I am really late to the story here, but I was reluctant to write about Muhammad Ali because, besides the obvious loss of a legend, his was another death attributable to sepsis, the disease that nearly KOd me several years ago. In his case, it was septic shock, meaning severe sepsis that doesn’t respond to treatment. Sepsis gets “severe” when it starts to affect internal organs, as it did with my liver.
Sepsis, for those who have joined this class in progress, follows the body’s overreaction to an infection. Bacteria travel to the blood and bad things follow. In Ali’s case, he was weakened by Parkinson’s Disease and his body’s immune response wasn’t triggered to fight. Last week, I worked alongside a man whose 22-year-old son died from sepsis so it’s been on my mind again. In the young man’s case, a doctor diagnosed him as having a chest infection and sent him for an X-ray but didn’t give him antibiotics. The patient, full of young, male bravado, put off getting the X-ray. By the time he was taken to hospital he was beyond saving. I can’t figure out why that physician didn’t give him the meds first.
Sometimes I think the sepsis support groups I joined help me and sometimes I don’t. The aftermath for some patients is horrific. And doctors share stories of patients who suffer effects attributable to their sepsis fight, many years after they seemingly fully recovered. It’s scary stuff.
Bu the headline is, I did survive. And I’ve tried to find ways to contribute to the challenge of increasing awareness. Next, I’ll donate voice-overs for some educational videos. I would love to one day attend one of the international conferences on sepsis. After all of these years, remembering my own fight is still upsetting, and if it’s tough enough to take out The Champ, you can imagine how ruthless sepsis is.