Stanley Namox is from Witset, Thin (Gifyu) House Clan, located in Northern BC. N’ik is Stanley’s Chief Name. To the BC Sepsis Network, Stanley is a recent patient partner with the Patient Voices Network who has many stories to tell. In this interview, Stanley recounts his experience with sepsis as a result of pneumonia, what he noticed that caused him to seek medical attention and what he would like to share with other patients, families and health care providers. Stanley is leading the way on how to respect and treat one another the way you would want to be treated.
BCPSQC: Stanley, do you have any questions before we get going?
Stanley: No, I really don’t. I’m just excited to get the word out, and what really happens with pneumonia and sepsis and how it happens. It’s unexpected.
BCPSQC: Where and when did you experience sepsis? How did things start?
Stanley: Well, we were going to a conference or meeting on brain and head injury. On our way to Prince George, just after Vanderhoof, I started feeling coldness, then it got warm, then all of a sudden it got cold, then all of a sudden starts to burn, then it started to get worse, and worse, and worse, as it comes. I had a sudden headache and aching bones and everything. And I said, “Wow!” Suddenly, I was burning and threw everything [blankets and my jacket] off. It was a very uncomfortable trip to Prince George from Vanderhoof. I was in the front seat of the vehicle, sitting up front and I just keeled right over holding my knees and everything.
Going through those symptoms drained me right out. My whole body just collapsed in the front seat. And everybody’s asking if I’m okay. I kept replying to them, “Yes, I’m okay.” But, I wasn’t. Because you know, I’m trying to think positive and say “Yes, I’m okay.”
BCPSQC: So, after what feels like forever, you arrive at the venue. What happens then?
Stanley: Well, I got up and said “Oh my God, it hurts, it hurts to move.” Every movement I made was painful, very painful. And I said, “Wow! This is so unreal.” So, I went to open the door, but then I ended up on the ground. I had no energy to walk, no energy for anything. Anything I tried to do was very painful. And it was no fun at all. It was very painful, so the ladies went into the hospital and grabbed a wheelchair for me and wheeled me all the way back to the hospital. They didn’t think I was going to make it, they put an IV in me and everything and all I remember is the IV going into my arm, then I passed out right there.
I woke up in the room, a small, little tiny room. I said, “oh, my God. I feel like I’m in a morgue. It’s much colder here.” I said, “oh, my God, and I just kept praying and praying and praying. I remember my grandparents used to tell us when you are sick or scared, keep on praying. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. So I kept praying and praying and just kept on praying right steady.
That was quite the experience that I went through, and I don’t wish that upon anybody. It was very painful and scary. After I got better, I was taken to the elders room, and I testified to the elders. I told them what I went through, and how I pulled through. These three elders had teary eyes and were very happy to hear that. It was a good experience at the end but the beginning of it was just like going into the grave. That’s how I felt, like I was going into the grave, but it didn’t happen.
BCPSQC: Stanley, what would you like people to know about your experience, that you think might help with their education on this?
Stanley: I think that, for me, I’d like people to understand, to know what the symptoms are, and that they’ll know when they come across something like this, that they’ll know what to do right away to try to get straight to the hospital or a clinic. A friend of mine told me the same thing, he said, “yeah, I had the same thing! I was freezing and burning, freezing and burning.” Yeah, when you get that, you know what to do. Go to the hospital right away and they’ll work on you and catch it before it gets worse.
BCPSQC: After all you’ve been through, what keeps you moving forward?
Stanley: My parents and my grandparents groomed me. When they groom you, they tell you lots of stories and tell you how it’s gonna be, and what you’re gonna run into, and how we have to respect the people regardless what the situation is.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, how I was treated, and how I was disrespected by the non-status people in school, at St. Joseph’s, and how we got whipped and spanked, and hair pulling and ear pulling, and all this stuff that happened back in those days, just because I was treated like that doesn’t give me the right to treat the non-status people like that. That was the past, and I leave all that behind, and I continue on, press on forward, and keep living the best way I can, like our ancestors did. Our ancestors taught us a lot of stuff and had a lot of respect for everyone, so we need to carry that on and keep going and press on and keep sharing our story and giving advice and respecting the people. Respect everything.
So that’s how we were groomed and it’s such a good life, and I’m so happy that I listened to them, listened to the elders, how they spoke. They said, “you know what? You can have a good life; you can do everything for the people the right way, and you’re gonna help them in the right, respectful way. I was just a young kid at that time. I was probably about five, six years old. I understand everything they were talking about.
Sometimes when they spoke to me, when they were telling me that people are blind, and people are deaf, and I said, “how could they be blind and how could they be deaf when they hear us talking and see where they’re going?” And after a while I finally realized as I was growing, “Oh, I see what my dad meant. He said the people are blind, they only wanna see what they wanna see, and they only wanna hear what they wanna hear. That’s what he’s talking about! Okay, now I get the picture.”
We like to help people, be there for the people, be there for the community. Be there for the Nation, as one. We don’t treat anybody different than who we are.
Please note that the stories and opinions posted are those solely of the authors and contributors of the stories. They do not reflect the opinions of the BC Sepsis Network, its employees, contractors, or volunteers.