ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — A possible spider bite has left a man battling a dangerous infection that nearly cost him his leg.
Todd Thomas, 49, is fighting to recover at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. He’s been in the hospital for eight weeks.
CBS2’s Michele Gile spoke to Thomas about his medical condition and the fight of his life, as well as a long recovery ahead.
It’s a story only on CBS2.
Thomas of Costa Mesa took a picture of his swollen and infected right leg in early June.
He posted the picture on Facebook telling his friends he wasn’t sure what would happen as he was about to be wheeled into the emergency room.
“We’ll see you soon,” he said. “This is the last picture you will see before I know what will actually happen.”
He told Gile that three before his leg began to swell, he felt a pinch on his leg as he slept.
“Wasn’t quite sure what it was at first,” he says. “I got up. I was able to turn the light on. I looked around. I didn’t see anything on the floor. But I thought maybe it might be a spider or something down there.”
Whatever the cause, the man’s leg was severely affected. The skin was eaten away.
He was transferred to UCI Medical Center last month.
Thomas showed Gile photos of his leg; CBS2 blurred them because she said “they are so graphic.”
He’s had at least 10 surgeries, with the latest Wednesday.
Thomas had to have skin grafts to replace dead tissue with new skin.
Doctors told him he was lucky he was bitten where he was and that he was smart to finally come to the ER for help.
“They said if I had gone another day, at all, I would have either lost my leg, or I could have lost my life,” Thomas said.
Friends have been by his side every step of the way.
“It’s very hard to believe. It goes up his whole leg,” said friend Diane Long. “We are so surprised he didn’t lose his leg. If it [the infection] had gotten to the bone, he would have definitely lost his leg.”
As he battles back, Gile said Thomas wants to warn others.
“If you do get bit, and you think you’d been bitten by a spider, or anything, instantly go to the doctor and have it checked out,” Thomas said.