The majority of patients make a good recovery from sepsis but what happens if you are one of the few that don't seem to improve as expected? What should you and your family look for during your rehabilitation period in hospital?
Signs of Deterioration or Lack of Improvement Physically
Persistent fever - when your temperature remains high longer than expected or after you've finished the antibiotics. You may feel very hot or cold and shiver.
Your pulse is permanently higher than normal (over 90 at rest)
Your blood pressure may be low
You may have trouble passing urine or it causes pain or the amount is very small
You may have a great deal of pain in one area of your body. The area may be red and angry to look at and feel very warm.
You develop a cough and start to cough up phlegm
You may develop diarrhoea and vomit and/or become dehydrated
The doctors and nurses looking after you will be constantly checking for any of the above signs and if they become concerned will take the appropriate action. They could send a specimen of your urine, blood or phlegm to see if there are any signs of infection and if so start you on some antibiotics or give you some extra fluid via a drip. Some patients can develop a small collection of fluid in an area after abdominal surgery or in their chest. The consultant who is looking after you would then decide if it needed draining or not. Usually, these physical problems can be sorted out easily and quickly and only delay your recovery for a short period.
Often ex-patients can suffer from stiff joints, lack of energy and overall weakness for many weeks after recovering from an acute illness. The following are some exercises which should help improve strength and mobility:
Sit comfortably on a chair and look forward. Slowly tilt your head to the right and then to the left. This can be repeated several times. Then slowly bend your head backwards and forwards. This can be repeated several times.
Sitting on a chair, clasp your hands together in front of you and raise your arms upwards and back over your head as far as you can. You can repeat this several times.
Stand up - circle your left arm in a forward movement past your ear several times and then change direction and circle backwards. Repeat exactly the same with the right arm.
Lie down on the floor on your back. Bend both knees up, keeping your legs together and your feet touching the floor. Move your knees slowly from side to side, aiming to touch the floor each side. This can be repeated several times.
Lie on the floor - bend the right knee up to a right angle position and hold for 5 seconds, then lower it to the ground and straighten your leg. Repeat this with the left leg. Do this several times. Do be very careful if you suffer from a bad back.
Sit on a chair and lift one leg a few inches off the ground. Make a circle with your foot by rotating your ankle and then change to the other foot. This can be repeated several times.
Sit on a chair with your back well supported and your knees together. Then straighten your right leg and bend your toes towards you. Repeat this on the left side. Do be careful if you suffer from cramp.