In 2015 I was playing with my 2 boys in the woods, building a den from old branches. That evening I experienced the worst pain I have had in my finger. It felt like it would burst and I hoped it would. I was shaking and sweating so much. In the morning it didn’t hurt too badly but I went to my doctor anyway, pushed along by my wife who said I needed IV antibiotics. The doctor said it was cellulitis and gave me pain killers and Flucoxacillin, with the usual phrase of “Come back if it doesn’t improve” I went home and slept for almost 16 hours. (Sepsis and Cellulitis)
The following day my finger didn’t hurt so bad, but it was looking a bit grey. I returned to the doctors surgery and was examined by a different doctor. He took photos and sent them to the hospital for advice. They said I should go straight to them, 120 miles away. My brother drove me there, driving faster every time he looked over and saw the red streaks getting higher up my arm. I arrived at the ER department of the hospital and taken in immediately to be examined. I was in surgery within 45 minutes of arriving. I spent 7 nights in hospital, had 3 washout operations and pumped full of antibiotics. Every 4 hours, another 3 IV bags of clindamycin, gentamicin and saline, with blood pressure checks every 2 hours making sleep impossible. I managed to order my 3 meals each day but still lost over a stone in weight.
I was discharged on the 8th day. They had stopped the invasive Strep A infection spreading but the top of my finger was dead and turned gangrenous. I was told I could wait for it to fall off or choose to amputate. 2 weeks of returning to hospital every 2nd for dressings to be changed, then surgery again for amputation. The next day pain returned and infection was spreading along my arm. Back to hospital for 9 days and 2 more operations. The surgeon said they would have to keep cutting to my elbow if they couldn’t stop the infection. Thankfully they only had to open up my palm and I only lost the top of 1 finger. I still had the IV antibiotics every 4 hours and discharged on day 10. I was only allowed to leave when my infection count was below 3 for 2 consecutive days. When I was admitted my infection count was 265. After 5 weeks and 7 operations, I was infection free and only lost the top of my finger.
I still experience daily pains in my joints, skin problems, formication [the sensation of insects crawling on the skin], cognitive problems and depression, but I am thankful that the 2nd doctor recognised the problem and acted quickly to save my hand and my life.