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Saving Lives In Sumner County

Saving lives in Sumner County

JOSH NELSON Published: April 1, 2016

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Josh Gordon (right) along with wife Beth and son Jimmy, credits the Salvus Center with saving his life. 

Josh Gordon thought he was going to die.

In fact, he was almost resigned to it.

"I began getting feelings of dread and doom coming over me; something in me made me feel and believe that I was dying and there was nothing nobody could do about it," he said in an address during a fundraiser for the Salvus Center. The Salvus Center provides low-cost health care for the uninsured who live and work in Sumner County.

"So I just sat there and cried that day - I knew I was dying; I wouldn't get to see my boy grow up to be a man, (and) I'd miss out on the joys of growing old with my wife. I didn't want to die, but there wasn't anything I could do to stop it, though.

" It all started in 2006 when Gordon was injured and the wound got infected.

"I got really sick," he said. "At first, I thought I had the flu or something like that and I ignored it like most men do."

But the symptoms not only lingered, but got worse.

"Time even seemed to be slowing down," Gordon said. "Things that should only take a few minutes, like tying your shoes ended up taking 20 minutes or more...and I wasn't even aware that it was taking me this long to do these things. Finally, I went to a doctor."

He went to several, to be honest.

Each had their own diagnosis.

"Nobody could diagnose him - nobody," said his wife, Beth, in a telephone interview Monday.

One said it was West Nile, while others had differing opinions.

A variety of treatments were attempted.

"They put him on antibiotics, and nothing was kicking this," Beth said.

One day, it came to a head.

The day he was crying.

"Josh was in the restroom, and he said, 'I think I'm dying," Beth recalled. "He couldn't get enough liquids; nothing would break his fever, and he had gone through a whole bottle of Tylenol. He said he felt that 'overwhelming sense of doom' - that's what he called it."

"She could see it on my face, and she said, 'Josh, get in the car,'" Josh remembered. "She started making all kinds of phone calls, and I'm not sure how she found The Salvus Center, but it was a miracle that I never expected."

Beth said of the situation, "It terrified me. I couldn't breathe. I was sitting on the couch going through the phone book because we didn't have any money, and I ran across the Salvus Center and I called them. They said they didn't have any openings, and I said, 'He's dying,' and they said to bring him in."

Josh could hear the conversation.

"The lady on the phone that Beth talked to said she could hear the desperation in my wife's voice and she told her to go ahead and bring me up there even though they were booked solid for the day."

When they got there, the room was packed, but fellow patients saw the immediacy of the situation.

"One of the nurses came out to get the next patient, and all of the patients said, 'Take him,'" Josh said. "They could see that I was in some kind of need of dire medical attention."

"His whole body was septic," Beth said. "They took him back, and they ran a whole bunch of tests on him."

Temperature: 106; blood pressure: "non-existent"; blood sugar level: over 500.

"(Dr. Ted Hill) told me I was going to the hospital," Josh recalled. "I didn't have a choice - he was certain. But at the time, the hospital wasn't an option. I didn't have insurance, and I didn't have but $300 in the bank...and I already had medical bills from the previous visits (to doctors)...there was no way I could be hospitalized, but he explained to me the deals they had worked out...and I could be hospitalized for $250 no matter how long the stay was.

"My wife and I broke out in tears when he told us that...it was a true miracle that God led the Salvus Center into my life."

Josh was rushed to the hospital.

"Over the six-day stay, Dr. Hill ran a battery of tests and they found (an infection) that deteriorated his heart valve, and that's when they transported him to St. Thomas," Beth said.

"It nearly destroyed my heart and was eating away at my entire body," Josh said.

The heart valves were replaced, and while it was about three months before Josh was able to return home, at least he was able to do so.

"The Salvus Center saved his life," Beth said of her husband. "If not for Dr. Hill and the Salvus Center, Josh would be dead."

"Dr. Hill tells me that if I had waited one more day - just one more day - to come see him, there probably wouldn't have been any hope for me and I most likely would have died," Josh said. "While I might be a walking miracle...the real miracle workers are people like Ted Hill and that staff...who dedicate so much of their love, time, and energy into helping others.

"I owe them my life and will be forever grateful for what they have done for me."

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Gallatin Salvus Center

556 Hartsville Pike, Suite 200
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
615-451-0038

HOPE-Salvus Dental Clinic

1005 Union School Road
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
615-644-GRIN(4746)

Salvus Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Sumner County, TN.

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