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Trixie's sepsis story

Trixie Keilty has always kept fit – a swimmer and scuba diver, a regular gym-goer but has had sepsis twice. She had never heard of sepsis. On the first occasion, she was told she would have died if proper treatment had been delayed by just 90 minutes.

Trixie, 64, from Motherwell, recovered and is now back at the gym working on her fitness levels. This is her story in her own words.

On the 1st March 2017, I was rushed to hospital with a temperature of 40 after being ill in bed for eight days. The ambulance driver taking me to Wishaw General Hospital identified it as sepsis.

My husband and I had never heard of it. I had never been in hospital before and the consultant told me that if I had left it for another hour and half, I would have died.

When I was ill at home, we thought it was just a urine infection, which often occurs when you are a dedicated swimmer, which I am. We did everything wrong because of ignorance. I had three duvets on the bed and still couldn’t get warm and when in hospital I wasn’t allowed any covers of any sort I couldn’t understand why.

When I was able to get out of hospital, the consultant said that because of my very healthy life style, he was able to release me sooner than expected. But to my mind, if I was so healthy, why did I get it?

It then took me more than two years to get back on my feet and I had a lot of help to get there – physiotherapy, massage and a personal fitness trainer who also does cognitive training as well.

By the beginning of May last year, I was back to normal, doing all my gym and swimming training without pain and I was so happy. I went on a six-day diving holiday and was so fit.

A few days later I was back to my fitness training and then a chest infection started around lunchtime on Wednesday May 15th. I started to run a temperature and having bought a thermometer after being ill the last time, I saw my temperature heading for 40.

This time I knew what was happening and phoned the doctor who responded immediately. What a shock to find myself back in hospital again! I just never knew that I could take it again. This time it was only stage one instead of stage two and three.

Again, the consultant said that because of my fitness level, he could release me sooner than expected.

I was treated at Wishaw General Hospital on both occasions when I contracted sepsis and I am very grateful to the doctors and medical staff for keeping me alive.

I am still recovering for the second time with post-sepsis, but this time it is happening much quicker.

My husband and I have been married for 44 years and I was a member of the “Masters” Swimming Club for many years and was there for fitness and training which was fun. We trained three to four times a week and, for competitions, I paced for everyone. I left it just over a year ago to do more gym training, but still keep up my swimming.

I believe the urine infection I contracted was picked up in the pool the first time, and then the chest infection also from there, the second time. I spoke to two individual swimmers on the last day that I swam and they had both just finished their swimming with very bad chest infections.

I often wondered how I could get sepsis for the second time, be in hospital and still be fit. I just couldn’t understand it.

Then, my friend who is a nurse, gave me Sepsis Research’s leaflet and suddenly everything fell into place and I am so grateful for it. Thank you so much for this leaflet and for all the help it has been to me. I have never seen my doctor since being in hospital in March 2017 and just seemed to have so many unanswered questions. These have now been answered, thanks to you.

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