In December of 2009, I was the owner of a large volume pack & ship store in Charlotte, NC. P&S stores do around 1/2 of their annual sales volume in the month of Dec., so to say I was busy was an understatement! It was not at all out of the ordinary for me to get ill in December due to the fact that I worked 18+ hours a day, and did not take care of my diabetes well. On Saturday 12/11/2009 I came home early (4pm instead of 11 or 12) because I felt like I had a flu or sinus infection coming on, by Sunday afternoon I had a 103+ fever that would not break with Advil or Tylenol. My wife who is an RN asked me "what else is going on?" to which I replied "I do have this weird spot on my leg that is red and feels super hot", she looked at it, turned to me and with a look that I knew immediately I would not argue with said "We are going to the ER"
We arrived at the ER Sunday afternoon/early evening and we were taken back right away (another perk of being married to a nurse!). They got me hooked up to an IV, did an EKG and got me all wired up. At this point I should mention that I was almost 500 lbs at that time and could not fit in a cat scanner, so they decided that they would do exploratory surgery VERY early the next morning. I should also mention that I have a weird quirk about my temperature, first of all my temp. usually runs lower than average (96.9) and it is near impossible to get an accurate temp in my mouth (under the armpit works, but for maximum accuracy it has to be the "old fashioned way") so it took them a while to determine that I was septic. When the surgeon came in to see me, this was the first time that NF was mentioned and my wife who suspected it could be NF but didn't mention it in front of me because she didn't want to freak me out!! My wife took the surgeon on call out of the room and spoke with him for a few moments and then left to find a better surgeon (she worked in an area of that hospital that had detailed information on the errors and outcomes with each different surgeon), so that is twice in 24 hours that she SAVED MY LIFE!! That is pretty much all I remember until....
December 27th, 2009 which is the day I began waking up from my medically induced coma. I was intubated and all of my muscles had atrophied so I could not speak or even gesture with my hands. My incredible wife who had been by my bedside daily (she had basically set up an office for herself in the ICU) began to explain to me what had happened. It turns out, deep in the fold of fat, deep in my left groin area, I had a BOIL and because of my compromised immune system from diabetes and exhaustion, I got Group A streptococci that attacked and liquified a huge portion of my left groin and on around more than 14 inches to my left hip. I remained in the ICU for another 2 weeks where a wound vac was attached to raise my flesh and minimize wound depth. I was then moved to a long term rehab facility for removal of the Tracheotomy, and to get muscle movement back. I spent just less than a month in that hospital, and finished my rehab/wound care at home. 10 weeks later I was able to go back to work on a limited basis. As a result of my wound and massive nerve damage, I eventually had to close my store and go on disability, I now lay in a hospital (type) bed where I can change from a sitting to a laying position multiple times daily, as I cannot sit, or lie comfortably for more than an hour or two at a time.
In short, I am left with severe damage to my left leg, but I have a left leg. I had no amputations and through the incredible work of my wife and the wound care doctors, I am left with a huge ugly scar, but I did not even have to get a skin graft.I am able to walk short distances with the aid of a walker or 4 point cane, and I can still drive & get my own wheelchair in and out of my truck! All in all, life is good....could be better, but it's good!