Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flesh Eating Bacteria Story (III) - the end

As we went to see Dr. Geideman 1 week after the initial surgery, Jacob was not feeling great. There was a spot on his foot that was mushy, red, inflamed and looking off. As soon as the Dr. saw it he asked Jacob when he ate last. (The dooming question!) Breakfast about an hour before. The Dr. instructed us to go straight to the hospital. "Do not stop for anything, go straight there. I will check you in from my office here and you will be sent straight to a room. We will have surgery tonight." he said. Jacob and I just looked at each other. OK. what are we supposed to say?

Off we went to check back in to the hospital. Round 2 upon us. We don't know what to expect really.

By 6pm that evening, Jacob was in surgery again. This time I was starting to worry around 8pm because he was not back to the room yet. I thought something had gone drastically wrong. Just then he was wheeled back into the room. Nothing had gone drastically wrong, though he had a harder time with the anesthesia this time around.

As soon as the nurse locked his bed wheels, I said I need to see his foot. And he sat up, and was frantically trying to find his foot.  We pulled the covers back, and I just broke into tears which I tried SO hard to hold back.

There was a chunk of his foot gone. From the bed of his toes to about 1 inch below his ankle and 1 inch deep. It looked like the Dr. just took an ice cream scooper to it.  He had a contraption called a Wound Vac in place. This thing was supposed to heal the wound from the inside out. Very expensive therapy, but well worth it as it did not leave Jacob with a huge divot in his foot after the fact!

The next day the Dr. came to visit. He said to Jacob, "you can get up and walk around whenever you want to now." So Jacob asked him if he could right then. And he did. After 3 weeks of not being able to walk at all, Jacob stood up with half his foot missing and walked just fine with little to no pain. How was this even possible I thought. But the wound vac relieves all pressure that would have been there with swelling and bandages.
Jacob was discharged 4 days later (if i messed up, this stay was 6 days total) because we were waiting for approval from insurance to take this machine home. (It cost $25,000 for the one in the hospital...yes you read that correctly, Twenty-five THOUSAND....the one we would be allowed to take home was $200 per day plus supplies that you changed every other day.)

We came home and had home health care nurses for several weeks. Jacob saw the Dr. in office 1 day each week until they allowed him to go back to work. He was out of work since March 6th! He returned to work full time around Memorial Day. (the week prior, I believe)

Today, Jacob's foot is 99% healed. He has no feeling in bits of the top of his foot. There is one HUGE nasty looking scar that will get better with time, and his foot is discolored that will probably not change back to normal. He has limited mobility in his 4 toes, but it has not changed his gait at all.

There are SO many things to be thankful for in this whole process! I am going to save most of those for another blog post. But the one i am MOST grateful for is that God chose to spare Jacob's life and his limb. The Dr. confirmed that is we had waited even til later in the day to come to the hospital, he would not have been so fortunate! Really makes you take a look and really know what is important to you when one day out of nowhere your husband is laying in a hospital bed as his body is attacked by an invisible demon and all you can do is wait as the Drs make the best guesses they can til they can prove something. We are so thankful to God for giving us Dr. Geideman. Had we listened to the first Dr. we also would not be so fortunate because he was certain Jacob needed no surgery.

Following are the rest of the pictures that I have. Some are pretty gruesome, use discression when viewing around squeamish people or small children! Thank you!!
The black area is all dead flesh, no skin. The creamy yellow is flesh that is falling off as it is dying. All the weird looking skin that looks somewhat "laying loosely" is where blistering  was occurring and then draining when we did bandage changes. You can't see the depth in these pictures as they are 2D, but maybe you should be glad and just take my word for it that these are deep wounds.

just out of surgery. though this looks bad, it is actually looking very good. what you see that looks "meaty" in this picture is just a white sponge that was stuffed down into the foot. The hose has a constant suction that also vacuums any drainage into a bag Jacob carried like a purse.

Without bandages 2 days after surgery. the white that you can see are the tendons. When Jacob would move his toes, you could CLEARLY see how tendons work like cables. I find it fascinating, though I am sure disgusting to many!

Again, the white are the tendons. Who knew you had THIS much room to cut anything off the top of the foot!

Black sponges to go home. these are more painful to remove, but make the healing process a bit quicker!
When the sponges and vac were removed 3x a week, I could not help but shed tears each time. It was SO painful for Jacob. I have never seen him in pain like that. He would shake in agony and scream out in torment. I am SO thankful this is behind us; I hope to NEVER see that kind of pain again!

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