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  2. Katelyn's Story

Katelyn's Story

Picture of Katelyn

14th of July I was just doing my last 9 weeks of my nursing internship and I was looking after patients, I was going to be qualified in 9 weeks but a few days later that all changed and instead I ended up being a patient on a ventilator.

On the 14th of July I did a 12 hour shift and throughout the day I felt like I was getting the flu, I had aches and pains throughout my body and I was shivering. During my shift I noticed a bit of redness on my upper thigh but it didn't seem concerning to me at the time. Somehow I got through the shift but on the way home I was hallucinating, shivering and couldn't keep my eyes open. When I got home I couldn't keep get the heat into me and I had 2 blankets and a housecoat on me on a summers day in July. Throughout the night I started vomiting right through to the following morning and then I had a high temperature and my whole face was swollen, the redness remained on my leg but it wasn't an open cut or anything. I went to the GP at 4 o clock that evening and I was deteriorating, I could barely walk. The GP took one look at me and my vital signs and he said to me 'katelyn you have to go to a&e, you have sepsis' I told him I don't have sepsis im only 22, as I couldn't believe it.

I went to a&e and spent 12 hours on a chair in agonising pain then I was then admitted to the ward on the 16th of July and deteriorated even more, my blood pressure was 60/40, heart rate was 140 at resting, my temperature was 40.3 and my oxygen saturations were starting to drop so I was commenced on oxygen. The nurses and doctors were with me for 4 hours trying to stabilise me and nothing was working, I genuinely felt like I was going to die and I couldn't move in the bed, I couldn't even use to my phone to inform my mam on what was happening I was that unwell, I then started to hallucinate again.

Few hours on the ward I went to ICU to stabilise my vital signs, I was placed on high flow oxygen and I still felt like I couldn't breathe, I asked the nurses to increase the oxygen but they said ' you're just anxious'.

On the 18th of July I had a repeat CT of my leg as the redness and swelling was worsening, they called my mam and said that I need emergency surgery on my leg to get rid of the infection and that I was going to be on a ventilator as my lungs were filled with 80% of fluid as I couldn't breathe on own anymore. I seen my mam before my surgery and my last words were ' I'm scared im going to die '

I was on a ventilator for 7 days and i was fully awake for the last two days and it was honestly the worst two days of my life. I couldn't move any limbs and had to watch the nurses wash me, I felt like my dignity went out the window, I felt so useless. They had to suction the ventilator every 2-3 hours to get rid of the excess secretions in my lungs and it's a feeling I'll never forget. I ended up spending 12 days in ICU.

Sepsis changed my life, I had to get dressings on my leg for two months off the public health nurse when I got home and my nursing internship was delayed. It was so mentally and physically challenging. Even though I was a student nurse I never heard of post sepsis syndrome and I was wondering why I felt like I wasn't getting better. My symptoms included hair loss, weight loss and no appetite, muscle weakness and difficulty sleeping. I still suffer with some of these to this day.

When I ventilated they also found a hole in my heart and a few weeks ago I had it closed. I am now on blood thinners for life at 24.

I'm so grateful to the nurses and doctors who cared for me, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here sharing my story. I am so lucky and grateful to be alive and I am now a qualified nurse. My goal now is to share awareness as much as I can as I was a young healthy girl. I advise everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of sepsis, it can happen to anyone it doesn't matter what age you are. Some people might not be as lucky as me.