I didn't give the scratch another thought. I'd only grazed my leg as I got out of the car one day, and it wasn't even bleeding. I'd been heading out to help the huge clean-up following the devastating Queensland floods of 2013.
But a week later, as I got out of bed, I was hit by a sharp pain. It was so agonising, it felt like my left leg might explode!I called my daughter Jodie, 22, and she rushed over to take me to hospital.
There, I was diagnosed with cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin that tends to occur in areas that have been damaged or inflamed. I was put on an antibiotic drip and monitored for 24 hours.
After that I was discharged and for the next week and a half I took antibiotics at home. But while the swelling reduced, my leg became increasingly red and irritated.
Jodie came to visit and was shocked, insisting I went back to hospital. When I arrived, the doctors flew into a panic. 'The cells in your legs are dying,' one of the nurses said, explaining I'd need emergency surgery to remove the dead tissue or I was at risk of losing the entire limb!
How could this be happening?
It took four operations to remove it all and afterwards my leg looked awful. Tests revealed there were two superbugs in my system, acinetobacter baumannii complex and pseudomona fluorescens.
And there was worse news to come. They're resistant to antibiotics.
Luckily, one of the doctors had an idea. He suggested we try plain white vinegar on the area, as it has antibacterial properties. They started the treatments immediately, wrapping my leg in vinegar-soaked gauze.
This process continued for two weeks, with the gauze being changed every four hours. Finally, there was good news. My leg had healed. I reckon I have humble vinegar to thank for that!
Originally published in that's life! magazine - Issue 43, October 2013.