2019-04-06 Assessment Disaster

Warmed up

Sepsis - Update 12th November 2019

I've just come across a little booklet written by the UK Sepsis Trust. I wish I had been told about this following my little sepsis episode a year ago. Or at least been given some of the info by the hospital when they discharged me. But then again, if I was told, I would probably not remember. In fact, I can truthfully say I have very little recollection of anything from last November/December, including Christmas and well into the New Year. It is a complete blank. I even did some work for my employer in January, which I knew nothing about, until I came across it again in August! Frightening. Physically, as far as I was concerned, I was fully back to normal in the New Year. But I now know I was anything but. It's really difficult to try and explain how I felt and continue to feel. I feel perfectly ok, until I try to do something, then I realise I still have the shackles on holding me back. A bit like being in treacle - you are fine until you try to move.

On hindsight if I had known about the problems I would, and still continue to experience, I should never have tried to do the assessment. Sensitivities to temperatures being one of the problems mentioned, which probably explains why I became so cold during the assessment. At the time I was either pouring sweat out or freezing cold. Reading the list makes more and more sense: Nausea, dizziness, headaches, joint pain, itchiness the list goes on and on.  As for my mood, it has been a rollercoaster. But then I am a grumpy git anyway. 🙂

So now it is one year on from having had sepsis. I am definitely better, but I still have a long way to go. The worst part is I the incredibly tiredness. In fact I still suffer from many of the problems mentioned in the book, but perhaps to a lesser degree of severity.

Still what a revelation and thank you UK Sepsis Trust.

Well that didn’t quite go as planned. Everything was going well up until the self-rescue re-entry roll, when I fluffed my first attempt and from that point onwards it was a bit of a downward spiral. I did roll up once, only to go straight back over again... doh! The net result: hypothermia and being sick. The sick possibly as a result of the sea water I’d swallowed.
Luckily, for the other candidates, instead of a contrived rescue, they had to carry out a real rescue, on me, as I was completely and utterly incapacitated. I passed out at least a couple of times on the way back.

Thanks to James, Richard and Natalie for getting me back to shore, and the Greenes for helping me get myself warm and sorting my kit out. A special thanks to Natalie, as I was sick on her gear (I am so sorry) but for also for keeping me “with it” during the tow back.

I did get myself checked out in the afternoon and my blood pressure (lower figure) was extremely high due to my capillaries being constricted due to the cold. I didn't paddle the rest of the weekend, as to be honest I really didn't feel well. The following week was much the same, feeling rubbish with my blood pressure figures being all over the place. I saw my GP who re-assured me my blood pressure would settle down, but if not to go back. He was right it did settle. We also discussed the affect having had Sepsis in November and how this was almost certainly a contributory factor to my rapid deterioration. My GP says it will take me at least a year to fully recover from Sepsis, if not longer. After all my bodies thermostat took one hell of a beating back in November with the sepsis. Never have I felt so cold as with Sepsis and yet I was running a temperature very close to 42c!

Back in the van, just after getting warm again, I was thinking I shouldn't be working towards becoming an advanced leader. Indeed I posted as much on Facebook. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced I should continue. At the end of the day it is down to me as a leader to be very aware of the conditions and the conditions I am prepared to lead people in. Looking back now,  I know certainly learned a great deal this weekend, about myself and a good deal about leadership.

However, I am still very disappointed it turned out the way it did. I still keep thinking if I hadn't fluffed the first attempt on my self-rescue re-entry roll, I would have been fine. And yet, I know I was already on the downward spiral before even getting to the self rescue, which is why I fluffed the re-entry roll in the first place.

As for Natalie, Michael, Richard and Lisa, congratulations on passing. It was an absolute pleasure to paddle with you guys and I hope to paddle with you again soon.

Thanks also to James Stevenson of Adventure Elements and Phil Clegg of Sea Kayaking Anglesey.

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