Mohammed Zuhair

Editor's Note: Mohammed Zuhair is from Doha in Qatar. Here is his story of NF survival in his own words. It was small infection, very small so that I didn't care at the beginning, I remember it was Tuesday June 27, 2000 when I felt it. I tried to squeeze it (as I used to do in similar cases) but nothing came out of it. Second day it was changed to little bit larger but flat, in the morning I was feeling that something wrong in my body, it was not in that infected location, but pain in all my body, afternoon I went to the infirmary in the Plant where I work, the nurse could not believe that all of this pain is due to that small infection, he gave antibiotic capsules and Paracitamol (pain killer), he permitted me to have a sick leave tomorrow if pain continue.Thursday June 29, 2000, pain was increasing but I said to my wife that I'll complete the antibiotic course to get the infection out. Friday June 30th, I became a fever, unusual pain, too cold along the day, in the afternoon I went to Health Care Center near to my house, the doctor asked to check Sugar in blood as I'm Diabetic, it was strange to the Nurse that the test machine could not measure it, Sugar in my blood was higher that the maximum the machine can count, I understood that it is due to the infection, Doctor gave me a stronger antibiotic (Augmantine) and asked me to start using Insulin (Humulin) instead of Tablets, in addition he gave me Glycerin to apply it on the infection. I followed Doctor instructions for the rest of the day and applied the Glycerin at night. That night I couldn't sleep, pain killer was useless, I had Distalgisic but pain was increasing. Saturday July 1st, the infected area was too large and thick like a balloon, the area where I covered with Glycerin was completely inflated and was too high, pain was killing me, I had to drive for 45 KM to rach the E&A in Hamad General Hospital (it is the central Hospital in State of Qatar), I was there about 08:00AM, for five hours, I was examined by seven specialists in the Emergency Department, the infected area was examined with Ultrasound, the report was thickness in Skin. The seventh Doctor was watching his colleague while hw was checking the infected area which was rapidly increasing, when he said "It is a bacteria eating the fat under your skin, we call it life saving operation" I was quite so that I didn't feel that he was talking about me, my response was "I'm believer, I trust my God, thanks for God for every thing". He continued "don't worry, later we will replace the removed skin by skin grafting operation". I didn't comment on his words with more than "thanks for God". I was admitted to the Hospital for operation which will be tomorrow. In the Ward they started with injecting antibiotic and insulin (I.V.). What is this bacteria which is eating fat under skin? It is new to me, I did not till my brother who joined me since I reached the Hospital, even my wife and kids were not tolled about this bacteria, I didn't want to disturb them. Sunday July 2nd, at noon I was taken to Theatre that what I remember before operation start, my wife was waiting with my brother in my room to see me after operation. It was late afternoon when my Company's Doctor came from Cairo (Egypt), he was told about me so he came directly to the Hospital before he go home, he found my family waiting in the room, it was about four hours since I left to the theater!! Doctor went to check with Nurses at the Ward Counter, his face was changed while he was coming back, he tried mot to frighten my wife so he told here that I was taken to SICU for a while because it is a painful infection and need to keep me sleeping for few hours more. She didn't new how could she reach the SICU area, until that moment picture was not clear to my family, no one other than Dr. Salah Head of Medical Section in our company was having any idea about what is going on, he tried to make things easier to my wife and family, but his face was not clear, so, she felt that something wrong but kept silent. Next day, they were told about the situation, Dr. Ahmad Beestoni (the Specialist who could remove all the infected skin) have summarized the status to my family, he said that he –with his group- doing their best to kill the Bacteria which is now in my blood. "No promises, but it is a battle between us and this Bacteria, pray for hem" Dr. Ahmad said. My wife had to stay in waiting room, she kept reading the Holly Quran and praying while she was crying, she couldn't stop her tears in front of my family members and friends. Later she told me that few weeks before this trouble she was reading a special text to be said while praying for a sick person. She said that she was saying this phrase all time day and night by heart, she didn't need to se the book where it was written. In the afternoon, they allowed my brother, wife and daughter to access my room just to see me, I was awakened to see them, I don't remember that!! My mouth was covered with Oxygen musk, couple of Hoses were passing through it to my lungs. I asked (by signal) to have something for writing, my daughter came with a notebook and pen close to me, I wrote "I'm confident" then asked about Passports and Visas!! Last thing was Dr. Nazeeh. It was summer vacation for schools, and my annual leave will start after few days, we submitted to have a transit visa to pass through Saudi Arabia going to Egypt, I was not feeling that our trip by Car will be cancelled!! Dr. Nazeeh which I was asking for is my close friend, I new that my case is out of his concerned but he is friend of me since we were childes at school!! What I remember is that one day I opened my eyes and saw Dr. Nazeeh in front of my bed, he was trying to stop his tears before he leave my room, I smiled to hem, he came closer to me, didn't say anything but it was clear to me, darkness in his face. That night Dr. Nazeeh called my brother after midnight to get my wife and kids to the Hospital to pass the last look, he said "You might not wait to the morning, he is dying!! Bacteria in his blood and they failed to fighting it, it matter of few hours". My brother was more confident, he refused to do and wait to the morning but praying. In the morning, it was the first time for me to open my eyes normally, there was a male nurse in my room, "Al Salamualaykom wa rahmatullah – in Arabic - (peace of God upon you and his mercy)" it was the first thing I say to the Nurse, "what time is it?" he was laughing when he said "say what day is it, it is Wednesday" I have to count, Operation was Monday, that means I was sleeping for three days, why? "it was painful, that's why we kept you sleeping, don't worry it's OK now" he commented, "alhamdu lellah (thanks for God)". My hands were tied to the bed, as the Nurse found me calm, he agreed to untie my hands. Mahdiyah (my wife) called, Nurse permitted me to reply the phone call!! She was crying on the telephone, she couldn't believe that is talking to me, she said that she is coming now, I told here not to come as it is late at night, it was 10 O'clock, I didn't new that it is still morning. New Nurse in the second shift told me that it was too difficult for them to clean my body, Bacteria was so strong and they had to fight it moment to moment, but now everything is controlled, Dr. Ahmad has win the battle and killed all of its troops. He said "Dr. Ahmad was following my case every hour day and night, he kept the wound opened and under cleaning regularly, he used a huge volume of Antibiotic in I.V. in his battle, it was matter of live or die for hem". Visit in SICU was not permitted, close family members were allowed to watch me through the closed window, my wife was allowed to enter but far from me for few seconds only. They used to take samples for Culture in Labs every day, last results were "NEGATIVE", it is over for the battle with the Bacteria. In the same room I used to listen to a Female voice, I thought that they are using the other part of the room (behind the curtain) for other patients dressing, till I was tolled by the Tunisian Nurse that my partner in the room is a young Egyptian lady, she had the same infection in her leg, he was sad while he was telling me that they were obliged to cut her leg as it was late to discover the Bacteria. It was fifth day when Dr. Ahmad transferred me to the Ward, at the beginning I was kept in a common 4 beds room, it was full, stuffed with visitors all times, I could not sleep, pain was killing me, no more Morphine, I have to be patient. I preferred to suffer rather than depending on pain killer. Dressing was conducted during first three days by Dr. Ahmad himself, he wanted to make sure that everything is under his control, checking my file personally, he was so kind. One day he told me how it was so bad to me "53 years old patient with Diabetic and overweight", all reasons to make his life difficult. Fourth day in the Ward I could arrange for moving to a private room at my cost, I could sleep that night, Nurses learned how to make dressing according to Dr. Ahmad instructions, I was watching them and controlling the application of the protocol written by Dr. Ahmad, they were so kind with me in the Hospital. July 15, 2000 The day to leave Hamad General Hospital going to Rumaila Hospital for Plastic Surgery, everybody was happy to see this change, for all, it was a step to out of danger, we were thinking that it is matter of few days and I'll be at home!! I was received by the Plastic Surgery Specialist (Dr. Khalid), he examined the area where skin was removed and commented that it is not an easy operation, "I do not promise you to pot you back as you were before the infection, but I'll do my best to ease your life". Dr. Khalid changed the dressing protocol as preparation for the Plastic Surgery, he wanted to make sure that skin around is perfect and there is no Fungus at all. He tolled me that my body is recovering, and wound is heeling, we have to wait for some days so that the area needs to be covered will be smaller. One week later I was taken to the Theater for Skin Grafting, it was a complicated operation to cover sensitive area needs special skin but using a thin layer of skin has been taken from my left leg. August 3, 2000 Going back to home, I didn't believe that I'll see my house again, I'm believer, and with God I trust. Dr. Salah Mousa Head of Medical Section in our company and my neighbor gave me special care, he insisted to have the dressing at home by the company's Nurse, I discovered that Mr. Saleh (the Nurse) used to work for long time in ICU before joining our company, I was so lucky. 15 days later, I was able to travel to Cairo – Egypt for one month vacation, my family and myself were indeed in need for it. In Cairo I went to a famous Professor Specialized in Plastic Surgery for checking my operation and follow up the dressing, he was astonished when he saw it "Who is the doctor which conducted this operation?" he wondered, " an Iraqi Consultant in State of Qatar… WHY?!!" I replied, "in Qatar! As you are Jordanian, I thought that it was in Jordan, I want to congratulate hem .. you had the best could be done for you" he continued "nothing can be done other than dressing for the time being" your body needs 6-10 months to be stable, after that we can see if you need some touches if any. When we came back to Qatar, I asked about the Egyptian lady (my partner in SICU), my brother tolled me that they could not save her, she died after I left the Hospital. After 6 months, I needed a small corrective operation which was carried out by Dr. Khalid.At last: Thanks for God first, thanks for that Specialist who discovered my case in E&A (the seventh Doctor), Thanks for "Field Marshal" Dr. Ahmad Beestoni (and his Surgical Group), who could lead the battle with Necrotizing Fasciitis the killing Bacteria which was not in my Dictionary before July 2nd, 2000, thanks for Nursing staff in Hamad General Hospital for the special care. Thanks for Dr. Khalid, his group and Nursing staff in Rumaila Hospital who could pot me back to the road. Thanks for Dr. Salah Mousa and Mr. Saleh for the special care they provided to me after leaving the Hospital. Thank you for creating this wonderful and useful Web Site, where I learned about my case and gave the power to go back to the normal life after I compared my case with other cases.