Gerald

Just a quick summary of how I got DRESS:

  • In 2019 I contracted toxoplasmosis in my right eye.

  • The optometrist started me on steroids and an antibiotic called Bactrim. I did not know I was allergic to this antibiotic.

  • I spent 4 weeks on steroids and 7 weeks on Bactrim.

  • At first the steroids masked the initial effects of DRESS. The doctors told me that DRESS signs did not appear for 2 to 3 weeks after I discontinued that antibiotic.

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​So, about February of 2020, I started getting skin rashes and was losing muscle mass at an alarming rate. As overnight truckers, my wife and I really started worrying when we were in the Seattle, Washington area, far from our home in North Carolina. We had a load that needed to be delivered that following Monday in Virginia.

As things got worse we stopped at a hospital in Nebraska City. They wanted to admit me but I was intent on delivering my load. The same thing happened when I checked into another hospital in Virginia. My wife, also a licensed truck driver, did most of the driving. I was weak with rashes and started feeling like there were bumps developing on the palms of my hands and feet which made it very difficult to drive or walk. We delivered our load, or should I say my wife Susan did, on that Monday 02/16/2020. She drove us another 300 miles to our home in North Carolina where she helped me shower and then got me to the hospital.

I originally checked into a local hospital but they moved me to a learning hospital in Wake Forest, where I was poked a prodded for the next 3 days before I was told I had “DRESS Syndrome.”

By this time, I looked like “Hell Boy” without the horns — really bright red! The bumps on my hands and feet were awful and made it very difficult to walk to the bathroom only a few feet away. My heart, lungs, liver and kidney were failing by the time I got to Wake Forest Hospital, and little did I understand I was within a day or two of dying.

I had lost a lot of weight, but the I.V solution filled my body with liquid making me look like a human water balloon. On the fifth day I was released to go home but still very ill. I was prescribed 10 drugs and my wife was taught how to apply the creams and wrap my body in towels. This would go on for another two weeks. At this point I was so weak I could not even lift a cup of coffee. Imagine that! A trucker not able to lift a coffee cup.

I start home physical therapy and actually started to regain strength for a few weeks, but then, wow, something went wrong. I started to itch uncomfortably so much so I did not want to go out to exercise and I would scratched so hard it left my skin bleeding from the self-inflicted wounds. Susan started the wraps again and it took about three weeks for the itching to fade to a minor irritation.

The itch has continued to this day (9/30/2020), but it’s getting less and less everyday now. I think I may be lucky in that my DRESS seems to be dissipating much sooner than others. My biggest concern at this point is if there will be another relapse.