Alligator Clouds | Delirium – My Sepsis Symptoms
Alligator Clouds | Delirium – My Sepsis Symptoms
By this point I had already been ill for 8 days – starting with what I thought was a cold on the Monday previous and deteriorating rapidly over the course of a week to what we all thought was ‘a bad flu’.
But for the past 2 days I was comatozed in a bed as a teeth chattering body shaking mess – I’ve written a post about that here! I’ll never forget this feeling and how truly terrible I felt. Its hard to explain to people the severity of these two days unless you have survived sepsis yourself! When I say I was comatosed – I mean I was pretty much pinned to the bed by a ginormous weight, I couldn’t move or speak. Inside my brain was going ‘Oh my god am I going to die’ and at the same time I was arguing with myself to stop being such a wimp!
When The Delirium Kicks In
Its during these two days that the delirium kicks in – although again at the time, I don’t really recognise it. In fact its not till about 11 months into my recovery when I give a talk on surviving sepsis that someone tells me about delirium and I realise how obvious it was, and how it was totally missed during my initial diagnosis.
Many things happened just in these 2 days alone – blurred vision, not being able to see clearly, seeing things that weren’t there, neon lights and the most scary one for me as an artist, I lost my colour vision and the whole room turned grey.
Debating My Symptoms
Shortly after this the pain in my chest and back started. It was pretty sharp and I thought I might have hurt myself coughing. It was later in the evening, the kids had gone to bed and my husband was in the bath.
My mum, who was checking on me, was rabbiting on about ‘careful thats not pneumonia’. And I told her to stop scare mongering and she was just being paranoid as 6 months previous to this we had watched my grandfather die of pneumonia and my father had had critical pneumonia before he died 3 years previous.
After Ian gets out of the bath I ask him to massage my back as I’m still thinking I’ve pulled a muscle. But the pain just doesnt settle and gets worse and I’m really uncomfortable – can’t lie down and finding it hard to sit up. I’m still swopping between sweating and shivering at this point too – and this is just after everything has gone grey!
Time To Go To The Dr
Ian convinces me its time to call the doctor and I ask him ‘sure what are they going to do, they’ll just say its a viral infection and stay in bed’.
But I call anyway and tell the young doctor whats going on. Like me she thinks I have the flu and I’ve sprained my back coughing but she wants me to come in and be checked anyway so she can see me.
In hindsight, these actions – both my husband’s nudge and her decision – save my life (or at least start the journey that will save my life).
Trying To Get Out Of Bed
Now I have to tell you that at this point the thought of getting out of bed is HUGE – I’ve been stuck in it for 2 full days remember so I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of the bed and into the car.
In fact I’ve also only been able to grunt – which is totally unusual for me as I never stop talking at the best of times, lol – so talking is a challenge! My pyjamas are also a sweaty mess – lol, lovely.
Ian helps me into the car and I’m thinking to myself, just keep calm and to be honest I start to concentrate on not being sick.
The Alligator In The Cloud
On the way over to the out-of-hours doctor, we go over the back roads which are hilly. I remember looking out the window at the night sky which was a deep blue-black and I see a big alligators head in the clouds eating another cloud.
I can still see it clearly with its huge jaws and teeth and it had the other cloud completely in its mouth – Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
And as someone who is into signs and symbols, I instantly said to myself, ‘oh thats nice, that must be for strength and overcoming obstacles’! (I didn’t see the irony of this until months later!!)
The Lion’s Head
When we get to out-of-hours, we have to wait in the waiting room. I have no idea if anyone else was in there, its a bit of a blur!
But what I do remember is that I was starring down at the floor (pretty much concentrating on staying alive), when I saw a large lions head appearing in the pattern of the floor (which was a boring grey lino by the way, as I’ve been back with the kids since then).
A fully formed lion with a great big mane – and again I say to myself, ‘lion’s are for strength – I must need it for something’! (Again I don’t see the irony of this until months later!!)
Delirium Mind Tricks
So thats alligators and lions to add to my delirium and vision list – and if you read my other posts you’ll see that by this point my brain has played many tricks on me.
First up theres flashing lights which you can read about here: Psychedelic Red – Sepsis Brain Symptoms. Then read how My Room Turned Grey!
In fact these ‘visions’ get much worse and go on for at least the next 48 hours. The alligator and the lion and the neon lights are all the ‘nice’ parts of my visions.
Next up comes ones that were particularly frightening and ones i still have a hard time coming to terms with – but more about those later!
Being Sent To Hospital
And thankfully, the young doctor doesn’t like the look of me, the fast heart rate, the chest pains, she didnt like my cough and the fact that I hadnt moved in two days. So she sends us up to A&E – and thats when the next part of my Sepsis journey begins.
Bizarrely looking back, I think its this action of actually getting out of my bed and going to that doctor that also helps me fight my sepsis symptoms and ‘keeps me going’.
I think my adrenaline kicked in to will my body and give it the energy it needed to get me to the doctor – this is phase 1.
Then when she tells me I might have pneumonia and she doesnt like the look of me, I already know something is wrong and I think ‘holy shit, this could be serious’. And I think this ‘jolt’ of reality pretty much electrifies my body because I perk up and am suddenly anxious and wanting to get to the hospital asap – this is phase 2.
Theres also a phase 3…but thats the next part of the story!
#delirium #visions #sepsisvisions #mysepsisjourney #sepsisvitality