A Riddells Creek family’s world has been turned upside down by a life-changing medical disaster.
Neal Furze was enjoying a camping trip with his family and friends during the grand final long weekend when he became ill.
At first Neal thought he had a bad case of gastro, until two days later he developed purple rashes and was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
Wife Kristine Rawlinson said doctors told her to bring their children, Sam, 11, and Eloise, 8, to see their dad because he was either going to die or be placed in an induced coma.
Neal spent three and a half weeks in intensive care being treated for septicaemia and sepsis.
“The whole time it was touch and go,” Kristine said.
Kristine said Neal lost 18 kilograms and the blood poisoning caused his fingers and feet to die from a lack of circulation.
Last week, Neal’s feet and legs were amputated to mid-calf. His fingers and thumbs were removed, except for part of a thumb and part of a pinky finger.
When he is well enough, he will learn to use prosthetic limbs.
Neal will no longer be able to continue his job as a photo copier technician or to tend the family’s 1.2-hectare property.
“He’s dealing with all this amazing grief,” Kristine said. “We’ve got to look at how we go forward as a family. We’re going to have to get a car that can take a wheelchair and get the house adapted.”
Kristine has had to take time off her full-time job during Neal’s ordeal.
She said the support of the local community had been amazing.
In the past three weeks, locals have donated about $21,000 to an online fund set up for the family. Friends have been helping Kristine with meals, and this weekend Neal’s workmates from Melbourne will do a working bee at the family’s Riddells Creek home.
“I’m not crying about how sad this situation is – I’m crying about how impressed I am at how beautiful people are,” Kristine said.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/help-neal-recover-from-toxic-shock