I’m writing today’s article for World Sepsis Day (13th September 2021). Sepsis was catastrophic for those around me and a catalyst to a whole stack of change in my world. I say those around me as my experience of Sepsis is limited, yes I had it, yes I had to recover from it BUT during the grips of Sepsis I was fast asleep.
Here’s my story…..
Let Me Set The Scene….
I had worked bloody hard to become a qualified lawyer and to be in charge of my own caseload.
I had strived to stand up in court and represent my clients, fight their corner, be there for people who felt like life had beaten the shit out of them and that there were very few people on their side, they were vulnerable and they needed support and being there for people like that and helping them to rebuild their lives really did make my heart sing.
I had dreamed as a little girl of being a lawyer, and whilst it was no Ally McBeal it was exactly what I wanted to be doing
In October 2004 I became a little poorly. I had a water infection and that infection turned into septicaemia and as my organs began to shut down I was admitted to Intensive Care in an induced coma to allow my body to heal and to seek to eliminate the sepsis I had surcome to.
Everything had been really normal. I had been on holiday to the Caribean in September with my then boyfriend (now husnad) and we were fully embraced in the life of a couple in their mid 20s. We would disappear for days and weekends away on a whim and were generally embracing all that was!
In the October I became unwell with a sore back, at first is was a period pain-esqe kinda niggle but slowly it started to get worse and worse. It continued to develop to the point that I couldn’t get comfortable and one Sunday evening, in stacks of agony I ended up in A&E. I was diagnosed with a urine infection, given some anti-biotics and sent on my way with the instruction of, if things don’t improve by Wednesday then see your GP. I was confined to the sofa from the Sunday to the Wednesday and went off to see my GP on the Wednesday morning as instructed. My GP immediately admitted me to hospital. I had a high blood pressure, low heart rate and a temptrature. By the Wednesday evening my family had been recalled to hosiptal to encourage me to have some treatment that apparently I was refusing, I have no recollection of this. By the Thursday I was in intensive care, in an induced coma with sepsis, multiple organ failure and acute respatory distress syndrome.
A Couple Of Things I’d Like You To Know…
✔️ A Urine Infection should never be referred to as “just a urine infection” and if you even think you have one PLEASE do go get yourself checked out. Who knew it could become septicaemia.
✔️ AND being in an induced coma is quite a surreal experience. I was aware of my surroundings in a very drug addled vague kinda way AND I could hear people speaking to me. My hubby read Jane Austin’s Emma to me and my brother read the back pages of the newspaper each day to me. I had some amazing experiences including leaving my body and watching everyone around me whilst I sat on top of the mental cupboards that flanked my bed. I remember Englebert Humperdink being present (his music was being played to a man who was being treated in the unit too), Dido’s White Flag was played to me AND the recognition of lots of names from the papers and books that were read to me. Ok, so I’ll be totally honest, not all of it was taken by my mind within context and some became part of hallicination scenerios that I experienced.
So, if you are ever in that position to visit someone in a coma PLEASE do talk to them BUT be aware that what you can will be taken quite literally and nurses should refrain from using the word “stab” 🙈 when they are getting the needles out on you as that does cause a little fear!
Anyhaps, those were a little by the by BUT I felt like they were important little points to share whilst we were on the subject.
Whilst in hospital I remember that after a couple of weeks of being bed bound, my muscles were wasting away, I’d lost A LOT of weight & had no strength and I desperately craved a bath. I wanted to lie in a nice warm bath. I had a bath on the day of the New York Marathon, so it must have been the first Sunday in November and oooohhh my goodness that was the best bath of my life. I was sooooo grateful for the nurses taking the time to let me have that bath as I needed a lot of assistance and was still breathing through a hole in my neck and I was astounded by the things we all take for granted. I felt filled to the brim with gratitude by I was so exhausted I simply fell asleep.
The road to recovery was a long one. When I first went home I had to be babysat as I was unable to get up and down the stairs on my own and I was so weak that I couldn’t pick up the kettle. I set myself daily challenges to be able to walk a little further, to be able to do a little more. First it was to get around the house, then it was to go to the front gate, then to that house half way down the street, then to the end of the road, then to the shop. Each day had a new little challenged and I worked on pushing myself a little further every day.
What Can You Take From My Story?
There are some massive life lessons scattered throughout it
✔️ You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be strong.
✔️ Don’t settle for half arsed or second best – you are here to shine!!
✔️ It’s my belief that I am not brave, I simply deal with the circumstances I am dealt. I did get annoyed when people said things to me like “do you ever think, why me?” and my response would be “why not me?” and also the cliche “oh, you’re so brave” to which I replied “I didn’t want to deal with this hand.”
✔️ You can dwell on it or you can challenge yourself to do something about it
✔️ Commit to doing the things that make you happy, it’s a cliche but you never know what tomorrow will bring.
✔️ The simple things can be the most important in your world
✔️ Be grateful for all you have got! Even something as simple as having a bath.
✔️ Small steps will get you to your goal quicker. If you sprint off you will just get tired and need to rest, small steps will increase your stamina and get to the end goal quicker!
✔️ Nothing is ever as scary as you think it will be – be bold, be tenacious, get out there and go after what you want!
What Happened Next?
It was a catalyst! A swift kick up the bum. Life’s short and that had been given to me as a lesson, front & centre of my world. I would make very different decisions from here on. I owed it myself, I owed it to those who dedicated themselves to getting me better and to remember that some don’t make it out of the otherside of Intensive Care.
A few years later people told me that I had lost my marbles. I was ready to turn my back on the career that had been my dream.
I turned my back on the regular (good) income and knew that it was time for me to take my wings & fly.
I saw so many colleague huddled around the kettle or the water cooler so pre-occupied in how awful work was that I knew that I never wanted to end up that way. I didn’t want to blink and suddenly awaken 30 years later miserable.
I was going to go self employed. It was my time. I made the leap, full of excitement and nervous energy.
Eeeeekkkk – now that’s brave they said. Nah, there’s nothing brave about that because I had made myself a promise. In 2004 I promised myself that I wouldn’t tolerate anything in my life that didn’t make me happy, that I wasn’t going to settle and that I was always going to take that leap, even if I couldn’t see where I might land.
What made me take that vow with myself? Becoming Sleeping Beauty for a couple of weeks in October 2004 was my catalyst and the time that I decided that I was going to make decisions in my life without allowing fear to be included.
Fancy A Bit Of Help & Support On Your Journey….
Change is a certainty in this world and you can either be a passenger to the changes that occur or you can get hold of life by the scruff of the neck and make the changes you want to see.
Change never need be hard or complicated or a slog, it should be an adventure and fun, this guide shows you how to create change on your terms!
There’s nothing worse than feeling constantly exhausted. You very quickly get into the Catch 22 where you know you need to make changes but you’re too tired to even contemplate the changes you need to make.
This Checklist takes you through the easy actionables you can implement with ease to optimise your energy…
Boss Your Breakthroughs
A free mini programme designed just for you to be in a position to start to make those breakthroughs, we dive into apathy, disengagement, dissecting your dialogue, dealing with overwhelming and working out exactly where to start.
If it’s your first time here I wanna start off with a VERY warm welcome! I’m Emma Holmes and I’m head Rockstar at Rebels & Rockstars. My mission is to help and support you to create epic transformations that are sustainable, adventurous, never overwhelming and stacks of fun!
I’d love it if you had a shimmy around the site, you can find out a stack more about me on the “about me” page and do make sure you follow along on Social Media for all the updates, hints, tips, advice and support.