Ravaged by Infection

This one’s a horror story. It’s also rather personal and I’ve thought twice about writing it, but it has it’s place in the bigger picture and I think it’s a story that needs to be told. It begins 14 years ago. I took my motorcycle and sidecar and went on holiday to the West Country. When I returned I had a small red patch on my left buttock and I didn’t manage to look after it well enough. It developed into a pressure sore, but nothing too serious until somehow it got infected. Then it got very serious, but we managed to heal it through nothing but manual techniques; no drugs and no surgery. All was well for ten years and then one day the wound started to open up again. I didn’t worry unduly as I understood that the pelvis was coming back to life through the rehabilitation process and that the wound was opening up in a new phase of deeper healing. When we healed it originally there was so little quality to my body that the wound could only heal over in the upper layers and the root of the weakness lay buried. The wound soon healed again with renewed quality in the buttock, all except for a tiny hole that remained.

The thinking was, that if it was a problem it would have broken down, if it didn’t need to be there it would have closed and so it must be that the body needed it as a vent for the healing processes. Living with it wasn’t a problem and this was all very well until, in February, it got infected. It crept up on me and to start with I thought I could ride it out, but soon realised it was serious and admitted myself to hospital, not knowing what else to do. Goodness knows what drugs they pumped me full of because the next 48 hours were a blur. The infection had tracked round into my groin and when I came to my senses, after two days in hospital, I found that my scrotum had gone gangrenous! Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisaged this outcome. I was shocked that I could allow this to happen and just as shocked that this could happen while in hospital care.

The doctors wanted to put me under the knife immediately, but I had some vain hope that I could heal this and to start with refused the operation. However, the task was hopeless. The tissue was dead and there was no practical way of inputting into the surrounding area to bring about healing. I had no choice and had to submit myself to the surgeon and bear the consequences. They cut me from my buttock round my groin and up to my scrotum. In a procedure known as ‘debridement’ they cut away all the infected tissue. I was then left with a large open wound until the doctors were satisfied that the infection was gone and that no more tissue would die off. After a week of open wound, and a transfer to a specialist unit at another hospital, I was sown back up.

Having feared the worst I’m amazed at how well it all came together. I’m still all there even if things are a little tighter having lost some skin. I’ve been home for two weeks and everything is healing up well, due in part to all the therapy work I’ve been putting in to encourage the body’s healing processes. It’s a set back in my rehabilitation and my body lost a lot of tone during a month in hospital, but I’m working to build up the tone and I’ll soon be back to where I was. Luckily we have come so far with my rehabilitation that I have sufficient quality in the pelvic region to bear this injury and recover. Had this happened ten years ago it would have been disastrous. It will be some time till the wound is fully healed and the pelvic floor is especially weak which limits sitting for the time being, but only six weeks after this began I’m looking at getting back to the main program and continuing my rehabilitation through ABR Therapy, with ever more determination.

I haven’t dwelt much on what has happened to me, and probably best I don’t, but I do have to wonder whether the hospital saved my life or caused me undue suffering for lack of a better way. I think they almost certainly did save my life and however much we, as a society, overuse and even abuse antibiotics and need to turn away from them, they are life saving when used appropriately. Without them we may not have got the infection under control and it may well have killed me. As for the extent to which I was cut apart, I can’t help thinking that much could have been avoided with a better approach. When I originally got a pressure sore, all those years ago, we healed a raging infection that was eating away at me with nothing but manual techniques. Unfortunately the health establishment see the body as an inert structure and have no concept of its living nature. Techniques to encourage the body’s healing processes, to overcome infection and deal with dead tissue, and even the idea of such techniques, is totally alien to them. Not only do they expect the body to heal with no encouragement whatsoever, they expect it to heal while it has been depleted by the very drugs used to save it. Antibiotics will kill the bad guys and also some of the good guys. So when dealing with lifeless tissue that desperately needs enlivening but isn’t getting what it needs, you have flesh that will succumb to the infection in the dying tissue rather than overcome it to heal the damage, so it is hardly surprising that they wish to cut out any tissue showing signs of decay, despite the terrible trauma to the body. If we could have involved ABR techniques along side the need to remove the gangrenous tissue then maybe the extent of the surgery could have been lessened.

We are some way off from ABR techniques becoming mainstream and the health practitioners are not to blame for their blinkered approach and so I am grateful for all they did to save my life and get me back on the road with my rehabilitation.

One comment on “Ravaged by Infection

  1. After having read your blog for the first time I felt deeply ashamed that I hadn’t been aware of the seriousness of it all, although I could definately feel that a shadow was hanging over you. I am very glad that are on the up and up, and very glad that you are a friend!
    Love Fanny

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