Life After Sepsis

Friday 7th September. Home and life after sepsis.

I’ve been out of the hospital for a week now and have been staying at my daughter’s. However, I’m hoping to go home to my house next week.

Dad and daughter
Garry about to leave the hospital with his daughter Vicky

I’m still too weak to go anywhere and have a nurse who comes around every day, to administer antibiotics intravenously. The nurse also checks my vital stats, which have all been okay since being home.

I exercise my right hip every day, although maybe not as much as I should; I find it all too painful and exhausting.

Girl giving a manicure
Vicky gave her dad a manicure while he was sedated
what happened

I’ve now worked out or rather been told about my stay in hospital.

On the night of the 21st of July 2018, I was in excruciating pain. I’d had a lot of pain for over a week, but it had become unbearable tonight. So I decided to call the doctors, who, after a lot of delays, called an ambulance to take me to the hospital.

The ambulance arrived, and I was taken to the A&E department at St Richard’s Hospital Chichester. Over the next four days, I was moved from ward to ward! Nobody could find what was causing my pain!

Eventually, after a couple of nights on the emergency floor, I wasn’t on the floor; it was the ward’s name. They told me that if I didn’t pass any water, they would put a catheter in me; not wanting that, I immediately asked for a jug of water which I downed straight away. That was quickly followed by three more, which didn’t work either.

My last memory was dragging a chair across the ward for support to the toilet, with my sister, Mary, telling my brother-in-law Pat, “Go with Garry!”

Garry McGivern on life support
Garry sedated and hooked up to life support
I Have No Recollection

Everything from here on until my last few days in intensive care is what people have told me. I have no memory, which is probably for the best.

After another day or so of confusion, on my part, in the Emergency Floor ward. Not knowing who I was, where I was or who anybody else was. (nothing new there, then!) They realised I had developed severe sepsis shock and transferred me to the intensive care unit.

After a day or two in intensive care, things weren’t improving, and my kidneys started to pack up. Soon afterwards, my heart and lungs also started to give up. At this point, they sedated me and put me on life support to give my body a chance to recover where I remained for the next few days.

While I was in an induced coma, the doctors tried nearly every antibiotic going, but I wasn’t responding. And my infection markers were through the roof at almost 400. (Anything above 35 is considered bad!) And they still couldn’t find the source of the infection, a very worrying time for my family and friends.

After many different scans and tests, they eventually found the cause of all my trouble. I had an abscess on my hip, or rather there were two.

A Glimmer Of Hope

Now they knew where the infection was, they started to drain the abscesses. They also found the right antibiotic for the infection.

I remained sedated for six days before being revived and stayed in the intensive care unit for another 3-weeks, which I don’t remember. While sedated, I had some pretty strange dreams that I do remember. I thought aliens had abducted me and were doing experiments on me in one. In another one, I was on a ferry to Morocco, with my family, despite being on a bicycle tour.

Things Start To Look Up

Once the abscesses had been drained, and the infection was brought under control. They then removed my hip and gave me a temporary “filler” in its place. I should have had hip replacement surgery months earlier. (But that’s a different story.) The “filler” is a precautionary measure, just in case any infection is still lurking there.

Miss Hook, my surgeon, said afterwards that the infection was everywhere during the operation to remove my hip. And every time she cut into a new layer of muscle, there was more infection, which all had to be removed and washed out before the hip replacement.

So I’ve now got this temporary “filler” in, which will stay until they decide to replace it with a permanent one. Which, from what they were saying, is unlikely to be this year.

Man in hospital eating
Enjoying some fish and chips that the family bought in

The only downside to having this filler and it’s a massive downside. I’m not allowed to ride my bike in any way, shape or form until I get my permanent hip. So that’s no cycling until next year. I must try not to get too down about it! They may need to lock my bikes up and throw away the keys so I won’t be tempted. That’s if my daughter has not already done so!

Going Home

After four weeks in intensive care, they moved me to the orthopaedic ward, where I spent two more weeks before being allowed to go home.

As I said earlier, I’ve not gone home just yet. I’m staying at my daughter’s, so as you can imagine, I’m being spoilt rotten!

It wasn’t until I’d heard all this from various people that I realised how ill I was and how lucky I am to still be here! Apparently, I was the sickest person in the county at one point. (how they gauge that, I don’t know) And had I not been so fit. Or was that Fat!? I wouldn’t have pulled through.

Thank you

I can’t praise or thank the staff of St Richard’s Hospital enough, who, without, let’s face it, I wouldn’t be here now.

Visiting in hospital
Julie and her daughter Hayley pay Garry a visit

I’d also like to thank my family and friends for all the support they’ve given me and are continuing to give. Particularly my daughter Vicky, who worries about me at the best of times; god knows what she’s been going through over the past month or so.

Turkish barbers
Garry finally managed to get a haircut and shave

I’d also like to thank everyone for all the comments I’ve received, either on my website or social media. Thank you all. I really appreciate and am still enjoying everybody’s kind words and thoughts.

And in the kind words of one of those people that wrote me messages, “Keep peddling.” I truly am one of the lucky ones. And proof that there is life after sepsis!

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16 Replies to “Life After Sepsis”

  1. Garry, I’ve been keeping up with what’s going on from Zoe. I”m so pleased to read your post and continue to wish you a speedy recovery of strength and fast follow up op. My best wishes, your cousin Penny.

    1. Thanks Penny, it’s already getting a bit boring not being able to do anything! But at least things are moving in the right direction, just very slowly!
      Apparently I’ve got to be patient, not something I’m known for!
      Hope your keeping well.

  2. Hi Garry! That’s a reminder – I need to cut my own nails. Last week I did a Donald Crowhurst. I cycled half way round Langstone Harbour and packed it in. Well, I was knackered before I started. Next time you come to the Island I’m gonna track you down and buy you a drink.
    Best wishes – Malc.

    1. Maybe you’ll have to do the other half another weekend!
      Don’t worry about tracking me down, I’ll track you down if your buying!

  3. So very glad ur on the mend now spikey must have been so scary for Vicky tow watch you like that and for you not to know who anybody was my love and thoughts have been with you all through when I found out
    Sending you a big hug 🤗 and lots of love and hopefully will be able to get to seee you soon
    Take care xxx😘💙

  4. God! All that and they haven’t even done your hip yet. You look healthier in hospital.
    than when you’re on the bike. Today, I cycled from Sandown to Shanklin along the Esplanade.
    Auld Malc.

    1. That’s one of the many annoying things, once I’ve recovered from this, they’ll cut me open again!
      How did you get to Sandown?

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