We had an assignment in my 2 dimensional design class to come up with a non-fiction book cover, which emphasizes the sub-title over everything else. The goal of the exercise was to experiment with visual hierarchy or placing emphasis on the most important elements in a commercial design. I haven’t given up on my goal to write a book-length account of my brawl with NF. This would not be the cover – for one thing, the image is not mine. And, I think I would have a different sub-title and put that second or third in the visual hierarchy. However, I like the title 72 Hours, connected to the image of a ticking clock. As I tell people who wonder if I’m still contagious, “you have 72 hours to kill it or it kills you.” When NF strikes, the clock starts running and you have roughly 3 days to stop the onslaught — after that, it’s over. The bacteria is eliminated or the bacteria and its host both die. So, we’ll see about that book now.
One persistent and annoying condition with my reconstructed leg is the occasional skin ulcer, which will sometimes result from a nick or breakdown in my grafted skin. Over the years, I’ve become an amateur wound care specialist, employing what I learned in the hospital and from reliable resources on the web.
Right now, I have one the size of a quarter on my Achillies tendon and, if this one is like the others I’ve had before, it will take about 6 months to completely close up. So, I will probably use pressure with zinc impregnated gauze, as well as open air now and again. If you have grafted skin as a result of necrotizing fasciitis, a burn or other reconstructive surgery, here are a few helpful links to help you heal.
Do you know of a school, church or other organization that may want to hear the harrowing story of how one man was blind-sided by the flesh-eating bacteria and lived to tell about it? I’ve shared our story a number of times, including an annual gig in science classes at our local middle school during “bacteria week.” More than once I was followed the next day by that gripping video drama, Killer Kitchens. Well, I do that sort of thing and, if I speak to your group, I promise to be clean shaven, appropriately dressed, and I’ll bring a version of the tale that is relevant and engaging. Contact me with any requests or invitations and I’ll see if we can work something out.
I found some forgotten photographs, while going through my files (I’ve put this off for about ten years). Well, I came across this one of me being shaved by someone outside the frame. There’s actually a lot going on in this photo that takes me back to the experience and is probably triggering some symptoms of PTSD right now!
The first thing I noticed is that my sheets are clean and there is a new, baby blue “chuck” on the bed. This tells me that Denise has already given me my sponge bath and they’ve removed the bloody, nasty, filthy sheets – the first of two times they would do that each day, ripping them off open wounds and scattering dead skin and stuff everywhere. Yes, I was a disgusting mess and having a clean bed twice a day was a little bit of heaven – I’m not kidding.
Second, I notice that there is Xeroform dressing stuck to my stomach and open wounds, so I’m probably still having skin grafts done. They really liked the skin on my stomach and right thigh, so they kept coming back for more and the donor sites are a nice, bright, sensitive red. Also, I’ve got a sheet over me, which indicates I’m still open and pretty much naked (humiliated).
Finally, someone else is shaving me, which means my right arm is not working at this time. My shoulder appears to be wasting and I’m beginning to look like a concentration camp survivor. I won’t have the pallid, Auschwitz look for another month or so. A little further down the road, I will be able to drag my right arm onto my chest with my left, prop it up, and shave myself. Yes, those were three of the most memorable months of my life and there may be some life lessons in there for others.
And some newer entries have crept up as well. “Sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis were very rare in previous eras, and, now, it’s not that they’re common, but they’re much more common than they used to be,”
Here’s an informative article, not only for those interested in the diagnosis and treatment of the flesh-eating bacteria, but plenty of other diseases.
Founded in 1997 by two survivors of necrotizing fasciitis, Jacqueline A. Roemmele, of Watchung, New Jersey, and Donna Batdorff of Grand Rapids Michigan.
Together, because of the lack of reliable information regarding the disease, it became their mission to do what they could to fill the void of information and to offer support for other victims and their families. What has since evolved in the past fifteen years of our existence has been truly inspiring and humbling. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, from all over the world, have reached out to the foundation when NF invades their lives. NNFF is the leading source of information available about this deadly disease, and has brought together hundreds of people who find kinship, support, and comfort in each other. They are proud to be fulfilling the foundation’s mission to make a difference in the understanding, awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of necrotizing fasciitis.
Erik Jones joins the ranks of the survivors! It’s always a relief to find a story like his.
“It started suddenly, with a pain in Erik Jones’ upper left leg as he was helping a friend move lumber in May 2012. Then came fever, chills and vomiting… He had necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that attacks connective tissue deep beneath the skin. This tissue, called the fascia, forms a continuous layer around the muscle, so bacteria can speed along it from one part of the body to another. The disease is rare — annually, there are 500 to 1,500 cases in the United States — but it is harrowing. Not only can it turn your skin black, or make it lumpy as bubble-wrap, if left untreated, it can also kill you.”
Overcoming Necrotizing Fasciitis is being overhauled, using WordPress. That means I will be able to blog occasionally and expand the resources we offer to victims of necrotizing fasciitis (the flesh-eating bacteria), as well as their family, friends, students and medical professionals. I’ll be expanding the site over the next month or so, but you can read our story right here. Please stop in and visit often.
“Doctor develops simple treatment for flesh-eating disease” is a headline that will catch your eye, if you’ve ever been through the torturous, almost medieval treatment required to arrest necrotizing fasciitis. It looks as if Dr. John Crew is onto something:
Typically, necrotizing fasciitis is treated with heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics, along with extensive surgery to remove dead tissue.
Crew’s technique keeps the antibiotics but tries to avoid the repeated surgeries. Doctors irrigate wounds from necrotizing fasciitis with a solution of hypochlorous acid that was developed by NovaBay Pharmaceuticals in Emeryville, then drain the wound with a negative-pressure vacuum apparatus.
The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation is working with Dr. Crew to get the word out:
MEDINA, Ohio, June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) today announced a campaign to raise awareness of the tragic inadequacy of the current standard of care for necrotizing fasciitis, or ‘flesh-eating’ infection —and to push for the adoption of new treatments for this deadly condition. “Too many people are losing their lives or their limbs because the current standard of care simply doesn’t work,” said Jacqueline Roemmele, executive director of the NNFF. “But there is a promising new treatment that doctors can adopt.”
Our family lived in Maine between 1993-96 and the Bangor Daily News was always there with more than just news. Check out these tips on how to spot necrotizing fasciitis, if you encounter it.
Necrotizing fasciitis is a severe bacterial infection that spreads rapidly and destroys the body’s soft tissue, such as skin and muscle. The infection can strike randomly. But individuals with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases, are at higher risk.