|Tom Geib's Survivor Story|
first part of September 1999, I suffered a second heart attack while driving
on the freeway near my home town of Tacoma, Washington. After several
days in the hospital, I was released to rest at home. Weeks went by and
I felt OK but not as good as I should have. I had been suffering with
a boil in my groin area that would flare up and then surface heal, never
at the time did I think it was making me as sick as I became.
The first part of November 1999, I started to experience flu like symptoms and my lower body ached, I had a fever of 104 degrees, and that boil started to Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, my body was in the first stages of shutting down. What we thought was going to be minor infection wound clean out, maybe a short hospital stay and some antibiotics turned out to something that changed my life.
I remember being on oxygen and a little talk about surgery, the first of what turned out to be five surgeries in two days, to take dead flesh from my upper leg and groin area needless to say this left a huge wound in my upper leg that at the widest point was eight inches and my leg was open from my groin to almost my knee and past the bone in depth. The infection had spread and was also traveling in my blood.
My wife, Gail, was told I was probably going to die. After 3 days, the medical team at St Joseph decided to transfer me to Harborview Trauma Hospital in Seattle, Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment was an option, being a pretty big guy I discovered I was very claustrophobic when they attempted to fit me into a small tube to receive this treatment, they have awesome Burn and Wound Care ICU, and a walk in Hyberbaric chamber, there I spent the next three weeks unable to breath on my own, in a semi coma, seven more surgeries and wound care debridement three times a day.
My wound was healing and day by day my overall health contained many ups and downs. On Thanksgiving Day, I took a first bite of real food, a turkey sandwich my mother in law has specially prepared. On December 10th, I was released from Harborview, with a warehouse cart full of wound care supplies and instructions, my wound care continues to this day. In late January 2000, I under went surgery for the skin graft to cover my wound, it took well and still has a lot of filling in to do. As you could guess this area of the body is full of little "nooks and crannies" and there is a small area we are still working on to heal.
I also have Pheripheral Vascular Disease, Diabetes, Heart Disease, was a smoker for 30+ years and have had a weight problem most of my life, I am sure these factors contributed to this infection. Narcotizing Fasciitis has changed my life, I have been left with Congestive Heart Failure, a very compromised immune system, permanent vocal cord and throat damage from long term breathing tubes (I sing barbershop and its just made me a deeper bass !)
Above all that I am alive and I am a survivor!
Thanks from the bottom of our hearts to the following medical professionals:
Tom and Gail Geib
Unkatom@aol.com (Tom) or Gailmaree2@aol.com (Gail)
Copyright © 1997-2003 National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF)
All Rights Reserved.
April 9, 2003