Deb Bruce

After skinning my leg on our new swimming pool August 2011, I thought nothing of it. I coated the scrape with Neosporin and went to a family party the next day. Four days later I felt achy and thought I had a bug that was going around. I did have a bug-- a deadly flesh eating bacteria -- Strep A. I was found by my son two days later on the kitchen floor. He called 911 and I was admitted to Northside Hospital's ICU. My blood pressure was 80/40 and my leg was violet. I remember the surgeon asking to pray with me and saying, "You could lose your leg.. And maybe your life." I went down during the debridement surgery. I was intubated and connected to a ventilator. Then my organs started to fail and the critical care doctors told my children to "call the family...your mother has a 5 percent chance of living.". I knew nothing about this. I was so drugged out and hallucinating. I thought I was in a townhouse in Miami and I had a Buddhist monk for a nurse. Unknown to me, the leg was so infected that the surgeons left it open and continued to scape away dead tissue each day--from my foot to my upper thigh. After 3 weeks in the ICU, I was moved to a regular room. The ICU docs came to see me and said "Deb, you are a miracle. You should not be here.". I had no idea what they meant until I saw my leg, which looked like a huge shark had bitten holes in it. I stayed in the hospital almost two months having numerous debridement surgeries and connected to a wound vac. I went home in a wheelchair, unable to walk or stand. I continued to have surgical procedures for two more months. Eight months later, I am back to work, extremely active and able to do what I want. Still I must take precautions with my leg by wearing special compression hose all day and elevating it at night. Healthy my entire life, this super bug caught me off guard...and I never want to experience anything like this again--ever!