Scott Fitzpatrick
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I'm sitting in the hospital thinking of how lucky I am to be alive. I found the NNFF site because I know another survivor, Bill Reilly. They are going to discharge me in a few days. I'm off the IV antibiotics and now on just dealing with the wound vac. January 9th, 2009 My story: Dec 23rd 2008, I feel a small pain in my left leg. I think it must be a little spider bite since it didn't look like a pimple or ingrown hair. Not sure at this point what exactly caused the break in my skin. The sore begins to grow until I get to Dec 27 and 28 and now I've got a small circle of red about 2 inches in diameter. But, there's an attached area that is not red on the skin, but painful to the touch. This area was about the size of my palm and spread out above the red circle. Very painful at this point. And, this mass was getting very firm and there was quite a bit of heat being generated. Sunday Dec 28th, I ended up going to a local emergency care clinic about 5:30pm. The doctor there noted the original "bite" area was starting to drain. He prescribed Bactrim DS (standard dose 2x daily). In retrospect, I'm 6'4" and 300 lbs. I needed a larger dose. Monday Dec 29th, I began to run a fever and went to the local emergency room recognizing the fever was linked to the leg. The docs there gave me a shot of demeral and some local lidocaine. They attempted to drain the wound. There was quite a bit of blood, pus and detriment drained. I now can say I owe the Physicians' Assistant my life. Before I left, he took out a Sharpie permanent marker and marked the red circle on my leg. He told me if the redness rose towards my hip and crossed this line, get back to the hospital. Wed Dec 31st, I woke up and my wife discovered that the redness had indeed crossed the line. I went directly to the ER once again and was admitted. Thursday Jan 1st, 2009, I had my first of two surgeries. My local Family Practice doc brought in our area's best surgeon. The initial surgery left me with a gaping wound in my leg roughly six inches long. The surgeon thought he had it cleaned out, but warned me we might have another surgery. He made a point to let me know that if it kept up, we might have to take off my leg. It was this day that the "staph" infection was correctly identified as a combination of staph and strep. Last thing he did was pull out his own Sharpie and remark the redness on my thigh. Friday Jan 2nd, my surgeon came back in and discovered the redness was still progressing much to my denial. 2nd surgery immediately that afternoon/evening. Following my surgery, I was transferred across town to a more appropriate hospital which featured a hyperbaric treatment center. Saturday Jan 3rd, I wake up across town and get my first hyperbaric treatment that morning. I was starting to panic a bit at that point. My wife was hanging on tightly, but she was starting to panic as well. My sister accompanied me to my first of four hyperbaric treatments. It was surreal. As I entered the chamber, I was scared and lonely. I had family nearby but I just prayed to God to let me have peace and heal my body. It turns out my sister was sitting outside the chamber praying for my peace and my recovery. Within 10 minutes of the 2 hour treatment, I was feeling noticeable relief in my leg wound and feeling peace in my soul. Prayer works. Powerful stuff. While in the chamber, our local infectious disease specialist had just flown back into town and came to my aid immediately. Another stroke of good luck as he was not supposed to come back until Monday. Later that day, I was back in my room and woke up from a nap to find that I was bleeding out the wound packing and I was bleeding a lot. My blood pressure dropped to 60/40. The nursing staff helped bring up my blood volume and my BP along with it. It was a fluke that I woke up and found this blood myself. It was shielded quite well from those that were sitting on my right. Side note: the hyperbaric treatment took me in at 100% Oxygen and 2.5 atmosphere's of pressure. It was similar to having your ears pop in an airplane. I have since learned that the pure Oxygen kills the Strep bacteria. So, not only was the Oxygen helping the wound from the outside, my own bloodstream became super oxygenated. Furthermore, the pressure forced much of the edema from my leg. All that liquid contained blood and pus and helped drain my leg of the bad guys. I continued this therapy for four straight days. As the next several days went by, my hyperbaric treatments continued and my strength grew. As of tonight, Friday January 9th, I have been taken off IV antibiotics and have switched over to oral antibiotics. My leg wound has been on a wound vacuum for three days now. I am feeling much better, incredibly lucky and blessed by God. I would not be here if not for an incredible medical team and family that did not leave my side. I had a lot of "angels" watching out for me and I'll thank God forever for his guidance of their actions. I am scheduled to leave the hospital in the next few days, taking home a portable wound vac that I'm told I'll likely have to use for another 6 weeks. I have an incredible number of people praying for me all across the country. At last guess, about 5000 folks. Prayer works. I'm typing this email from my hospital bed because of prayer and a gracious Heavenly Father that was not ready to call me home. I guess I'm a slow learner. :) UPDATE: December 2009 Hi, wanted to post a follow up and tell everyone how things went. After I was discharged, I kept a wound vac on for several months. I had fantastic outpatient care from the wound pros at the hospital. I didn't have to do any more hyperbaric treatments. But, the wound vac just sucked me back together. In the process, it gets rid of the effluent discharge (the stinky stuff) and it also provides a negative pressure that makes it difficult for bacteria to live. So, after months of healing, I opted to skip the skin graft. I have a pretty nasty scar on my leg, but the logic of going in and having skin removed from one part to help the other part, left me feeling that two wounds were not better than one. So I skipped it. Even though that skin is weak, I've not had any issues and I'm quite active. started feeling so good, I went from walking to jogging and proceeded to tear both my meniscus in my left knee. So, another surgery. Same leg. Poor leg needs to stay away from any more hospitals. So, it's almost my Dec31 anniversary of surviving one year and I've never felt better. I'm taking over my own healthcare and trying some new treatments to help me feel my best. As a 48 year old male, I had my hormones checked and found several issues. I'm taking thyroid meds as well as testosterone. Even though I am overweight, I started feeling more energy. Then I had a sleep study and was prescribed a bi-pap breathing machine. Now I'm feeling even better each morning with more energy. Take charge of your health! My wife and I have and we're really feeling blessed to have finally figured out a few things. Peace. Scott