A Frightening Experience with Diabetes....

by Tony

I went to the hospital on March 31, 2004. I had a sore on my right hand for nearly a week. It was just a little sore. I treated it every night pouring peroxide over it, watched in bubble like perioxide does, then I rinsed it off and put a bandaid on it. I never gave it much thought really.

One afternoon my wife looked at my arm; she told me my elbow was really swollen big. I hadn't even noticed it. She told me she was worried about it. She wanted me to get ready to go to the emergency room right away. I didn't see what all the fuss was about, it didn't really hurt, well not much, but I agreed to go to the E.R. Acting on her concern and doing so immediately probably saved my life.

We went to the hospital around 2 p.m. Not a long time after getting there I was seen by an E.R. doctor. I took some blood from me and left, not long afterward he came back and told my wife and I he was going to admit me and they were going to prep me for surgery immediately. He said if they worked fast they might be able to save my arm. He said I had necrotizing fasciitis (NECK-ROW-TIES-ZEEN FASH-IT-TIGHT-ISS), more commonly known as "the flesh-eating disease."

Other than the remembrance of a couple of really odd nightmares I don't have any recollection of the events over the course of the next two weeks. They said my condition was serious; they gave me a 20% chance of living; they said they put me into a drug-induced coma for two weeks to give my body a better chance of fighting the infection; they said I had severe systemic sepsis; my lungs, liver, and kidneys had shut down; and they had to cut away 20% of my right arm to remove all of the infection.

My surgeon said I was his miracle patient because there was absolutely nothing going for me. He said the tiny infection on my right hand developed into a severe infection because he determined that I had undiagnosed diabetes for a long time, at least a year, probably a lot longer than that. Yes, later when I learned the symptoms of diabetes (which means "sweet urine"), I knew I had had diabetes for a long time, at least five years, maybe even longer.

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