I fell in love with the most remarkable man in the world and we got married on the 5th June 2004. While on honeymoon I conceived our first child – we were thrilled and overjoyed. After a small complicated pregnancy our daughter Chloe was born by emergency c – section on the 14th April 2005. 2 days after the birth I was discharged from the hospital and within a few days I noticed what was diagnosed as a ‘bruised area’ appeared above my c-section wound.
A few more days passed and a Doctor called to see me. He prescribed antibiotics, which I took immediately, and that night I felt a popping sensation, puss and a foul smelling fluid leaked everywhere. My husband called in the midwife and I was re-admitted into hospital. Immediately on admission I was assessed, assessed and assessed and eventually transferred to high dependency unit. I was put on more antibiotics and fluids and given 24 hr care, but still we did not know what was going on.
I was then transferred to a normal ward only in a side room isolated from everyone. I got worse progressively day by day and it was decided that I needed a second opinion. A specialised Doctor from a nearby hospital came and he was shocked at what he had discovered.
I had the killer flesh eating bacteria Necrotising Fasciitis.
I was transferred immediately by ambulance to his operating theatre and within 30 minutes I was in the operating theatre. On coming round I found myself in intensive therapy unit lying beside many on ventilators etc; I watched as two patients died and as the families came and went as they grieved for their loved ones. I often thought when was my time?
On being assessed by the Doctor the following morning I found out that I had an open wound and was in shock. It was 18 inches long and the depth and the width was beyond belief. What was going on?
I was soon transferred back to the maternity hospital so my daughter Chloe could have daily access and contact, not that I was in a fit state to care or look after her. I often felt isolated and alone but when Chloe came to visit it brightened up my day, it gave me a reason to live on. I was again transferred to another nearby hospital to a specialist plastic surgery unit. I underwent three more operations to try and contain the infection from spreading. Chloe was given daily access and that was most important to me at this time. I became depressed and longed to be at home with my beautiful baby daughter. But that day seemed to be so far away.
Then the news came that I was going to be attached to a relatively new device called a vac machine, supplied by KCI. This machine took away all unnecessary body fluid and encouraged the wound to heal from the inside outwards. I was then given the exciting news that I could go home. I was so ill and frail to look after Chloe on my own and Marc used all his work leave possible, so I had to stay with my parents just to have Chloe around 24 hrs a day. It was great but life still remained challenging. District nurses came and went daily and I had regular hospital visits. The district nurses came at many different times each day and every day I had to be up and washed and dressed for 8am.
Often still at 2pm I was still waiting and this meant I spent most of my time indoors. Everyday my parents tried to talk to them to come to an agreement so I could try and function somewhat normally, but to no avail. This meant I was becoming more dependent at being indoors and very depressed. The days I could get out I was often to sore or tired to try or to depress.
Eventually 14 months later the wound finally healed. But that was not to be the end of my problems. My wound often cracks and I have to apply antibiotic cream. Without plastic or reconstructive surgery this will continue and I am too afraid to let the surgery take place, as I could not go through NF again.
In August 2006 I eventually moved back to my own property with my husband Marc. But life is still challenging due to the lack of services for mental health, I was not given any help or assistance. I try to keep focused and Chloe is my main focus, only I lost sight of that focus twice and made attempts to take my own life.
I know now that this is not the road I wanted to go down but it was a major cry for help, only no one wanted to help me.
I soon met this remarkable lady who inspired me to campaign for my rights to the services I required and 2 years later they are now in place.
IF I HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN THE SUPPORT OF MARC AND MY CLOSE FAMILY I DO NOT KNOW WHERE LIFE MIGHT HAVE TAKEN ME! I STILL SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY BUT WITH SUPPORT NETWORKS IN PLACE I CAN SEE MYSELF BEGINNING TO RECOVER ALTHOUGH IT IS A SLOW DRAWN OUT PROGRESS.THEY SAY BAD BEGINNINGS HAVE HAPPY ENDINGS, ONLY I AM STILL WAITING ON MY HAPPY ENDING TO COME.
Elaine from Glasgow