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I almost died two weeks ago
Old 10-03-2007, 12:31 AM   #1
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I almost died two weeks ago

As a bit of background, I'm 51, healthy, no more than 5 lbs overweight, in reasonably good shape.

I woke up on a Monday and had a little burning when I urinated. Later that evening I got a bit of fever.

I called my urologist on Tuesday am and wanted to either go in or get an antibiotic. They called a prescription in to the drugstore. I got it filled and took the first pill on Tuesday evening.

I ran a 103.5 temperature that night.

Wed am temp was down almost to normal, no urinary symptoms. But that night my temp and shivering spiked around 103. I figured the antibiotic just hadn't taken full effect yet.

Went to work for a couple of hours on Thur pm. Felt reasonable but not great. Got chills and fever on Thurs pm, got in bed. Began to shiver uncontrollably.

Next thing I knew I was in ER. I had passed out, my wife called ambulance. I don't remember anything about the fire department coming to the house or the ride to the hospital. At the hospital they pumped me full of IV antivirals, antifungals, antibiotics until they figured out what was wrong. Packed me in ice since I had a 104+ temperature. Did a CAT scan, a spinal tap. My blood pressure started dropping and they pumped me full of fluids. I was lucky in that they called an outstanding internist, he called in a pumonologist, a urologist, a kidney doctor, and an infectious disease doctor. He was VERY aggressive.

Spent 4 days in ICU. Had lung congestion and needed postive pressure breathing machine for about 6 hours.

Finally checked out after 7 days in hospital. Just finished ten additional days of IV antibiotics. I'm at about 90% strength now.

Verdict: I had a bladder infection that got into the bloodstream. While the antibiotic got it in the bladder, it didn't get it in the blood. My system started shutting down and I went into septic shock. The ER doctor said that if my wife had been a few hours later I wouldn't have made it. Still scares the cr*p out of me thinking about it.

Lessons learned:
1 - DON'T take a high fever lightly. I know I won't.
2 - (You've heard this before). Keep everything in balance. I was going through some difficult downsizing/company package departure decisions. Guess what? None of it stresses me any more!

I just thought this would provide some perspective to others on the board. Learn from my mistakes. I've been climbing this ER ladder and have only a couple of years to go. But you have to balance having some fun. I almost left a wife and two teenage kids. It's shocking to go from basically good health to almost dead in 3 days. Luckily this story has a good ending!
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:35 AM   #2
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Hey Man- what a terrible ordeal. I am glad you pulled through OK and are on your way to recovery. Quick thinking on your wife's part, and good Docs thankfully paid off for you. Welcome back!

Ha
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:41 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear you had a problem. Good to hear that things worked out OK. You offer good advice. High temp that can't be put under control fairly quickly means emergency room!


Thanks for sharing the ordeal. It is always good to get a reminder from time to time "lest we forget"!
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:10 AM   #4
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I'm very happy that you're ok now. It's amazing what can happen in just one week, one day or even one minute that could change lives forever. One hates lessons like this, but, they are really necessary as wake up calls to what is really important in life. So glad you are getting back to normal and with a much better perspective on what is important and what isn't.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:12 AM   #5
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Those high fevers are scary.

I've had two really high fevers in my lifetime. The first was 105 back in 1978 when I was 12. This turned out to be pneumonia. It resulted in a penicillin shot in the butt (OUCH) and a couple weeks of recovery. It's surreal to me to think that if this happened 50 years earlier, it likely would have killed me.

The second was about a decade ago -- on Christmas Eve -- and was 104 degrees. That one turned out to be bronchitis.

Glad you're feeling better.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:25 AM   #6
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Very glad to hear that you experienced a "happy ending"....and a humble THANK YOU for a reminder to each of us to live each day to the fullest!!

Now....off to watch my youngest play field hockey!!....that is....as long as some of the NOTHING that I had planned to do all day actually becomes SOMETHING....even then....I'd probably save it for next week....uhhh, month

Once again ~ very happy that you caught it in time!!
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
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Wow, gives perspective on what's really important in life. I'm glad you pulled through, and thanks for sharing that. Good thing your wife did the right thing and you were close to good medical care.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:44 AM   #8
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Very glad it all turned out OK. Scarey stuff.

Any infection behind some kind of obstruction can be particularly dangerous: a stuck gallstone, kidney stone, enlarged prostate, blocked airway; all can lead to sepsis very quickly.

Your wife is a hero.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:56 AM   #9
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Glad you are okay ! What a scarey ordeal !
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Old 10-03-2007, 12:08 PM   #10
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I will never cease to be amazed at how fast something like this can happen. I am so glad you had an aggressive doctor to push through all of the necessary tests and coordinate all of the medical specialists! Even with a spouse who acts quickly, all can be lost with a sluggish medical system. What a nightmare. Taking time to enjoy "now" is extremely important. We all probably tend to forget that. I know I do.

I am so happy there is a good ending to your story.

TG
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Thanks everybody
Old 10-03-2007, 09:09 PM   #11
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Thanks everybody

...for all of your kind comments.

I'm leaving megacorp on voluntary departure with package on 11/16. It was a tough decision and I was stressing about it prior to my illness. I still have to work a few more years due to teenage kids and not quite being at my $$ goal (about 25% more $, may be possible in a couple of years if the market is good).

I had an amazing day today at work. I'm still working hard and still caring for the company. But I have a sort of 'serene detachment', which partly may be due to the recent medical situation, and partly due to "I'm leaving a lot of this BS behind". But it's a wonderful way to work in a place which was previously much more frustrating.

I find myself less rushed. I find myself less disturbed about things I can't control. This is a really good feeling. I hope that it is not transient and it stays with me. It's a lot better way to be feeling about life!
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:45 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope your semi ER works out, sounds like it will. Good luck and keep us in touch with how it goes. I'm about the same age and in a similar position (28 months to ER from megacorp). This week a long time friend and colleague who is 51 and had always been in good health went to the docs with a back ache which the docs thought might be a kidney problem. Didn't take long to discover it was colon cancer and he is now recovering from surgery, but they have detected it in one of his lymph nodes as well so he now faces chemo. I've been a bit shaken up by the news - ill health really can strike you out of the blue.

I've had 2 scares with very high fevers - 1st time was meningitis, 2nd time, was gastroenteritis but it was still 3 days really sick in hospital with a battery of tests.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:27 PM   #13
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Do you think you would have avoided the serious issues if you had gone to your doctor's office for an exam prior to having him prescribe antibiotics? I hate it when the doc makes me come in for something that seems very simple (i.e. like your situation) but maybe it's not such a bad idea to have to go in and be examined and tested. Not sure an office visit would have made the difference in this case.
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Would a doctor's visit have made a difference?
Old 10-04-2007, 09:37 PM   #14
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Would a doctor's visit have made a difference?

I'm not sure whether it would have helped. He probably would have given me the urinalysis or prostate fluid check () and said, "yes, you have an infection, I'll prescribe an antibiotic". I think the only thing that would have made a difference was if I had gone in to the Doctor or hospital earlier and asked them to culture my blood. I started with fever on Monday night, started antibiotic on Tuesday night, and had my septic shock on Thursday night.

So in the future I won't ever let a fairly high fever go more than 2 days without a pronto trip to a medical professional.

If anybody else has words of wisdom on this, let me know. Would you have done anything different?
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfdaddy View Post
If anybody else has words of wisdom on this, let me know. Would you have done anything different?
High fever (about 102 and up) is always a cause for concern. But *prolonged* high fever that doesn't break or reduce is an emergency, or at the very least should always be treated as one.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfdaddy View Post
I woke up on a Monday and had a little burning when I urinated. Later that evening I got a bit of fever.

I called my urologist on Tuesday am and wanted to either go in or get an antibiotic. They called a prescription in to the drugstore. I got it filled and took the first pill on Tuesday evening.

I ran a 103.5 temperature that night.

Wed am temp was down almost to normal, no urinary symptoms. But that night my temp and shivering spiked around 103. I figured the antibiotic just hadn't taken full effect yet.

Went to work for a couple of hours on Thur pm. Felt reasonable but not great. Got chills and fever on Thurs pm, got in bed. Began to shiver uncontrollably.

Next thing I knew I was in ER. I had passed out, my wife called ambulance.
No need to second guess yourself. Yes, there were warning signs, but how many people feel just this way when it's a viral infection that will go away on its own?

The one thing I wonder about is: if you had actually seen your doctor or nurse practitioner on Tuesday or Wednesday, would you have looked a little grey? The bacteria would probably have been swimming around in your bloodstream then. There might have been a few clues that an experienced clinician could pick up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfdaddy View Post
At the hospital they pumped me full of IV antivirals, antifungals, antibiotics until they figured out what was wrong. Packed me in ice since I had a 104+ temperature. Did a CAT scan, a spinal tap. My blood pressure started dropping and they pumped me full of fluids. I was lucky in that they called an outstanding internist, he called in a pumonologist, a urologist, a kidney doctor, and an infectious disease doctor. He was VERY aggressive.
Welcome to ICU! A good team did its job, and helped you win this battle. I'm glad you made it.......the mortality of septic shock is ~50%. Your good underlying state of health obviously helped. And thank you for sharing this very scary experience.
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How many people know this?
Old 10-05-2007, 01:10 PM   #17
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How many people know this?

I gotta admit, there isn't any 'magic' number that I could throw out that I would red flag as 'get to an ER' temperature. 103 -104? I don't know, but it sounds like 103 and above is very dangerous.

So, I pulled out our home thermometers. No labels on there saying this. Wouldn't a label (which would fit on the plastic case it is in, not on the thermometer) help a lot of people?

I'd probably go look it up, but many people wouldn't. I'm always on that fence - it will just go away tomorrow. Hard for us lay people to know what is hypochondria and what needs attention quick.

I've heard the horror stories of meningitis attacking people so quickly with just flu-like symptoms. I've always had our kids do the 'touch your chin to your chest' test at the slightest indication of a fever. Is that a good indicator?

Glad you recovered. 50% mortality for septic shock! Wow!

-ERD50
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:28 PM   #18
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Glad it turned out well for you. Very scary stuff.
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