A woman had both legs amputated and spent eight months in hospital fighting serious infection after being bitten by an insect – while gardening.
Great-grandmother Susan Buttery, 68, was put in an induced coma for three weeks as doctors fought to save her and were forced doctors to amputate her legs and finger tips.
Sue, from Highworth, Wiltshire, said: “I was quite poorly when I went to hospital and they didn’t know what I had – they thought I was allergic to something.
“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 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.”
Sue had developed streptococcal septicaemia, strain A and the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis – causing her skin to go black as the cells died.
She 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.”
Despite gardening for years, Sue said she never thought about the dangers of getting infections – and continues to take care of her garden.
Mum-of-two, grandmother-of-six and great-grandmother-of-one Sue 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.”
Sue, who know gets around on prosthetic limbs from the knee down, has also embarked on a weight loss plan since leaving hospital.
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.”