Milledgeville Man Beats Flesh Eating Bacteria and Returns Home
A Milledgeville man celebrates his return home from the hospital on Saturday with family and friends after nearly losing his life to flesh eating bacteria in May.
He's down a leg and in a wheel chair but that isn't dampening the spirits of Paul Bales, 67, who said he is glad to be home.
"It's a relief,” Bales said.”Believe me, a total relief. After being in the hospital as long as I was, home is beautiful."
It's been three months since Bales has been on his back porch looking over Lake Sinclair, the same lake where he contracted flesh eating bacteria that nearly cost him his life. However, he's home with family who said the experience and Bales upbeat outlook on the situation has brought them closer together.
"He's had such a positive attitude and that's what I think has kept the family together,” Bales 16-year-old granddaughter, Kenzie Bales said. “I don't think we could've done it and made it through all this if he wasn't so optimistic."
Bales slipped while walking into the water from his boat ramp. He scratched his leg and decided not to clean his cut because he said he didn’t see any blood. However, that proved to be a life threatening mistake.
"Because I didn't take care of the wound in the water, it's my fault, but I have to live with it now."
Bales said he doesn't recall the day after he scratched himself except for going to the golf course.
"I was told I acted like I was having a heart attack and I was taken to the hospital and next thing I remember is waking up in Macon with no leg."
A huge shock for Bales but for his family members who were informed of his condition, they said it's better than the alternative.
"I've always said he's better legless than lifeless,” Kenzie said. ”I'd much rather see him lose his leg than his life and I'm really happy he's home."
Bales said he is happy to be home but is now getting used to being dependent on others as family members build ramps making his home more accessible.
"I have to have somebody to help me and I don't like that but it has to be cause I can't do it myself anymore,” he said. “I live alone but I can't now."
Bales said he wants people to know the water at Lake Sinclair is safe and he wants people to learn from his story and make sure to properly clean their wounds. He is currently in rehab learning how to walk again and when he does he said he can't wait to hit the golf course.