This is Tony’s story…
My name is Carole and I was married to Tony for 26 years. Sadly, he is not alive to tell this story, and as I was not with him throughout this ordeal, I will attempt to do so to the best of my ability. As it happened far away, events may have differed without my knowing it.
Tony did furniture removals, often from England to France, where we have a house. On 3rd July 2008, he picked up a load from London, destined for Lyon to be delivered on Monday 7th July. He then travelled down with two loaders to Cannes to pick up a return load on Wednesday 9th July.
He sustained a cut on his right arm while loading in London, but this was quite common and did not give any cause for alarm, although I did notice it had happened. He caught the evening ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe on Friday 4th July.
On Saturday evening he rang from our house in France to say that he had been sick – but again no cause for alarm, possible food poisoning (or so he believed) from a French meal.
They all left on Sunday 8th July for Lyon and the unloading took place on Monday as planned. I believe the sickness was still taking place, which I now know is an early sign of NF. Apparently, he managed to work on this job, but was still plagued by nausea. By Tuesday, Tony was not well enough to drive the lorry and lay in the back, as it was now empty, whilst someone else drove. He still felt he had food poisoning, as the symptoms were the same with some dehydration and lowering of blood pressure.
The first I knew of any problem was when the client phoned to say the lorry had not arrived at the arranged time on Wednesday 9th July. When they got there, Tony got out of the lorry and collapsed. He was taken by ambulance to Grasse Hospital but as they had no intensive care unit, he had to be transferred to Cannes. At midnight, he suffered a heart attack as the toxins had invaded the body during the preceding days and his system closed down and he died. The post-mortem in England stated the cause of death to be systemic sepsis and necrotising fasciitis to the right forearm.
I obviously find it hard to accept that no attempt was made to check out his condition at any time during this journey – by any body – but men being men, they do not like to show any sign of weakness. He certainly did not think that he was so ill. If he had sought treatment would anyone have known the cause of his illness and even if they had, could he have been saved?
Sadly, these are questions that can never be answered, but I write this story, to tell the world that there is a bacteria – that those of us that are affected know about – that CAN kill in such a short space of time, if no treatment is sought, and in such a dreadful and aggressive way. The death of my husband is a case in kind.
Perhaps we can all learn from this tragedy – I do hope so.