It came in like a wrecking ball

Declan Groeger
Written by
Declan Groeger

I was in hospital recently, not as a visitor, but as a patient. I contracted urinary sepsis and was moved by ambulance to our local Emergency Department. This post is not to extol the virtues of our paramedics and our doctors and nurses, though they deserve praise and gratitude of the highest order. This post is to alert you to the dangers of sepsis, and the role vigilance plays in our health. Sepsis is an ever-present danger for people with a compromised immune system. I have been hospitalized previously with sepsis, but what caught me off guard this time was the speed at which it struck, the severity of the attack, and its’ duration. In any event I am home again, and operating at full throttle - well at least as fully as MS will allow.

Let’s rewind back to the beginning. I had been feeling slightly ‘off’ for a few weeks before I was diagnosed with urinary sepsis. I had visited my doctor for a check-up, where I was prescribed antibiotics for the infection. I followed the prescription, but as I now know, the medicine wasn’t working. It seemed to only slow the bug down without ultimately killing it.

I didn’t feel great on the Tuesday evening prior to hospitalization. On that Friday, about four hours after going to bed, I experienced an hour of feverish sweats and serious weakness throughout my body. My wife immediately called an ambulance, and I was hospitalized. It turns out the infection was quite strong, which is why perhaps the earlier prescribed medicine did not work to eradicate the infection.

What to watch for:

  • Feeling less good than normal, even though this is difficult to quantify when living with MS. What is good or less good?
  • Note the clarity of your urine. Cloudy urine is indicative of an impending problem and usually the cloudier the urine the more serious the problem is becoming
  • Smell from the urine is another indicator
  • Weakness and worsening of symptoms is to be expected
  • Raised temperature

Don’t confuse sepsis with an exacerbation (Flare Up); worsening of symptoms during an episode of sepsis is known as a pseudo-exacerbation, and normally the symptoms will revert to normal when the infection is under control.

How to minimize the risk:

  • I believe the regular use of cranberry juice helps
  • Keep a thermometer handy and be aware of what the correct temperature is
  • Don’t be afraid to go to the doctor; better safe than sorry
  • Infections can creep in anywhere - so be extra vigilant in matters of hygiene

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