44-year-old Chris Gordon had to have most of his skin removed after he woke up with a softball-sized lump on his elbow.
The father-of-one immediately went to his doctor and was told not to fret as it was only some kind of inflammation, likely cellulitis or bursitis.
After a few hours, he was sick and drowsy. Gordon was rushed to the emergency room where doctors realized his problem was more serious than cellulitis.
The father was airlifted to Mayo Clinic and was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that eats skin, fat, and tissues.
“Imagine a fire starting in the middle of a dry forest and the only way to stop it spreading is to keep ahead of it and conduct a controlled burn, and to do this you must remove trees before the fire could use them for fuel,” Gordon said.
“Now imagine that the forest is your skin and the fire is the necrotizing fasciitis.”
He stayed in the intensive care unit for two weeks and six more on a regular ward where he received medications to reduce blood clotting and alleviate the pain.
Gordon had more than ten doctors working on him. When he left the hospital, he received outpatient and inpatient care for another 8 months.
“Thankfully I didn’t need to go into isolation,” he said. “Having been in the hospital for so long, I asked my surgeon if I could have a beer.
“Later that same day my father-in-law Bill, who was also the Lutheran Chaplain, came with a can of beer and two plastic cups in a brown bag.
“He went to double check with the nurses that I could drink and three minutes later the nurse came into my room with a written prescription for one beer a day.”
Gordon added: “I am eternally grateful to God, my family, my friends and the excellent medical staff at Mayo Clinic. Thank you so much.”
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