Sepsis isn't a new thing. First World War poet Rupert Brooke died from it, after a mosquito bite. Not exactly a hero's death. Basically, it's blood poisoning, and without rapid treatment it can lead to multiple organ failure and death. A sufferer can go downhill in less than the time it takes to Google symptoms. A friend told me recently that her neighbour had died from it, after a seemingly insignificant cut while gardening. Often, it can begin with a urinary tract infection. This is what happened to my dad and, seemingly, to many elderly people.
The tragic thing is that my dad had suffered from sepsis before. I didn't know this until, trawling through his things after his death I came across his discharge papers from a previous admission, three weeks after Mum's funeral. What I had been led to believe was a severe chest infection was actually his first bout of sepsis. And yes, I'm fully aware that I should have asked more questions at the time, but I didn't, and I have to live with that now.
Which brings me, at last, to the point. If I'd known what sepsis was, and that my dad had a history of it, I'd have kept telling the people who were attempting to treat him until someone listened to me. As they say, knowledge is power. Most of us know, at least in theory, what to do if someone is choking, how to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke, how to perform CPR. We all know, or at least we should do, that a rash that doesn't disappear when pressed with a glass tumbler could be meningitis. We should all know about sepsis.too.
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- Passing no urine (in a day)
- Severe breathlessness
- It feels like you're going to die
- Skin mottled or discoloured
|John Dudley Wassell 14 September 1936 to 18 September 2007|
Love you, Dad xx