11 days...just 11 days and a young family had their whole life flipped upside down.
Saturday, July 13, 2019 started out as just another day for Francois. He was taking care of his young boys, Xavier and Silas, as his wife Susanna (Zana) was out of town working in Halifax. He spent the day with the boys and put them to bed, grabbed a snack and then went to bed himself.
He woke up a few hours later, incredibly unwell (vomitting, bowel disruption and a very sore leg). He tried to wait it out, thinking it may be a flu bug but the symptoms continued to get worse. Francois texted Zana in the morning, telling her he thought he needed to go to the hospital. He was so unwell, he couldn't drive and was worried about the boys being there. Being as Zana was on the other side of the country, she promptly asked her sister to go check on him, take him to the hospital and to pick up their young boys and then got to work trying to get back home. Annamarie drove from Ponoka to Penhold to find Francois in very bad shape. He was pale and clammy and said the pain in his leg was excruciating. She quickly took him to Innisfail Hospital and they immediately sent him to the Red Deer Hospital because his blood pressure was dangerously low and his knee was extremely swollen.
They transported him by ambulance to Red Deer, where they determined that he had gone into septic shock due to the severe infection in his right leg. They put him on high doses of blood pressure medication to stop his body from shutting down as well as high doses of antibiotics to stop the infection which had now turned his leg black, purple and red in a huge area below his knee.
After 2 days, his blood pressure returned to a non-critical level but all other issues remained unresolved. He went through a transfusion of blood platelets, as his were critically low; he battled low electrolytes and various other challenges to get his body back on line.
Meanwhile, his legs from hip to toes had developed huge fluid filled blisters that burst and constantly drained while the area of infection below his knee developed into a blistered, black, blue and purple oozing mess. His feet turned completely purple (not from the infection they said, but because the blood pressure medication had taken all the blood flow from his feet to keep the rest of the body alive).
He had every blood test, swab and biopsy under the sun with no positive results for anything. There is no explanation for why this happened, what caused it and how it came on so quickly...none. No bug bites, no scratches, no injuries...nothing to pinpoint what this could be.
As his body leveled out and all vital signs and blood counts normalized, his feet continued to turn purple and black and the infected area became a white color. His blisters continued to form and burst, getting smaller and fewer.
Though he survived and the infection seemed to be improving, the tissue on his feet continued to die due to the lack of blood flow that had initially occurred.
Francois and Zana were told that he would need to have both of his legs amputated. 11 days...from the day he got sick to losing BOTH of his legs below the knee. The leg that had suffered the infection has a slim chance of succeeding below the knee. His amazing surgeon told them if it was his family member, he would hope someone would at least try to keep the amputation below the knee for recovery and quality of life. In a couple days, they will review the below knee amputation and decide if they have to go back in and remove the rest of his right leg. This has obviously been devasting for their family. How does one even wrap their mind around what happened in such a short period of time?
Francois is a fun loving, kind and amazing guy. Always smiling and positive. He's a wonderful father and a supportive partner. He has been working full time locally so he can be home to take care of Xavier (10) and Silas (7) while Zana works tirelessly out of town. He takes them to school, hockey, soccer and all after school activities with a smile on his face. He takes pride and joy in being an amazing dad to his boys and an encouraging partner to Zana. In 2004, Zana had a horrible accident at work and her back was broken. Francois doted on her and was there every step of her years long recovery, without complaint. And now he needs our help!
With this incredibly heart breaking turn of events, Zana is not able to work as she will be spending every waking minute at the hospital and helping Francois begin an agonizing recovery while still trying to take care of their two young boys. Francois just recently started a new job, but has not been there quite long enough to claim any disability benefits.
They live in Penhold, AB with no family immediately close to them. The nearest relative is in Ponoka. Francois' family lives in Quebec and are here now, but they will need to head home at some point.
The last thing they need to worry about is the pile of bills flowing in and basic living expenses, let alone the medical costs that are going to be involved. They need to renovate their home, to make it accessible for Francois to come home and recover. They need to renovate all the door ways; ramps and lifts will need to be installed and the bathroom will need to be remodelled to make it functional for Francois ( just to name a few of the things needed to bring him home). There will also be costs for specialized/modified transportation and prosthetics. There will be a list of expenses they haven't even thought of yet. They need to focus on Francois' recovery and not the stress of keeping a roof over their heads and staying on top of the countless bills.
They are staying positive, but the lack of a full diagnosis is terrifying.
Above all else, we are so blessed he is going to be able to go home to be a father to his boys and Zana still has her best friend by her side. *PLEASE HELP US RALLY* to make this transition as manageable as possible.
I am sending a heart-felt plea to all of you to help this young family by sharing their story and if you are able to donate, please do so. We would all be so very grateful for any and all help. The gofundme account will be used for living and medical expenses and every penny will help. We, their close family and friends know they would never ask, so we will ask for them! They deserve all the help they can get.
Thank you for taking the time to read their story. ~xo~