Gerry Kriner
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I came across this website in a time of need to educate myself on NF, only hearing of it briefly on a TV show a very long time ago, and never expecting it to become a part of my family's life. On July 3rd, 2005, my husband and I received a phone call from my son saying he was in the hospital. He was highly medicated and hard to understand, and was saying he was there to have his gallbladder removed. His nurse got on the phone with me and asked if we could get there immediately, that he was going in for emergency surgery and that it was not his gallbladder. The doctors had mentioned a possible gallbladder attack because of the area of pain. My son had severe pain in his right side and had been running a fever of 103 for the first couple days. By the 3rd day the pain was so severe and his right side was red and swollen and very hot to the touch. It was spreading down his right leg and his temperature hit 104. Never did I think the nurse was about to tell me that my son, Gerry, had necrotizing fasciitis. I had to ask her to please explain what that was and it wasn't until she said the words "Flesh Eating Disease" that I realized what was wrong with my son. Even hearing her tell me and explain it to me, I still did not want to believe that was what was wrong with my son. It was a 3 hour drive for his dad and I to the hospital he was in (UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh). We arrived there at 2 a.m. and told where we could find our son. It was then that I realized how serious and true this was. Our son was in ICU on a ventilator and had already gone through his first surgery. We were greeted by Gerry's nurses, who continued to educate us on this disease, and also cried with us knowing more then his dad and I at the time what the chance of our son's survival may be. On July 5th our son had his 2nd surgery. The surgeon called us to another room which scared us, because the other surgeons were speaking to the families right there in the waiting room. He drew us a diagram of our son's surgery and explained that it had spread further and was spreading very fast. I asked the question that no parent wants to ask, "is my son going to make it?" All he would say was that we have a very sick boy and to pray, as he left us in that small room and hardly made eye contact knowing what he was trying to tell us. We sat there in shock for a few minutes and cried not knowing what to say or do. We immediately went back to his room, hardly ever leaving his side, unless we were asked to leave. For the next several days our son remained in ICU on the ventilator, and with so many surgeons and CDC doctors surrounding him. While we are 3 hours away from home with our son fighting for his life, my husband's father was back home also fighting for his. We knew we couldn't leave our son's side and the family understood. I am very sad to say that on July 6th my husband lost his dad, and my son did not know he just lost his grampa. My husband had to leave for a couple days to say goodbye to his dad, and at the same time was afraid that while he was gone that he would lose his son. The same day my husband was leaving for home, they took our son off the ventilator, which made it easier for him to go, knowing Gerry was doing somewhat better. He still had several surgeries to go through, and still wasn't out of danger. He still had a very high fever, and his blood pressure was very low, and they were afraid it would go into his blood stream. He was on so much pain medication and the hallucinations were bad. My son was cut from his upper right chest area to his groin, and was left wide open for the first 3 weeks for cleaning and of course surgeries. His private area was also attacked by this horrible disease and needed to have reconstructive surgery. On his 19th day they put in a vacuum pump in his right side which remained there for a couple days. When it was removed they stapled his side up with many many staples. He remained in the hospital for a few more days with the doctors and nurses telling him and us, how lucky he was to be alive. My son is 23 and they said his age was what helped him get through this with being young. I have read almost all of the stories on this website and know what the families have gone through, and my heart goes out to those that have lost loved ones to this horrible disease. I want to dedicate this to my son Gerry, and his grandpa Sonny. So many people have told us that Gerry and his grandpa were entering heaven together, but that his grandpa told him to come back to us. Sonny died July 6th and our son came back to us on the July 7th. Thank you Sonny we miss you and love you, and to our son Gerry, we love you with all our hearts, and are so thankful that you are here with us. All our love mom and dad.