When Richard Larkin became unwell he thought he was suffering from a urine infection and put off seeing his doctor. But within days he was so ill he was rushed to hospital and he feared he was dying.
Richard’s condition had been concerning his wife, Angie, for a couple of weeks because he appeared to be quieter than normal and “very grumpy”. He put it down to
being tired after throwing himself into a new job.
Away from work, Richard, 52, is a rugby coach and it was at a Saturday match in March 2017 when he first thought he had developed a urinary infection. Because of work commitments he wasn’t free until the following Thursday afternoon and so “being a stupid man”, as he puts it, he waited until then to try to get an appointment.
None were available but he was asked to submit a urine sample so Richard, from Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, asked Angie to pick up a sample bottle, the first she knew he had been suffering.
Richard said: “By the time I reached home I felt horrendous. I filled the little tube and could see it was not right so Angie dropped it into the doctor’s immediately. She made me a hot water bottle and I took myself to bed, thinking it was flu on top of the urine infection.”
Within half an hour Richard started to vomit but suspected it was probably food poisoning from a crayfish salad he had eaten for lunch.
It was at that point the full impact of the sepsis infection took hold. Richard said: “It was then things got far worse. I honestly felt like I was dying. I started shaking uncontrollably. I was scared. I just could not stop my hands and legs shaking/shivering, although burning in temperature.”
Angie called 999 and Richard says she had to tell him what happened next as he can hardly remember anything of the next two days.
He said: “The ambulance arrived very quickly and I was blue-lighted to Tunbridge Wells hospital where I was rushed through for examination and it was made clear to Angie I was in a serious state.
“I was oblivious to all around me but for Angie and our children, Henry and Josie, this was not a great time as they were informed about sepsis and its seriousness.”
Richard says the family were all in shock at what they were told by the consultant as they had no idea of what sepsis was.
He remained in hospital for six days and with the support of his family and employer his treatment and recovery were successful.
Richard said: “The outcome could have been far worse. The sepsis was caught and diagnosed quickly which was vitally important.
“But don’t be like me. React quicker whenever you have something like a urine or wound infection. Don’t wait until convenient to visit your GP. I was stupid.
“I’d also say it can happen to anyone at any age. I was fit and well, but sepsis knocked me for six.”