|Steve Wright's Survivor Story|
I don’t have time tonight to go over the whole story, but I may include the story and details later. I guess I am a survivor because I didn’t have the common symptoms of flu, and didn’t get sent home from the doctor to die at home. My doctor that I saw when the pain was intolerable did send me home telling me to come to ER if the symptoms worsened and he notified the on call doctor. He sent me home with a prescription for an antibiotic and one for Vicodin. Luckily for me (though I hardly thought so at the time), the Vicodin didn’t even touch the pain, which got worse If it had worked and I could have gone to sleep that night, I would have never woken up, because I didn’t know that I had already started into Septic Shock.
I didn’t look at all the people who had signed the guestbook to count them, but I don’t know whether you need anymore sad gory stories about all the details and how that night proceeded. If anyone ever wonders why so few people are familiar with NF, because I contracted it shortly after it had hit the news originally in late 1993. Back then there were survivors on the daytime talk shows……it was in the papers, I think it started out with something like 13 kids in a town in England contracting NF. People were commonly misquoting the knick-name as “The Flesh Eating Virus” (I think “virus” sounds scarier than bacteria). Also, I remember that Jay Leno did jokes in his monologue three nights in a row about it….you don’t do that with something that most people aren’t even aware of (and no slam on Jay Leno for the jokes…..it was new then and nobody realized the devastation of it). The point of this is, when I finally recovered enough to go back to work, I found that few people new what I was talking about when I said “The Flesh Eating Bacteria” even if I substituted Virus in there. It finally dawned on me that sometime around Spring of 1994 there was a story in the news that lasted nearly a full year. Do any of the people you find unfamiliar with NF remember a story about a guy named O. J. Simpson!! It was all OJ all the time back then, and the Flesh Eating (whichever) got pushed to the back of the news. That was my only explanation for the mass amnesia.
By the way mine was Strep A which I think a majority of people carry around on their bodies all the time. I was taking Prednisone for Ulcerative Colitis along with another prescription that wiped out my immune system…..and all it took was a break in the skin on my left buttocks (a lot of which is gone now). It also looks like people with Diabetes have a susceptibility towards NF for the same reason: compromised immune system.
It’s been 18 years for me now of being sort of an anomaly (as a survivor) and I’ve tried not to get stuck back there as if that was my moment of fame, which for a long time it seemed to be. I can’t speak for the rest of the survivors in the guestbook, but I got a lot of very kind and compassionate care during my 6 week stay in the hospital (and after), and for me I needed to try not to become addicted to the attention and sympathy and tomove on and not wear this episode on my sleeve. I don’t want to feel like a celebrity over something that for so many people was a far worse tragedy…..I was just incredibly lucky!
Congratulations to those that survived and those who suffered (and still suffer) more than I.
Dallas, OR USA
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February 28, 2012