On the morning of the 24th December I felt a unusual pain in my left hand between the thumb and forefinger. The pain increased and I got high fever (at some point above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degree Fahrenheit), and was hospitalized during the night between the 24th and 25th of December. On the afternoon of 26th of December I underwent surgery and was after that diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis (the wikipedia article on NF gives a good summary), caused by the common streptococcus bacteria (again see wikipedia article on Streptococcus). A popular name for the disease is flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotizing Fasciitis is a rare and aggresive infection, deadly if left untreated, that can move through the body at speeds of a couple of centimeters per hour. Fortunately I was healthy at the time when this started, and with bi-weekly training sessions for the last 1.5 year I was physically at my strongest peak in my 38 year old life (weighting 78kg or 170lb, height 182cm or 6 inches). I started working out to improve back issues, improve strength, and prepare for getting older; exercise has never been my thing although I think it is fun to run medium distances (up to 10km).
I have gone through 6 surgeries, and have experienced extreme angst and pain — even with help from Opiat-like pain-killers (more specifically OxyContin and OxyNorm) and the pain-dissociative drug Ketamine (more specifically Ketalar). I am very grateful to be alive. I find joy in even the simplest of things, like being able to drink water or seeing trees outside the window. I have learned many things about medicine and my body, and I am curious by nature so I look forward to learn more. I hope to be able to draw strength from this incident, to help me prioritize better in my life. My loving wife Åsa has gone through a nightmare as a consequence of my diagnosis. At day she had to cope with daily life taking care of our wonderful little 1-year old daughter Ingrid and our 3-year old boy Alfred. All three of them had various degrees of strep throat with fever, caused by the same bacteria — and anyone with young kids know how intense that alone can be. She gave me strength over the phone. She kept friends and relatives up to date about what happened, with the phone ringing all the time. She worked to get information out from the hospital about my status, sometimes being rudely treated and just being hanged up on. Since I had only became worse and worse throughout the third operation, and the infection was still spreading, she at one time after a call with the doctor started to plan for a life without me.
My last operation were on Thursday January 2nd and I left hospital the same day. I’m writing this on the Saturday of January 4rd. I have regained access to my arm and hand and doing rehab to regain muscle control, while my body is healing. I’m doing relaxation exercises to control pain and relax muscles, so that I’m now rid of the strong drugs. I take antibiotics (more precisely Dalacin) and the common Paracetamol pain-killer together with on-demand use of an also common NSAID containing Ibuprofen. My wife and I were even out at a restaurant tonight.
Naturally, I now want to focus on getting well and spend time with my family. I’m not out of dangerous waters yet. Don’t expect anything from me in the communities and organization that I’m active in (i.e., GNU, Debian, IETF, Yubico), I will come back as energy, time and priorities permits.