On October 13th 2004, I left for work in great pain. A few days earlier
I had fallen in the bath tub and injured my right hip, and was bruised
terribly. Me being the independent, stubborn person I am, suffered through
the pain not wanting to go to the doctor. The last thing I remember
about that morning was pulling out of the garage....the rest, I am telling
from information given to me by friends.
Around 9:30 that morning I called my boss at work and told him I was
lost. He asked where I was and I responded that I was behind a blue
van and hung up the phone. No one knew where I was and I didn't answer
my cell phone. I drove around for hours, finally stopping 30 miles north
of my home in a small town named Anna. Luckily, I stopped in front of
a housing development office, and a man came out because he saw my head
bobbing and my car lurching forward. He took my cell phone, and spoke
with 911 and gave them my location. A few moments later I was taken
to the hospital by ambulance.
After arriving at the hospital, they rushed me to ICU where I was examined
by the physician. He felt my thigh and said it felt like popcorn. They
took an x-ray and saw several air pockets. He almost immediately came
out and told my fiance that I was not going to live and that he needed
to call my family and have them come down from Omaha. He broke down...he
had only met my parents once, but he called and spoke with my dad. My
family was all there the very next day. They advised that I had contracted
necrotizing fasciitis, that it had eaten its way through my upper right
thigh..and they were worried about organ failure. They scheduled me
for surgery and put me into a drug induced coma....they pumped my stomach...put
me on a respirator...put a main line in my chest and pumped me full
of antibiotics. I was taken to surgery where they made several deep
cuts into my leg.
In all, I had 12 surgeries.
After 19 days, they woke me up and took me off the respirator. I woke
up not knowing where I was, what was going on. I was in a great deal
of discomfort, and I looked down at my leg. It was covered in a black
spongey type of material, and it was attached to a machine which appeared
to be sucking liquid out of my leg. The doctors came in and explained
everything. The machine attached to my leg was a KCI Wound Vac...this
is what ended up saving my life and my limb. I stayed in ICU for 5 additional
days before they moved me to a regular room, where I continued to be
attached to the wound vac. Every other day they would do dressing changes
which were EXTREMELY painful as they had sponge packed tight into the
tunnels they had made in my leg. When they pulled them out, it felt
like they were holding a match up to my skin.
I still had not attempted to walk, and could not move my leg. Physical
therapy came down and forced me out of bed...and I walked for the first
time. It was rough...I had almost no muscle in my right leg, so my foot
dragged behind me as I walked down the hall, but I was doing it!! Every
day I got better, walking further and further. The doctors were amazed
at my recovery. I had not only survived one of the worst cases they
had seen, but I had also kept my limb and was WALKING!
They kept me in the hospital until November 23, 2004. Forty LONG days.
My mom, who had been here the entire time, was taught how to do dressing
changes. I have a large skinless wound that will eventually require
a skin graft, and several other wounds which will need to be sewn shut.
I was so ready to go home.
Now that I am home, the pain is bad, but I'm so happy to have my life
and my leg. I had such wonderful doctors, and luckily they knew what
was wrong with me the moment I was taken in. I have to go through several
follow up appointments, and more surgeries, but I'm ready for it!! Reading
all these stories has given me the hope and support I have needed. I
hope my story helps as well.
UPDATE January 6, 2005:
After several follow up visits to my plastic surgeon, he has
decided that my wounds are going to close themselves and I will not
need skin grafts!!! I was so excited to hear this! I am doing VERY well..the
pain lessens with every day..I am walking almost normal, no need for
my quad cain any more! Dave and I plan on getting married the end of
April. Life does indeed go on! Thank you everyone, for all of your emails.
This site has helped me more than anything else!