Sepsis, Bronchitis, and the Toastmasters International Speech Contest
March 4, 2019
I just wanted to share my story with you of overcoming some serious health issues over the past few weeks going into the first leg of the 2019 Toastmasters International Speech Contest.
I have been preparing for the 2019 Contest Season since last fall. (Taking Darren LaCroix's advice to make sure that no one is more prepared than you are.) The first leg of the contest season was my home club's speech contest (Get Up To Speak or "GUTS"), which was this past Saturday, March, 3rd. Everything was going to plan, and then...
I contracted sepsis on Thursday, February 21, a week and two days before our club contest.
I check myself into Urgent Care, which, upon hearing the diagnosis, I was told was a decision that literally saved my life. As I'm lying in a hospital bed, receiving lifesaving antibiotics, trying to break a 102-degree fever, the last thing on my mind was a speech contest. Thankfully, I recovered, went home, and resume my preparations, and then...
I can't stop coughing!
Ever since returning from the hospital I've been coughing uncontrollably, so much so that I can't even utter more than two (2) words without suffering a cascading cacophony of painful, debilitating coughing fits. I decide to check back into Urgent Care this past Thursday (three days before the contest), and discover that I now have acute bronchitis. I'm put on a 20-minute breathing treatment, prescribed more meds, and return home.
As I'm lying in bed waiting for the Prednisone, Benzonatate and Mucinex to give my bronchial tubes some much-needed relief, I try to practice my speech:
I'm frustrated now. This Saturday is the first step in my quest to FINALLY make it to the World Championship of Public Speaking, and there's a bronchial insurrection happening in my chest!
Needless to say, I was not in a very good place. I prayed and asking the Almighty Creator to heal my respiratory system, so that I could give my absolute best speech on Saturday. At one point, it became less about winning the contest and more about showing up and NOT LETTING MY TOASTMASTERS CLUB DOWN!
Sure, I could have easily contact our Club Contest Master (who was well aware of my health struggles) and tell him that I couldn't compete. But I just couldn't bring myself to do that! A little voice in my head told me, "Go for it! No matter what happens, you have already won!"
Well, the day of the contest arrives. I'm sitting quietly (as Club President, no less, if you can believe it) waiting for my turn, coughing sporadically throughout, frequently using an prescribed inhaler to keep the bronchitis in check. When it's my turn to give my speech, I give it my absolute best! I even worked a cough into my speech to humorous effect...
And it worked!
I won first place! WHEW!!!!
Needless to say, I should be completely recovered from bronchitis by the time our Area International Speech Contest rolls around in two weeks.
Moral of the story: When you feel like your body is slowly shutting down, it might be sepsis. Get to the hospital ASAP!