A landscaper and father of two has recently had his world turned upside down after he was bitten by a false widow spider. Falling seriously ill, the tradesman ended up having to have his leg amputated.
It was whilst working on a fencing job in Leicestershire, that the forty four year old was bitten. Later on that day, he soon fell ill with back pain. Andy Perry described: “I remember standing up and thinking I’d put my back out.”
“I suddenly had a really heavy ache in the small of my back, it felt like I’d been kicked.”
However, unfortunately this back ache soon progressed to something much worse. Just a couple of days later, the landscaper was being rushed to hospital with sepsis and kidney failure. Placed on a drip, Andy stayed in hospital where it was determined that he had been bitten by a False Widow spider.
The Phlebotomist treating Andy was the first to notice the puncture wounds above his ankle. With his spider bite suspicions confirmed, they theorised that an infection had been introduced to the wound by Andy himself. Working as a landscaper, it was likely that he had scratched the bite with dirty hands without knowing it was there.
Andy added, “The bite became a doorway for infection and I quickly developed Sepsis which almost killed me within the week.”
“The aching back was my kidney’s failing but it was the sepsis that was doing the real damage.”
“I started hallucinating and can’t remember anything after the third day.”
“I know I was in danger and I know that one day I was discharged into the care of the district nurses, the rest is a blur.”
Eventually though, the landscaper’s infection began to subside and the sepsis was fought off. Unfortunately though, he was left with lymphedema (a swelling of the leg which causes the skin to blister and crack). Andy described: “We couldn’t keep up with the volume of fluid leaking out and I had to sleep downstairs on the living room floor, which is where I stayed for a full year, until the leg had healed sufficiently.”
“My Landscaping business had collapsed by now.”
“The chaps I employed didn’t want the responsibility of running it and so it simply ceased to exist as I turned down quote after quote.”
Without treatment, the tradesman was unable to work and the pain was unbearable. With his knees no longer working properly either, no surgeon wanted to touch the leg. But something needed to be done. Eventually, Andy had to threaten to cut his own leg off with a chainsaw before his GP was able to find someone to remove it.
Finally, the tradesman had his leg off. But, his journey was far from over. Instead, whilst recovering, Andy’s hand went “walkabout” in his sleep. Pulling at the stitches, he woke up covered in blood. Unfortunately, the wound became infected and Andy had to have another round of surgery. He described: “All the nasty, dead, gooey tissue that had gotten infected was cut out and a vacuum dressing was applied.”
“The Vac comes with a man-bag which contains the pump and it sucks all the nasty stuff out.”
“The wound is left open but it heals from the inside, like a glass fills with water.”
“I’ve been told I’m around a month away from having the Vac dressing taken off.”
“This is brilliant because when that’s gone I can start rehab and try to get a prosthetic limb.”
“In the meantime, I’m restricted to a wheelchair.”
This has meant that the landscaper is completely unable to play with his children in the garden. With raised decking, steps, small paths and gravel, the garden is completely unaccessible.
Therefore, he needs a bit of help. Ideally, he would like to redo his garden, allowing him to spend time with his children. Not only that, but he would also like to have his workshop up and ready for when he can go back to work too. He described, “I desperately want my garden and workshop back.”
“If anyone can help by donating materials they can email me direct using firstname.lastname@example.org.”
“So far one local builders merchant (SB Building Supplies Ltd) has offered some free materials.”
“But the rest of the donations have been made via the JustGiving page I set up.”
“The amputation was a long while coming and I’ve got at least another year of hard work in front of me before I can say it’s over but I feel like I’m getting my life back.”
“I can see me working again and I can see me playing with my children again.”
“I can’t thank my consultant, Mr Young, and his staff in Coventry enough, especially my two nurses, Filo and Gail.”