‘Your leg is no longer part of you’ - how Martham man lost his leg to malaria (and stayed awake for its amputation)
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
It was only two tiny insect bites but for Martham resident Peter Pocket, it eventually cost him his leg.
Mr Pocket, 60, was holidaying on the Zambesi river in Zimbabwe in 2001 when he was bitten by a mosquito and tick – a dangerous combination which triggered malaria.
Ten days later his condition worsened to the point where he fell into a coma and hovered between life and death, with doctors telling his wife Jill to prepare for the worst.
Fortunately, Mr Pocket survived the ordeal, but his leg was left permanently damaged, and it deteriorated slowly over the years, culminating in a below-the-knee amputation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last November.
Since then he has made an impressively speedy recovery, thanks largely to the rehabilitation team at Colman Hospital, whom Mr Pocket cannot praise highly enough.
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The team is based at the hospital's Pine Cottage facility and is part of Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.
'The rehabilitation staff were fantastic,' Mr Pocket said.
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'They really understood the complexity of my condition and they were incredibly caring.'
Mr Pocket, who was born in Zimbabwe and ran guided tours along the Zambesi, moved to Norfolk around four years ago as his wife Jill has family in the county.
'My leg became worse and it got to the point where I could barely walk,' he said.
Unusually, he chose a local anaesthetic so that he could stay conscious during the amputation.
'The surgeons and I talked as though it was a normal situation, and they even let me listen to Uriah Heep [the British rock-band].
'I remember the surgeon saying to me: 'Your leg is no longer part of you'.
'I was discharged five days later. Throughout my treatment in Norfolk I was given brilliant care.'
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