The Faces of Sepsis
Rhea Copeland - survivor
I went into the hospital May 1st, 2009 for the repair of a previously repaired hernia (a long and complicated road got me to this day). When I woke up after surgery (I do not remember), my daughters told the nurse that something was very wrong because I was behaving strangely.
My surgeon was called and he re-operated, taking out the surgical mesh. He said I had too much scar tissue (from previous surgeries) to do any further repair and that he had nicked my bowel: result sepsis.
I now had a huge hernia. My daughters sat in the hospital until 7:00 a.m. not knowing if I would pull through or not. I was kept under sedation until the middle of June and when I awoke in the I.C.U., I had tubes coming out of every possible place in my body where they could be inserted. The only part of my body that moved was my eyes.
I fought like a tiger until I was finally able to come home in October of that year able to care for myself. From the day the tracheotomy tube was removed and I was able to eat a cookie and begin to speak, every subsequent day was an adventure. Every new movement of a body part was a cause for celebration.
I will never be perfect and my life has changed but, remarkably and to my children's delight, I survived.
I dreamed every day of the day I would be able walk again and look after myself. I can now walk (limited distances) and I also can drive. My daughters have recently encouraged me to take further physical therapy three years after the fact in the hopes that I will get stronger and have more energy. The photo was taken the first day I was taken out the hospital for "coffee" in the food court by my daughter and her husband. I cannot tell you how excited I was to be in the "outside world." (I guess you can tell by the smile" After this, and before they took me back to the health care centre in which I was staying at the time, they took me to my apartment, which I had not seen for five months.
Before this happened I had never heard of "sepsis" as a condition resulting in the horror which I lived through.