Olle Frodin
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My name is Olle and I'm from Sweden. So you'll have to excuse me for my bad English... :) I'm 34 years old...or young. I survived NF three years ago but I haven't managed to post my story here until now. I worked as a welder and as you may know that's pretty heavy work! In 2001, I started getting a pain in my right elbow and shoulder from the heavy and monotone job. I didn't work at all from Oct. '01 and forward. I got ill at the beginning of March '02, while I still was home from work. I got a sore throat and fever. By the 19th of March, I felt really bad. My arm was hurting badly and I also got the stomach flu (at least that's what I thought it was) and I threw up and had the diarrhea. On the morning of March 20th, I called my mom and she picked me up and drove me to the ER. I actually don't remember any of this...my folks have told me about it. At the local hospital they thought I had just pulled a muscle, or maybe it was a blood clot? When I started getting even worse later in the evening they decided to send me to a bigger hospital a few miles away. When I got there my blood pressure was VERY low and my temperature was also very low! My arm was swollen and some black and blue marks had appeared on my elbow. Luckily a doctor realized what it might be that caused this. The day after I got there (March 21) a surgeon opened my arm and tried to remove all the dead tissue. But he realized that it was too late. He decided to amputate my arm by the shoulder to save my life. They kept the wound open and cleaned it several times a day. Two days after the amputation they discovered some black tissue in the wound. They thought that they couldn't handle this anymore, so they put me in a helicopter and flew me to an even bigger hospital. It was a very risky flight. The had to remove some of the machinery that kept me alive because it couldn't work on the bumpy helicopter ride. So my family was told to say goodbye to me in case I didn't make it to the other hospital... As you may have understood...I survived that flight! When I got to the other hospital a surgeon cut off a big piece of me...on the side of my chest. After a few days of waiting, they decided that it was okay to start fixing those big holes where my arm had been. They took skin from my right thigh and closed the incisions. I was heavily sedated and slept for two weeks. During that time I had a lot of weird dreams...and they got worse when the docs started cutting down on the morphine! I was addicted to it! Now I know what it feels like for a drug addict during rehab...I stayed at the hospital for 6 weeks total. Everyone treated me nice, and I thank all the docs and nurses for saving my life! They did an excellent job! It wasn't fun waking up and have to realize that I now was missing an arm! But after a while I felt glad that I'd survived this horrible thing called NF! Losing an arm was a low price to pay! My worst nightmare is that I would have ended up being a "vegetable" with brain damage...and it was actually quite close that it would've ended that way! It's been 3 years since this happened...and so far my life has turned out very well! My girlfriend moved in with me after I got home from the hospital, and we still live together! We have a beautiful house, and a bunch of cats. I don't have a job at the moment...that's the only sad part. It's hard to find a job that will be easy to do with just one arm! I had a job for a year in a hardware store, but they ran out of money so I had to go. :( Mentally I'm doing OK...I miss my old life with two arms of course, but I'm glad to be alive! And in some ways I'm happier now than ever! Physically I'm perfect! :) A big ugly scar, and phantom pain is all I have to deal with for the rest of my life! And probably back problems from being lighter on my right side. An arm weighs a few kilos, so losing that weight makes a difference for my balance.