A GREAT-GRANDMA had her legs and fingertips amputated after she contracted a flesh-eating disease from a mysterious insect bite in her garden.
Susan Buttery, 68, spent eight months in hospital fighting the serious infection and was put in an induced coma for three weeks.
Doctors fought to save her and they were forced to amputate her legs and finger tips after she was bitten while gardening at her home in Wiltshire.
Sue said doctors first thought she was having an allergic reaction after suffering from flu-like symptoms, but her conditions quickly deteriorated and she was put in an induced coma.
Doctors told her husband Richard that he’d be lucky if she survived.
Sue, from Highworth, Wilts., said: “I had flu-like symptoms and I was vomiting, so my husband Richard rushed me to the hospital where they were supposed to keep me on overnight.
“Richard came back the next day to see me, but they had put me in an induced coma in ICU.
“The consultant said to my husband: ‘You’ll be lucky if your wife is alive on Monday’. But I’m still here.
“When I was in hospital I was a bit afraid, the different things I went through, especially when I was in the coma and coming out of the coma, it was so weird.
“I was swelling up inside, I couldn’t breathe properly, and I ended up having a tube down my throat to help me.
“I was losing skin, I was losing fluid through the skin, and they’ve asked for help from other hospitals.”
‘I’M NOT SCARED’
Sue developed streptococcal septicaemia, strain A and the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis – which caused her skin to go black when the cells died.
The great-grandmother-of-one underwent 60 operations over the course of her eight-month stay in hospital.
She said losing her legs wasn’t that bad because she didn’t want to die.
The grandmother-of-six added: “The skin came out necrotic, the more they were cleaning and trying to keep the infection out, the more it got into it. So, I had 60 operations and was in hospital for eight months.
“I remember the day when they said that the things will have to start going. I didn’t think that it was that bad.
“When they said they had to take my legs, I just talked to myself ‘well they’ve got to go otherwise I’m going to die and I just wanted to try to get back to as normal as possible, as soon as possible.”
Sue has been gardening for years and the thought about getting an infection had never crossed her mind.
She still continues to take care of her garden, but this time with a bit more caution.
The mum-of-two said: “I’m a little bit more careful now, especially if I see anything buzzing around me or anything like that.
“I love gardening and I’m not scared – even with what happened to me.
“I love seeing things that you have actually done growing and it’s lovely listen to the birds and be able to get outside.”
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Sue, who now uses prosthetic limbs from the knee down, has also started a weight loss plan.
She said: “I was warned before the infection that I was borderline diabetic. I move a lot better now than what I did before.
“I’ve got a different circle of friends now, very supportive. We all talk about our different weight losses.”
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