Suzanne Graham, 45, from Glasgow, didn’t think much of her new symptoms at first and attributed them to a bad cold in the run-up to Christmas.
Once she started struggling to breathe and talk, she decided to see her GP.
She hoped to recover quickly but her symptoms deteriorated and she was taken to intensive care and put on a ventilator.
It turns out the 45-year-old was suffering from pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and sepsis.
Speaking about when she first fell ill, she said: ”I was busy and there was a lot happening. I had a cold that I didn’t think too much about, but it just lingered.
Don’t miss… Sign in your speech could be red flag for sepsis – phone 999 immediately
”When it got closer to Christmas, I started to get more unwell, but I thought that the cold had just developed into a flu.
“Looking back, I had no idea how unwell I really was. I’d been unwell for a number of days, and I couldn’t sleep. I was really struggling to breathe.”
Suzanne always associated pneumonia with older people, but when she remembered that her friend, who was the same age, also had it, she looked up the symptoms.
To her surprise, they were all pointing to the lung infection so she arranged an emergency appointment with her GP.
But her condition had worsened to the point where she was unable to walk for any length of time, so her husband had to drive her to the surgery even though it was just about 50 metres up the road.
She said: “The GP measured my blood oxygen and listened to my lungs. I just remember her saying to me, ‘I don’t want to alarm you, but we will be calling an ambulance – you have to go to hospital’.
“The ambulance came and took me to intensive care. I remember getting into the ambulance, but I have no memories from then on, so this is all from what I’ve been told by family members.”
Upon her arrival, Suzanne was attached to a ventilator, but her symptoms, unfortunately, worsened again.
The 45-year-old said: “I was in need of oxygen. It took a little bit of time to attach the ventilator, and then they came back and spoke to my husband.
”They said that the situation had spiralled out of control, and the oxygen that I was getting from the ventilator wasn’t going to be enough to keep me alive.”
At that point, her pneumonia had become so severe, she had 10 to 20 percent of lung function, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and sepsis.
She added: “It was getting into a multi-organ failure type situation – my lungs and kidneys were failing.
Sign in your speech could be red flag for sepsis – phone 999 immediately[SIGNS]
Dad, 38, dies of sepsis after noticing a spot on his leg[INSIGHT]
Common virus that causes cold-like symptoms can cause pneumonia or even death[INFORMER]
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
“The only treatment option that was available was ECMO treatment. It is specifically coordinated in Leicester and there’s a specific protocol you have to follow to access the treatment.
”They had to see if I was suitable for it too, because not everybody is – and they only deliver it in a few places across the UK.”
Using an artificial lung to oxygenate the blood, ECMO, or Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation, is used in extreme cases where a patient’s lungs or heart are not functioning at a normal level.
Luckily, Suzanne turned out to be eligible for the treatment but the closest machine was 145 miles away in Aberdeen.
Because she couldn’t move at all, she was taken to Aberdeen in an ambulance by a team of five medical staff.
Luckily, she responded well and was able to be transferred back to Glasgow to continue her treatment.
While Suzanne was improving, her muscles wasted away during the time she was bedbound. She couldn’t stand and had to learn to walk again with the help of three physiotherapists.
The 45-year-old needed the help of these professionals to stand for the first time, as she was no longer able to support her own body weight.
After extensive work with the physiotherapist team to learn to adjust to using crutches, Suzanne was finally able to return home.
While her recovery was very difficult, she feels “extremely lucky” to have survived “intact”.
Fortunately, she is now back to her normal health and determined to raise awareness of the symptoms and dangers of sepsis – a medical emergency which kills around 50,000 people per year in the UK.
According to charity Sepsis Research FEAT, the warning signs include very high or low temperature, confusion, shaking, blotchy skin and difficulty urinating – combinations of these symptoms or rapidly worsening symptoms warrant seeking urgent medical attention.
Source: Read Full Article