A trip to the dentist almost cost Caddens resident Josh Gage his life after contracting an infection that attacked his already leaking heart valves.
Around four years ago, during a routine medical check for his job, doctors discovered Mr Gage had two minor leaking heart valves, news that came as a great shock to the gym-obsessed father of three.
When getting a wisdom tooth pulled earlier this year, he contracted endocarditis, an infection that attacked his already weak heart.
“I wasn’t aware that if you have a leaking heart valve you have to go on antibiotics before you have any dental work done like that,” Mr Gage told the Weekender.
“The infection laid dormant for a while but then it sprung up on me one day when I was going for a run up Knapsack stairs.”
Mr Gage thought he had the flu but still pushed himself to go for a run. During this he became short of breath, his temperature skyrocketed and he blacked out a few times.
He managed to make his way home where he proceeded to take Panadol for a couple of days before seeing a GP, who assured him it was just influenza.
“My body temperature just wasn’t coming down, it wasn’t until a week later I went into hospital,” Mr Gage said.
“We went to Nepean but the wait was nine hours, so I got driven out to Hawkesbury, I don’t remember getting to the hospital. I only remember a doctor putting a cannula in my arm and saying they didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
Six hours later he was diagnosed, and doctors said if he waited another 24 hours he wouldn’t have survived.
Now he is preparing to have open heart surgery within the month.
Having not been able to work for almost five months, his brother-in-law Mark Tyndall decided to take it upon himself to fundraise to help support the family.
On Saturday, October 12, Mr Tyndall has organised a three-course dinner with raffles, prizes and live entertainment at the Penrith Paceway.
“There’s been so much community support for the event because he is the first one who would chip in and do the same for someone else,” Mr Tyndall said.
For more information or to buy a ticket, visit bit.ly/2nHG2jh.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.