Man Left Looking Like A 'Zombie' After Severe Reaction To Antibiotics
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A man almost died and was left looking like a 'zombie' after suffering a severe reaction to antibiotics.
Josh Dennis, 38, from Colorado suffered from burns covering 90 percent of his body and was temporarily blinded after taking antibiotics to cure an infection in his jaw.
The dad-of-two contracted Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) following the reaction. It began with 'itching and irritation' under his fingernails, which developed into hives - within less than a week he was rushed into hospital and placed on a burns' unit.
After initially spotting some hives on his body, a raised temperature and suffering with 'painful', 'burning' feet, Josh went to hospital.
When there, he was diagnosed with Kawasaki's disease, but there his condition got worse with his eyes turning purple and blisters on his skin.
A second doctor looked him over and began searching through medical journals to find out the cause and he was eventually diagnosed with TEN and was rushed in to have an operation on his eyes to prevent him from going blind.
"Over 90% of my body was affected," Josh said. "Perhaps the worst part that I haven't talked about was the genitals.
"My scrotum looked like a brain oozing pus. The blistering and pain I had in this area was excruciating. I almost blocked it out completely. It took weeks to heal.
"My mouth was the second painful part. The new skin. I couldn't eat anything except alfredo noodles or eggs for a while."
Josh heaped praise on his wife, Stacie, who helped him to recover, saying: "Most people that die from this, is because they are alone through it all, my wife took care of me the whole way.
"She told doctors what they needed to know to save my life, she kept me on this side when the drugs and trauma were taking me away.
"I could hear her voice above all else, I had lot of days that seemed like dreams with all the hallucinations, I could talk to my wife and stay grounded.
"My wife's dad came to visit me when I looked like a zombie. He had to leave because of how I looked.
"I didn't understand at first, it hurt my feelings. But since then I've seen the pictures and I know why he couldn't see me.
"Anyone that visited wasn't comfortable. They thought my wife was cold for not reacting like them, but she would tell them 'I still see my husband'.
"When we got to leave I was so happy but that's when the real work started. We had to make major lifestyle changes.
"I couldn't shower like I used to. I couldn't eat the same stuff as the rest of the family. I couldn't see very well. I couldn't drive for six weeks or so. My wife had her work cut-out for her.
"Here we are eight weeks later and it's still a struggle, but my vision is almost back to normal, I'm off a lot of the prescriptions, and I can eat anything again.
"It would have been much more traumatic and could have gone the other way very easily without her there."
Now Josh is hoping to raise awareness SJS/TEN symptoms and the causes, to save others' lives and warn of the dangers presented by antibiotics.
He said: "Not in a million years did I think this could happen from antibiotics. It's crazy, no warning, and the first time I had been to a doctor in five years.
"I see warnings on labels now. It's amazing how many products I'll never use again just because of the warning labels.
"I know my body better and am more aware of what my family is putting in theirs. It scares me to think my kids are at risk. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."