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Sepsis Awareness Month – Faces of Sepsis II

Sepsis Month

Sepsis Awareness Month – Faces of Sepsis II

September is Sepsis Awareness Month.  We have been highlighting information about sepsis and Sepsis Alliance in our weekly blogs.


Today we would like to share some of the Faces of Sepsis.  Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.  Sepsis does not care if you are young, old, male, female, black, white, yellow or orange.  It can and does affect all peoples.


Sepsis is treatable, especially with early recognition and care. As healthcare providers we must be vigilant with our patients and spread the word about sepsis to everyone.

Suspect Sepsis. Save Lives.

Megan Jeppson – Survivor


My day has started as any normal Sunday. Get the kids up, get ready for church, get breakfast in my kids’ belly. No easy task with a 7, 5 and 1 year old. My husband was currently deployed in the Middle East, I was a single mom and mornings could be hectic.


As I was preparing breakfast, I started to get a all too familiar feeling, I’m a breast-feeding mom and suddenly felt my left breast start to get stiff and sore. I’ve breastfed all my children until they were two, so mastitis really was no stranger to me, I encounter it at least once or twice with every child. As per the course, I canceled church and decided to apply heat to my breast and nurse my baby until it felt better, I’ve never had complications from mastitis and usually goes away within a day without complications.


The pain eased, so I decided to load the kids up and make our Sunday weekly visit to my in-laws for Sunday dinner. It’s about a 45-minute drive, give or take. About 40 minutes into my drive, I get a pain up my legs, a pain I can’t even describe, almost like a flu like muscle pain, but times 50. After that I get aches all over, chills, a migraine, then a sudden urge to vomit. It hit so suddenly I barely had time to pull my vehicle over to vomit out the door. At this point I’m becoming dizzy and violently ill. I call my sister-in-law who happens to be a nurse. I tell her I’m not sure what is happening but something is seriously wrong. She leads me to the nearest hospital, luckily it was about 5 miles away. I feel guilt to this day because my children were so frightened in the car, and now looking back I should have probably called an ambulance.


As I arrive at the hospital I’m in dire pain, mostly in my legs and my breast. No matter what position I try, I can find no comfort for my legs.The ER doctor at first is scratching his head. Mastitis usually does not cause pain this bad in the joints, to the point where I am writhing and vomiting in pain.


I get an IV right away and blood work, it becomes difficult to find a vein as I am so clenched up in pain. After 2 courses of morphine, it takes the edge off, only slightly.


My blood pressure is low, my heart rate in the 150s, my white blood cell count was extremely high and also my lactic acidosis was high. When I first checked into the ER my temp was 98, 1 hour later as my labs were coming in, it was up to 102. That’s with several bags of fluid and ibuprofen. It’s at that point where things get fuzzy and I can’t remember a whole lot. I remember lots of other doctors and nurses rushing in and out, setting up another iv so they can get meds to me quicker, and the lead doctor telling me how deathly ill I was and I would not be leaving the hospital.


For the first time in my life I had to trust my children in other people’s care, and leave my baby for the first time over night. The first two nights in the hospital were the hardest, I was in a lot of pain, migraines, leg aches, vomiting, couldn’t eat. I was on IV antibiotics and around the clock care with pain meds and constant blood work. The third day I was somewhat normal and on the fourth day I got to go home on oral antibiotics.


It’s been 2 weeks post sepsis and I am still not back to my normal self. I have an altered appetite, low energy, joint pain in my knees, difficulty sleeping, nightmares. I will be in oral antibiotics and I’m hoping that it won’t be much longer before I feel like my old self again.


It wasn’t until I got home and did some research on sepsis that I learned how deadly it is, how close I was to dying, how close I was to leaving my kids without their mom, my husband without a wife. I am incredibly grateful to be here, and I have a deeper outlook on life. It can be gone in the blink of an eye.


Without my family who stepped in and took care of me and my children, I would not have recovered as well as I have, I owe a lot to them.


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