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I almost died from a flesh-eating disease

A man who contracted a rare flesh-eating disease is lucky to be alive after almost dying in hospital..

By admin , in Cambridge , at April 21, 2018

A man who contracted a rare flesh-eating disease is lucky to be alive after almost dying in hospital

Dad-of-two Philip Pike lost parts of his fingers, toes and buttock to necrotizing fasciitis, a serious bacterial infection.

The 59-year-old lay in a coma for two weeks, had a pacemaker installed and had to learn to walk again before he could return home.

Months on from leaving hospital Philip, from Cambridgeshire, still requires medication and faces more finger amputations.

Philip Pike contracted the rare disease necrotizing fasciitis (Image: David Johnson)

According to the NHS, necrotizing fasciitis begins with a bacterial infection affecting tissue beneath the skin and muscles and organs.

It can start from a relative minor injury but quickly become life-threatening from blood poisoning and organ failure.

Treatments include surgery to remove infected tissue, amputation and antibiotics. Around one or two in every five cases is fatal.

Philip has lost his finger tips to the disease (Image: David Johnson)

'It's eating you from the inside out'

Philip's infection began innocuously in July 2017, but escalated at an alarming rate.

"I was playing with the kids in the garden," he explained "We were playing water fights. I ended up in the rose bush.

"I thought nothing of it. Two days later I was in bed and I was violently sick. That went on for hours.

"I was panicking because I couldn't breathe."

Eventually Philip's wife range an ambulance, he was put on oxygen and whisked off to Addenbrooke's where he was put on a coma.

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Philip has to now walk with a stick and his toes have been infected (Image: David Johnson)

'It turned my body blue'

Over the next few days doctors battled to keep Philip alive, putting him through countless operations and on strong antibiotics.

"It's eating you from the inside out. It's horrible. People lose legs and arms," he said.

"After what I've been through I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

"I've been brought back to life. I'd died I don't know how many times. It was scary, not for me but for my wife. She had to go through so much."

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Such was the gravity of Philip's condition that his wife regularly expected to have to say goodbye to him.

"She thought that was the last she'd see of me," he said. "They got this drug from America that turned my body blue.

"She thought he's not going to survive this but since then I've got steadily stronger."

While he was in a coma Philip said he had strange dreams and sensations that he was still awake.

When he woke up he was convinced he'd been injured in a gun fight with his sister and that he was awake during his pacemaker operation.

"I kept blurting all these things out. They said you ought to write a book about it," Philip said.

Philip's has lost the tips of both his fingers and toes and still faces more amputations (Image: Philip Pike)

Learning to walk again

After waking up in August last year, Philip had to learn to sit up, stand, move into chairs and walk again with the help of a therapist.

He described the fear his condition raised in his children who initially didn't want to see him.

Philip said: "I had all these tubes and pipes. The state I was in. I thought why can't my children see me? It frightened them"

Slowly Philip's wife, with whom he has fostered children for 10 years, explained everything that had happened to him and how it affected her.

"She was beside herself," he said. "She thought that was the last she was going to see me. That was the most upset she felt."

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Philip's other friends and family have also been exposed to the horrors of his battle to stay alive.

"My friend was taking my wife to the hospital when they were resuscitating me," explained Philip, "That shocked him."

Philip when he was in Addenbrooke's hospital (Image: Philip Pike)

'All the thing I could have done I can't do'

Today Philip and his family are gradually getting used to life after the infection.

His children and less scared of hurting him, but his wife is reluctant to leave him alone. He has lost a lot of his dexterity and moves with the help of a walking frame or stick.

"You just adapt," Philip said. "I've only taken one walk on my own outside since I came home. To me that was quite big thing.

"During the day I occupy myself going on social media. There's a massive support group in America, yesterday I found one in the UK.

"All the thing I could have done I can't do because I can't hold nothing."

Raised a Catholic, Philip said that during his coma sleep he began praying to God for the first time in years.

"I've always believed that when you died that's not the end," he said. "You will go somewhere. It's your body that dies.

"When I was in the coma – for years I've never prayed – but I did. I just knew this was it. I'm going.

"From that day to this I still do it every day."

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Philip now cites the advice he was given by a local pastor on how to cope with his changed condition.

"He said 'think about what you've got, not what you had"," said Philip, "My life started again when I came out that coma.

"What I do now, achieve things, little steps, hopefully I will get a lot of my mobility back. I just do things a little bit differently."

Philip has shared his story to raise awareness of his disease ahead of Necrotizing Fasciitis month in May.

He has been supported through his recovery by the Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation.

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