Zara On Her 1st Birthday), all I can hope is that I can share my story and help to raise awareness of sepsis. If my story can help even 1 person spot and get treatment for this terrifying illness, it is a story worth telling.
What Are The Signs Of Sepsis?
Shortly after I recovered, This Morning did a really useful segment to publicise this dangerous condition. You can watch their segment highlighting the warning signs below.
The signs of sepsis can be quite varied and so easily mistaken for other, far less severe illnesses. All I can ask, just as the doctor does in this piece, is that when you, or a loved one are unwell, you ask yourself “Could this be sepsis?”. If you suspect sepsis, call 999.
I have summarised the signs of early sepsis described by Dr Chris in the video above, in this handy infographic.
Were you aware of the signs of sepsis?
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor or qualified healthcare professional. All I ask is that if you or a loved one are unwell, you ask yourself “Could it be sepsis?” If you suspect that is could be sepsis, call 999. For more information, please visit the NHS Sepsis page.