Sepsis Stories
Maria Papalia-Meier: Survived Sepsis

On June 18, 2014, my life changed forever. I had just turned 40. As a mom of two young children and a wife, I had it all: a great career and a loving family. Life was good. However, things changed 15 days after my 40th birthday. I was in the hospital fighting for my life; I had gone into Septic Shock from a Strep Infection I didn’t know I had. I spent a little over 7 weeks between the hospital and rehab and came home on August 8th.

I had never heard the word “Sepsis” or knew what “Septic Shock” was until it happened to me. When I look back, all the signs were there; I just didn’t know it. I thought I had the flu. I didn’t have a sore throat until the day I went to the doctor. I was within hours of dying and didn’t know.

My strep presented as a rash that started on my stomach and spread to my arms. I thought the rash on my stomach was irritation from running in warmer weather, and the rash on my arms I thought was an allergic reaction to working in the yard.

My urine had gotten dark; it looked almost like a light Coca Cola color. I thought I was dehydrated. I can’t help but think if my outcome would have been different if I had told my doctor about all these symptoms. Would that have led to more questions and maybe an earlier visit? I will never know the answer to these questions, but when I talk about my Sepsis Story, I make it a priority to emphasize to people how important it is to share all of your symptoms with the doctor when you call, share anything that is out of the norm.

Years later, I had a MRSA infection. My MRSA infection was found because I was aware of my symptoms and shared them with my doctor. What looked like a small pimple or blister on my foot was dismissed, but as it became more painful and I was running a low-grade fever of 99.9 for a few weeks, I knew something wasn’t right.

The key to saving a life, yours or someone else’s, is knowledge and awareness.

Maria #thetoelessrunner