Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Leading Cause of Death You Don't Even Know About

Sadly, my poor Jan, the love of my life, lost her fight against neuro endocrine cancer (detected in mid-December) on Valentine’s day, the day we were due to fly off for a glorious months holiday in South Africa. She had suddenly and unexpectedly, but as a direct result of her cancer, developed sepsis and we were with her in the Royal Surrey Hospital when she gently passed away. She has left a massive hole in our lives, but also with so many happy memories from a very full life, well lived.
I am wonderfully supported by my loving family and friends and taking one day at a time as I deal with my grief. Having gone through the mind numbing ‘how could I have saved her’ process, I know after talking to my doctor, that even if I had picked up on the early signs of sepsis, she was just too ill to have survived. I’m hoping that in sharing my sadness with you, that in some small way, I can help raise awareness of sepsis and maybe save someone life around the world.
Suspected sepsis, known as the 'silent killer', can affect any age group but is more serious for the over 65s and should be treated as a serious emergency, similarly to someone having a heart attack!
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. The body’s immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions, including widespread inflammation, swelling and blood clotting. This can lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure, which can mean the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys, is reduced. If not treated quickly, sepsis can eventually lead to multiple organ failure and death.
This pains me to think about it, in fact I am in tears as I write this article, but the signs that I saw in Jan were the following: -
  • S – shivering, fever, or very cold (she had a raging temperature but also uncontrollable shivering)
  • E – extreme pain or general discomfort (she struggled to sit comfortably)
  • – pale or discoloured skin (she developed a very slight jaundiced look)
  • S - sleepy, difficult to rouse, confused (at the height of her confusion, she didn't recognise me)
  • I - “I feel like I might die” (she was such a brave lady but told me that she felt awful)
  • S – shortness of breath (she seemed to be gasping for air)
PLEASE If you see these signs, get your loved one, friend, stranger in a car and drive them to a hospital and say “I am concerned about sepsis.”
Maybe, this could just save someone’s life!