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Amelie*, mother, survived sepsis at the age of 35
Our third son was born in May 2009. Two weeks after giving birth, I collapsed with a seizure.
The cause was thrombosis in the dural venous sinuses and several strokes. Because of the rapidly rising pressure in my brain, a relatively large part of my skullcap had to be removed. Back in the neurological intensive care unit, I caught a germ infection and then developed severe sepsis, and had to be transferred to the intensive care unit for internal medicine at the university hospital. I owe it to the committed and competent care I received from the specialists and staff there, their skill in taking the right approach, and their smooth organization among several departments, that I am still alive today! Sepsis led to a number of complications, including acute respiratory failure. I spent more than six months in intensive care, and was attached to a machine to help me breathe for 110 days of that time. My chances of survival were slim. After I was finally able to move again and I was being prepared to transfer to a rehabilitation center, I had to start again from the very beginning. My lung had not yet even recovered. I was – and still often am – dependent on an oxygen feed. So not only did I have to build up my muscles again, but my lung also required extensive rehabilitation treatment. It soon became apparent that the rehab program was focused on neurology, and designed primarily to build up my muscles. And I did benefit from the rehab in that regard. But it was a different story for my lung. Everyone was very kind and tried their best, but they didn't know the routines necessary for that type of treatment. It was just not their day-to-day business; my case was really an exception. The first time I saw my children again was in the rehab center. My oldest son (he was six at the time) didn't bat an eye at how his mother had completely changed. I had lost a lot of weight, was bald and in a wheelchair, had to close my tracheotomy with my hand when I wanted to talk, and had nasal prongs for my oxygen feed. "Your disease is really starting to get on my nerves," is all he said. That's the way things still are for the vast majority of patients: they are sent to neurological or geriatric rehabilitation, but that can meet only some of their very individual needs.
*name changed
Over the past year we've been collecting the questions we receive most frequently about sepsis. Please share this information with your friends and family. Don’t see your question on the list? Get in touch with us, and we’ll do our best to help.
Pat*, athelete, survived sepsis at the age of 32
My illness started on 20 May 2004. I felt great that day, but in the evening suddenly developed a fever and chills.
Thea* survived sepsis at the age of 7 months
Today, Thea is approaching her fourth birthday. She has an identical twin and two other young sisters.
Niklas survived sepsis at the age of 16
My name is Niklas. I'm 16 years old, and am in my third year of college preparatory school in Switzerland. Four years ago, my life changed.
Hans, businessman, survived sepsis, 60 years old
In 2003, a tumor was found in my mouth. After several extensive examinations, I had surgery in March.