A nurse says she is “lucky to be alive” after she caught a flesh-eating bug after gardening.
Jodie Wylie “felt like her head was going to explode” after tending to her plants but initially dismissed it as just a “bad migraine “.
But the 50-year-old was later rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with Necrotising Fasciitis – a severe infection which saw bacteria release toxins into her blood.
The flesh-eating bug affects tissue beneath the skin and surrounding muscles.
The mum-of-two who lives in Melbourne, Australia, said: “I felt like my head was going to explode and I’d gone to bed exhausted and I wasn’t responding to medication.”
She added: “My throat was sore and I was vomiting. I thought it was just a bad migraine.
“I can only go by what my friend and sister told me because I don’t remember much.
“They called a doctor and he thought it was a virus and a migraine.
“My gut was telling me it was more severe than a migraine because I’d never felt like that before but I prolonged going to hospital until it was almost too late.”
Jodie, who works in an intensive care unit, also discovered a giant bruise on her leg, and surgeons were later forced to remove a large part of the skin, muscle and tissue on her right hip to save her life.
She added: “I had a bruise on my leg which was so painful and mottled and dark. I couldn’t even walk into the hospital, I had to use a wheelchair.
“I had a feeling it was NecrotisingFasciitis and I told my sister I thought I was going to die.”
When Jodie’s blood pressure dropped and heart rate soared, she was rushed into surgery where medics cut open her leg and diagnosed her with the disease.
She spent the next two weeks in the same intensive care unit she works in and was also diagnosed with septicaemia.
She ended up having 13 more surgeries to scrape away the disease and her family were told to prepare for the worst.
Jodie, who lives with her daughters Charlotte, 10, and Madeleine, 8, said: “My throat was swollen to the same size as my head.
“It was touch and go.”
Jodie had hyperbaric oxygen therapy where she underwent 100 per cent oxygen in a pressurised environment to help kill the bacteria and spent a further two months recovering in hospital.
Jodie has now lost a lot of skin and muscle in her leg but is able to walk.
She says it’s taken her a whole year to get back out in the garden as she worries that’s where she may have picked up the disease.
She said: “A lot of my leg is numb so it’s itchy but I can’t feel anything when I scratch it.
“The skin is down to the bone now in some places and my leg gets exhausted.
“It’s taken me a year to get back out in the garden because it’s questionable that that’s where it happened and I dreadI’ll wake up sick again.
“The children are scared I’ll end up in hospital again and are still dealing with it.
“If it wasn’t for my friend Mandi staying with me, I would have been at home on my own and I wasn’t capable of picking up the phone to call an ambulance.
“It has been a very traumatic and difficult time and I am so grateful to the dedicated medical staff who saved my life, and to my amazing family and friends who have been there for me.
“We really need to act early when the signs are telling us we are extremely sick.
“I tried to be brave and stayed at home too long before agreeing to be taken to hospital.
“It was almost too late for me and I’m lucky to be alive.”