An Atlanta musician was just days away from losing his leg and possibly even his life after suffering a bite from a brown recluse spider last month.
Singer-songwriter Gabe Lustman told the Post on Thursday that he didn’t know where or when exactly he was bitten by the venomous spider, which he initially thought was a “mosquito bite or something.”
“I start scratching it and then it starts to discolor,” the 30-year-old recalled in a telephone interview. “I thought I hit my leg because it kind of looked like a direct hit, it looked like a bruise.”
The pop-R&B artist first noticed the bite around August 18th and felt it progressively worse from then on. The next day he performed at a gala, but felt so ill that he went straight from the performance to the hospital.
Medical staff quickly determined his leg was infected, but a clear diagnosis came the next day when an infectious disease specialist examined him, he said.
Lustman spent five days in the hospital, where he underwent multiple blood tests and received high doses of antibiotics and other medications.
Before he was released, medical staff told him that his leg could have been amputated or he could have died if he had sought help later.
“They said if I had come in a few days later it would have spread even more,” he said. “I mean, I waited until I couldn’t walk anymore, I was limping. I couldn’t put any pressure on my leg.”
“I was really scared, man,” Lustman added. “I’m very blessed and grateful that I made it with my leg.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the brown recluse spider is most commonly found in the Midwest and South.
“Brown recluse venom can cause serious injury by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis),” he said CDC says. “This skin lesion requires professional medical attention.”
Lustman said he still hasn’t fully returned to normal and hasn’t performed since his hospitalization. He still has dry, dead skin around his leg and a scar from the bite wound.
Gaylord Lopez, executive director of the Georgia Poison Center, said WSB-TV His facility sees about three to five suspected cases of hermit bites every month.
“If these little creatures get you, they can slam you if they bite,” he said, adding. “You only notice after a few hours that you’ve even been bitten.”