I'm writing this post from New Zealand as unfortunately we've got no support groups over here for survivors of Sepsis. I'm just over the two month mark post severe sepsis with early stages of septic shock. I was in ICU for 3 days until I stabilised and then a further 8 days in hospital. My sepsis was caused by Strep A pyogenes bacteria but unfortunately we never found the actual site of infection/how the bacteria got in to my blood system.
Prior to getting sick, I was worked as a Senior Executive for a large insurance company - responsible for a big team, a large budget and representing the company and the CEO externally in the media. It was high pressure, high responsibility and something I took in my stride up until sepsis came in to my life.
I am two weeks in to a gradual return to work. At the request of my GP, I have been working 3 hours, 3 days per week but I"m really struggling. I find the days that I'm not working I can cope relatively well with life. My physical back pain is easing, my emotions are more manageble ( I have been diagnosed with PTSD and under the care of an amazing Psychologist for that). But I feel like I'm not the high achieving, driven, corporate executive that I was a few months ago.
My brain just doesn't seem to be functioning like normal, small tasks are daunting, reading reports or anything too heavy is just overwhelming. On the outside I look well and the person they all know so well - but inside I'm a very different person. My work have been incredibly supportive but they're keen for me to be back in to the role in a full capacity and work priorities are piling up.
I'm starting to question whether I will ever return to that person I was prior to sepsis. I've read a lot of information around the cognitive impact on sepsis survivors but it's largely focused on the older age bracket. Is there anyone in this forum around my age, who has had to contemplate a return to work and to a highly-pressured role? I know ultimately the answer is probably just to give myself as much time as I need and my body (and mind) will know when that is. But is that cognitive impact temporary? Any similar experiences or advice will be greatly appreciated!
On a positive note - the medical teams here in NZ are pretty amazing when it comes to sepsis. Quick idenitifcation and diagnosis in hospital and a real appreciation of the recovery journey through the primary care networks too eg. my GP, Psychologist and physical rehab team. I couldn't be happier with the team here. But our small population means sepsis survivors aren't so common - my Infectious Disease Specialist sees 1-2 cases of 'me' per year and most don't survive. So the ability to tap in to support networks is very limited.
Great to have stumbled upon this site.