Just Say The Word

In the six-and-a-half years since my personal victory over sepsis, a lot has changed. Sepsis is the body’s overreaction to a minor infection that leads to a blood infection that’s fatal if it isn’t treated. Here’s an update, for this World Sepsis Day 2017.  

Sepsis Alliance, the continent’s leading sepsis awareness and advocacy charity, conducted another survey of Americans this summer and more people than ever before have heard of sepsis. Sadly, that’s probably because of the deaths of famous people from sepsis, like Muhammad Ali and Patty Duke. (Note: Sepsis Alliance is working on creating a greater presence in Canada) However, there are a lot of misconceptions. People think it’s contagious. (It isn’t.) And a precious few know the symptoms. So it’s getting better, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I’m proud to have voiced an eLearning project about recognizing sepsis that’s being taught to nurses across the US. After all, it’s usually the nurse who informs the doctor about the patient’s health status. They’re learning what to look for:

S – Shivering, fever or very cold

E – Extreme pain or general discomfort

P – Pale or discoloured skin

S – Sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused

I – “I feel like I might die”

S – Shortness of breath

As time goes on and the distance grows between me and the illness that nearly took my life, my memory of certain aspects of it has sharpened. The scar where I had a PICC line inserted in my arm for a couple of months is now more obvious. I can vividly recall the feeling of partially-thawed transfusions of Fresh Frozen Plasma seeping into my veins. I remember the young ER doctor holding my hand and telling me he didn’t know what it was on my liver that caused it to stop working. I remember looking into Derek’s eyes and thinking, we just got married. I just changed my life. It can’t be over.

My gratitude also grows. So does my resolve to put the word “sepsis” on the lips of as many people as I can. I wrote a column about it for Our London and you can read that HERE. All I ask is that you tell one person about sepsis and ask them to do the same. All you have to say is, “I read this woman’s story about how she nearly died from sepsis. Do you know what it is?” I wrote an eBook about it. It’s $2.99 via Chapters or Amazon because it’s not a get-rich-slow scheme! It’s an awareness method. Thanks for reading and remember: Say the word – save a life!

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