Hi, I’m Aaron!
So my story starts on 13th March 2016. I had just finished work, I’d gotten a new job and was taking a week off to relax before I started.
I stopped in at our main office to say my goodbyes and shake hands and exchange hugs. I had a bit of a headache which is nothing unusual for me. I’ve suffered migraines for years so I went home, took some painkillers and my migraine meds and pulled the curtains.
Headache From Hell
Saturday came. I felt terrible. I had barely slept. I was hot, then cold, my head was agony, nothing gave me any relief. I figured I was in for a 3 day migraine.
Sunday came. I was laid out on the bathroom floor in a heap. I was vomiting, had the runs, sweating, I felt like I was dying. I went to casualty.
The girl on reception looked at me when I told her I had a bad migraine and needed help. Almost a look of “How dare you come here with what is just a bad headache?”
I sat down and pulled my hat down over my eyes and tried to block the noise from the room.
The triage nurse called me about half an hour later. Asked me what was wrong, I apologised profusely for clogging up her A+E but I was in such pain and sickness that I didn’t know what else to do. She took my pulse and blood pressure and her face blanched. She refused to accept it and took it again. She called a doctor to me. He took them again. My pulse was 220, temperature was 39.2, my blood pressure was dangerously high. All I remember after this is being sat in a wheelchair and taken straight to resuscitation.
The doctors told me I had sepsis. I didn’t know what it was, I wasn’t told what it was. Apparently had I been 30mins later, I would have died. I was on IV antibiotics, painkillers, fluids, in a critical care ward.
It started as a chest infection. I didn’t feel anything wrong with my chest. I was discharged after a week, I had a letter given to me which I had to take to my GP.
I wasn’t given any information on what had happened to me. I wasn’t given any after care. I started to lose weight very rapidly. I was a big bruising 17-stone 6-foot ice hockey player. I had always done physical jobs, I was always in good health. I didn’t see any reason why it should change.
I had no energy though. I wasn’t sleeping. My new employer dismissed me because I was off sick too much. This had been my dream job. It had taken me 14 years of trying to get it. I lodged an appeal, I continued to lose weight.
I’ve had depression since I was a teenager. It mostly wasn’t too bad. Just low mood. But it started to manifest itself in different ways. I began self harming. I took massive doses of prescription painkillers. I began looking at ways I could end my life. I was dragged to my GP.
She was literally my lifesaver. She got me on new meds. I had to go see her every week. She told me just how sick I had been and that it was normal for me to feel the way I did.
I kept losing weight though. I thought maybe it was just an after effect. I went to the doctor for my weekly appointment and mentioned in passing I had an issue with my penis. She took a look at it, then saw the 2 litre bottle of water in my backpack.
“Are you drinking that every day?”
That? I was drinking 4 or 5 of them. My thirst was unquenchable. I couldn’t gain weight, I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. “Come in tomorrow and we’ll test you for diabetes.”
I go the next day and have my bloods taken. Call for the results tomorrow.
I call, but they aren’t ready.
The weekend passes, I go to the chemist on Monday to collect my prescriptions. It was the 22nd August.
My phone rings. It’s a withheld number.
“Aaron, where are you?”
I’m at the chemist, why?
“No, where exactly are you?”
I’m outside Simpsons chemist just around the corner from the doctors, why?
“You’re in diabetic ketoacidosis. Your blood sugar is so high, your blood is turning acidic. You need to get to casualty now.”
So I go to casualty and tell them I’ve been sent there by my doctor. They start me on insulin and IV fluids. I’m admitted and taken to the ward. I spent the night being poked and prodded, blood tests being taken, more injections. The diabetes support nurses and dietician came to see me with my endocrinologist the next morning, showed me how to test my blood sugar and give myself injections.
The sepsis had left me type 1 diabetic. My pancreas doesn’t work anymore, in addition to the permanent damage to my heart and lungs. In a way I’m thankful this all happened the way it did. I didn’t have time to think about it, it was just how it was and I had to go along with it.
I’m back up to 15 stone now. My physical health is fairly good thankfully. I’ve been in therapy for my mental issues, and my dependency on prescription painkillers. I managed to get another job, I’m back fitting tyres which is a job I left 10 years ago but it was that or bankruptcy. I was warned I couldn’t do it. But I’ve proven them wrong.
This is a very abridged account of what happened. It is very hard for me to recall specific moments in my journey. Even now, I have to write things down and make lists, I have special alarms to remind me to test my blood sugar and inject myself.
Slowly but surely, I’m trying to get back to the Aaron I once was. I know I’ll never be 100% again. But if I can even make it to 85%, I’ll be happy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it.
Aaron has recently just survived his second ordeal with Sepsis!
You can read some of Aarons’ other stories about mental health and the after affects of sepsis HERE