My boyfriend’s battle with SEPSIS

SEPSIS is one of the biggest silent killers. I bet you didn’t know that. Me neither. Not until my boyfriend got diagnosed and he spent nearly all of last week in hospital fighting one of the nastiest infections he could ever have caught. And we still don’t know the source of it.


It was a Saturday night and we were just going about our usual business. We tend to go through to his mum’s in Ayrshire, we stay in a little town near Glasgow, so it’s a fair bit away. It’s a change of scenery for us and it’s usually only for a day or two. Alastair, my boyfriend, had been feeling under the weather. We shrugged it off as flu-like symptoms and didn’t concern ourselves too much over the first 12 hours that the symptoms were showing. 

He was shivering profusely, claiming to be freezing, when in actual fact he was running a crazy sky high temperature. He was sweating vigorously. He was confused; not making much sense when he was talking. I don’t think he quite grasped the severity of his symptoms at this moment in time. He was too far gone.

It was Sunday morning and after a sleepless night next to Alastair he hadn’t got any better by morning. He was worse. It was at this point I went downstairs and got his mum. We rushed him to A&E at NHS Ayrshire and Arran hospital. I had been googling his symptoms all night and the word ‘sepsis’ kept popping up – I think even I was in denial at this point. It couldn’t be sepsis, surely, I thought. I’m an avid Coronation Street fan and there has been a storyline featured recently from a young character developing sepsis and losing limbs; surely my boyfriend wasn’t going to go through that! Alastair is a grafter. a hard worker, he’s as fit as a fiddle and in optimal helth. 

Within 15 minutes of being in A&E he was diagnosed with sepsis. 

My heart was in my mouth. I had to stay calm and collected for my man. Alastair has a genuine fear of needles, he hates hospitals and never even goes to his doctor. This was not good. They put him on a drip immediately. They began taking samples of his blood, his urine and ran different tests on him. He had x-rays done and over the next few days he would also have ultrasounds and various other tests to get to the bottom of why this was happening. But we never found the cause.

Through the cannula in his arm, antibiotics were pumped through his arm, one of the strongest antibiotics there is which I believe is called gentamicin. He was out of the game. It made him oh so tired. He was so weak and vulnerable. It broke my heart. He was getting different antibiotic shots in his arm and constant fluid. They were also on a mission to bring his temperature down which just didn’t seem to shift for the first 3 days or so. It was a horrible experience.

I stayed in Ayr all week, and stayed by his bedside for 8-12 hours at a time, for as long as they allowed me to stay. I just didn’t want to leave him. He hated it in there; but it was the best place for him. He had sepsis!

By day 4 he had perked up a lot, he still wasn’t himself, but he was more alert and chirpier than the previous few days. They still wouldn’t let him out as his blood infection markers were still way higher than they should be. It was such a sin. He was desperate to get out and this nasty infection was holding him back. He was worried about our holiday, too, as we go away this month. And it’s my birthday. He was getting pretty stressed but I told him just to focus on getting better first. 

And that’s what he did.

Day 5 was the day he was freed and it felt like he had been in the hospital for an eternity. I think because we were far away from home too it all just felt so strange, so surreal, such an upheaval. He was let out on oral antibiotics and his cannula was removed. He has been referred to several different places in Glasgow to investigate further and to keep an eye on him: sepsis is a really serious thing. 

Alastair’s came from nowhere and escalated really fast; you need to phone the emergency services or get yourself to accident and emergency if you even suspect you have sepsis. Know the symptoms. Know the signs. Don’t waste any time.

Alastair is recovering well and I’ve been making sure he rests and takes it relatively easy. He’s a grafter though and he has went back to work already so we just need to make sure he’s not pushing himself too hard as he’s still not 100%. I just wanted to use my platform to talk about Alastair’s experience with sepsis because I know many of you have been following it on social media and I just wanted to walk you through what actually happened and raise some awareness.

Do you know the symptoms of sepsis? Has it affected anyone that you know? Would you know what to do if someone was showing signs of sepsis? 

Until next time,

Charlene McElhinney





  1. August 15, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    What a frightening experience. Good job getting him to a hospital when you did, Charlene. Glad to hear he is recovering well. Awareness regarding medical conditions is so important – what to look for, when it could be life threatening, etc. Thank you for letting us all know what to look for and do if we suspect sepsis.

    Emily In Ecuador

  2. August 16, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    This must have been incredibly frightening for both of you and his family. I wish more people knew the signs of sepsis as it can be fatal. I’m glad to hear your boyfriend is recovering and that you talked about this as it will bring more awareness to this awful infection complication.

    Rachael x

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