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Blue Skies
ultrarunning, running, run, endurance sports
Turquoise Sky

Every man has two lives, and the second begins when he realises, he has just one.

I spent the month of February 2023 in a coma on life support. On a much-needed trip away, I developed a staphylococcus aureus infection called septic arthritis, which quickly progressed to sepsis and type 1 respiratory failure. The pneumonia caused a massive effusion and led to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Placing the drain for the effusion, I had a pneumothorax.

~ 50% of people survive this medical predicament. 

All I was just trying to do, was take some time off. Merry fucking Christmas.

Thankfully I found a way to pull through, and now I am looking at the business end of a 100 km ultra-marathon.

 

Why?  

To cultivate self-belief, open-mindedness and bump up to the outer limits of my capabilities.

We are all capable of so much more than we think we are and I refuse to let my limitations of self get in the way of cultivating my self-belief once more.

A regular person wants 10 thousand things, a sick person, wants just one.

For each day on a ventilator, we lose ~2 % of our muscle mass. At a total of 24 days, I had lost ~50% of mine, 25kg. With a bad case of postural tachycardia syndrome, orthostatic hypotension, emphysema, cysts, lung scaring all the way down, and the inability to move my left arm, I was 10 ways fucked. All of that, not to mention the most significant challenge of them all. ~80% of ventilated patients experience delirium many of whom develop PTSD, a cohort of which I am proudly a part. We suffer silently, in quiet desperation. Most of the time, our pain goes completely unnoticed. We need to find ways to connect with others that allow us to overcome what we have experienced.

My journey through recovery has been a long and complicated one. 

Have you ever heard of post-sepsis syndrome? 

 

Neither had I.  So what are the facts?

Post-sepsis syndrome is a constellation of long-term physical, medical, cognitive, and psychological issues following sepsis recovery that puts survivors at risk for hospital readmission, and is associated with a reduction in health and life span.

1 ) Around 75% of sepsis survivors develop at least one new medical, psychological, or cognitive diagnosis after hospital discharge. 

2) Only half of the sepsis survivors achieve complete or near-complete recovery within two years after hospital discharge.

3) On the other hand, one in six patients experiences persistent impairments.

4) Sepsis survivors are at risk for rehospitalization, recurrent infections and chronic illness and have a shorter life expectancy, and lower quality of life.

To learn more about sepsis and post-sepsis syndrome visit:

What is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and why does it suck?

ARDS, is a condition in which fluid collects in the alveoli (air sac) of the lungs, depriving the body of oxygen.

In patients with severe ARDS, respiratory function can be impaired for 2–5 years following hospital discharge with some evidence of prolonged impairment in functional status extending beyond 5 years.

Life ain't all sunshine and rainbows.

This isn't the first time I have been through something like this. Fortunately, I have the benefit of knowing how to navigate these turbulent waters as I have made all the mistakes before.  When I was 20 years old, I was in a motor vehicle accident,  t-boned by a car on my way to muay-thai training. My beloved bright red sports motorcycle was in a state of disrepair, and I was a close second. With a dislocated hip, torn MCL, fractured patellar, torn meniscus, and a bimalleolar fracture, I wasn't throwing any kicks, anytime soon. I was told I would need a walking stick for the rest of my life.

 

I then spent the next year entropically navigating my way through recovery and learning a lot of lessons along the way. I have that experience to thank for developing the resilience of mind and strength of character to approach this recovery with a level maturity and resolve that lead to finishing a 53km ultra at 25 weeks post discharge. I am still in pain from my motorcycle accident, every morning I am greeted by the rusty gait that is my left ankle. But I won't let it stop me from doing anything.

'In those rare fleeting moments when you are awash in a sense of infinite possibility and overwhelmed with glory. Everything they ever did, put in front of you, all the knockdowns, breakdowns and fuck yous, doubt, humiliation and abuse.

It's fucking worth it.'

 

- David Goggins

See you at the finish line.

broken ankle, trauma,

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I am a 26-year-old paramedic student, jiu-jitsu addict, and humanist. After completing the 100 k I am setting my sights on finishing an Ironman140. I am excited to see where my training in healthcare will take me, whether that be in Paramedicine or beyond.

helicopter, first responder, paramedic
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