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Sepsis Doesn’t Define You | By Aaron Holmes – Sepsis Survivor

 
Post Sepsis Pain, Diabetes & Weight Loss
This week has been hard. I hurt all over and my diabetes has been a nightmare to deal with. My joints hurt, my back hurts, everything hurts.
 
I’m a 33 year old man and I’m hobbling around like a pensioner, limping along and trying to find a way to sit that doesn’t make me ache.
 
Ever since I had sepsis, I’ve had spurts of pain.
 
Now, I have always had physical jobs. Before I got ill, I was a big bruising 6ft, 17 stone, muscly man.
 
But, by the time I had been through sepsis, the months following, and the diabetes (which went undiagnosed for months), my body had started to eat itself for fuel because I was unable to produce insulin any more.
 
I dropped to 11 stone, I wasn’t sleeping, I was in a terrible place mentally. 
 
Sepsis Wrecked My Career
Having sepsis? – well it robbed me of my career and my back up.
 
I used to be a trucker, I say trucker, I was more of a general truck handy man for the company I used to work for. I drove the trucks, I fixed them, I repaired flat tyres, I drove diggers and shovels and bulldozers. I took orders for loads and gave prices and basically was my own boss. 
 
But I left trucking to go to my dream job. It took me 14 years to get there. This was torn away from me because I was sick. It’s really hard for me to talk about it, even after therapy and therapeutic intervention. 
 
So, I was out of work for 9 months. I was on benefits, and I felt terrible.
 
The letters came asking me to attend assessments for my ability to work. I’m a proud man. Being on benefits was hard for me. I know that is what they’re there for – to aid in times of distress. 
 
Being Stubborn & Needing To Work
So what did I do? I went looking for work. 
 
Oh ye gods, what fresh hell did I unleash on myself?
 
I applied for jobs left right and centre. I was a recently diagnosed type 1 diabetic who had survived a heart attack, sepsis and a chest infection, a matter of months before. My doctor told me I was mad. I was in no state to be working.
 
I felt I had to get back to work though. I had to! My ability to work had been the biggest factor in my life. I was used to working 12 to 18 hour days. 
 
What they don’t tell you, is how hard it is to get a job when you don’t have one. No one wanted to take a chance on me. Jobs that I knew I would be more than qualified for, I got turned down for. I was up front and honest about my health difficulties, I didn’t attempt to hide anything. 
 
Because I’m a type 1 diabetic (which means I’m insulin dependent), I lost my HGV license. The one safety net I knew I had was ripped from under me. What could I do now?
 
If there’s one thing about me that’s both a blessing and a curse, I’m stubborn. I applied for jobs, I asked for reasons why I wasn’t considered, I may have fired off an angry email or two regarding decisions to not even interview me. 
 
So, to recap. I’m looking for a job so I can get off benefits. I’ve been severely ill, but I’m on the path to recovery. I have no HGV license…but I have my tools. 
 
Finding A Job
Fast forward a few weeks. I need a puncture repaired on the car, so I stopped in with the place I normally get them repaired.
 
The boss and I worked together a long time ago, we’re standing talking as I pay for the repair. I jokingly ask “you don’t need a fitter by any chance?”
 
“Yes, but I thought…”
 
Oh god Aaron strike while the iron is hot. “I need a job.”
 
So I laid out everything that had happened, up front and frank about everything that had occurred.
 
“Leave it with me, I’ll call head office.”
 
Phone rings a little later. Can I come in the next day for an interview? (It was implied that this was just a formality.)
 
A week later, I had a job. I was a tyre fitter/mechanic once again. 
 
Working
I went to work that Monday morning, my steel toe boots on, my hat on my head, a well packed piecebox and all my diabetes supplies.
 
We’re now at almost a year later.
 
There are days, like this week, when I come home sore. Maybe I’ve had a hypo in work, maybe it’s been a total mess of a day and I just want to get in the shower, stand and let the water rain down on me and bawl my eyes out for 15 minutes.
 
But wait. I GOT TO COME HOME.
 
I, Aaron Evan Holmes, got up this morning, washed, dressed, did my bloods, injected insulin, ate, and went to work. I put in a solid hard days graft doing the one kind of work I know best, hard physical labour.
 
If you had told me last July that I would be in the shape I am now, I’d have laughed in your face.
 
Every day as a sepsis survivor is a day that is a battle, but you can win a war even if you lose some battles. 
 
 
Sepsis Doesn’t Define You
Sepsis doesn’t define you! You’ve survived an incredibly traumatic event, and now you’re left with the burden of survival.
 
“You look ok to me?” will be heard a lot.
 
I went back to work before I should have because I’m a stubborn, thran (North Antrim vernacular there) man, who needed to prove people wrong.
 
I’m in no way saying you need to get back to work like I did. Your recovery is your journey and it’s up to you how you travel. 
 
…In short?…Aaron got sick, decided he was going back to work and neither hell nor high water would stop him. 
 
By Aaron Holmes
Connect with Aaron on Twitter

 

#newcareer #findingajob #sepsischangedeverything #postsepsis #sepsisvitality

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