Douglas Frazier

I just stumbled upon the NNFF site today. I wish I had found this site during my experience as it would have answered so many questions. I was amazed by the stories from other people — most are very similar, but some were not as lucky as me. I am sad to read about people losing their lives. I am truly lucky to have survived and be relatively normal today. So, of course I need to share my story: In the early hours of a Sunday morning, I accidentally ran into the bedpost in the dark on my way to the bathroom. Later that day I was sore. By Monday, I was very swollen, so I saw my doctor that afternoon. He told me I had a bruise AND an infection, which I found odd because I had not broken the skin. He put me on antibiotics, told me to apply warm compresses and set an appointment to see him again in two days. Just hours later, I was in excruciating pain. By Tuesday morning, the pain had resolved but I now had dark bruises and black spots in the swollen areas. I called the doctor's office and told me I had an appointment scheduled in 24 hours and that I should just wait. I explained my pain and the black spots — of course they let me drive right over. The doctor took one look at me and his manner became very serious. He explained that my infection had progressed to gangrene. He told me the pain was gone because the bacteria was now killing the tissue and eating me alive. The injured area had provided a hospitable environment for a strep virus to settle and become necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria). I could lose my legs or die if they did not move quickly to remove the infected areas. I was blown away. My wife was terrified. He scheduled me for emergency surgery and I was rushed within hours into the operating room — just 31 hours since the initial injury. I had an entire team of infectious disease specialists, a plastic surgeon and, because the infection had also spread to my male organs, a urologist working my case. During my first surgery, about a pound of surface and subcutaneous tissue were removed. The wounds were left open for weeks to allow oxygen to help the antibiotics kill the strep virus. I spent a combined time of three weeks over three months in the hospital with powerful IV antibiotics, multiple surgeries, a secondary infection and skin grafts to move tissue from my leg to replace what had been removed. I left the hospital for the last time on Christmas Eve. This was such a mind blowing experience, the serious nature of it all took weeks to become a reality to me. I had never broken the skin, and had never even had step throat as a kid. My docs said it was a one in a million occurrence to happen that way and that I was lucky to have addressed it so quickly with a no more serious outcome. Today I have some nasty scars and some reduced function, but I am happy to be alive and thankful for the support of friends and family. I am also truly indebted to the doctors who quickly assessed my situation and took immediate action to save me from a more dire outcome. Douglas Frazier