By KEN STEADMAN
For The Vista
A lot of you may know Jay Fox as an entertainer and song writer who lives in our community. Others may know him as an author of a book entitled “Triumph Over Tragedy”. Those who know about or of him are aware that he lost his entire right leg from a wasp sting several years ago. That’s right, a wasp sting that nearly cost him his life.
Jay learned to get around with a pair of crutches and a huge will to continue his interesting life as an entertainer who is serving God. He was told early on that he could not be fitted for a new prosthetic leg because there was not enough of the old leg for attachment. Well, that didn’t stop Jay or his family and friends from their faith, hope and dedication for Jay’s future.
A man named Kevin Gillen from Cookeville osthetics heard about Jay’s situation and designed and created a new leg. Jay now has a new challenge in his life to work with therapist Karol Karns who will help teach him how to walk, climb stairs and get on with his life with his new leg.
A large gathering of family, friends and guests took place February 22nd at the Art Circle Public Library to witness the unveiling of the new addition to Jay’s life. He unwrapped the package that just happened to come out feet first. Mayor J.H. Graham III was on hand and related a speech by the famous Winsome Churchill that consisted of three words, “NEVER GIVE UP”. Mayor Graham stated that those three words certainly fit Jay Fox whom he was proud to know and call a friend.
Jay soon modeled the new leg with support of his crutches and received a round of applause.
Let me provide a few details about the wasp story for those who are unaware. On June 4, 2009 Jay was working in a wood pile to find material to build a workbench. He uncovered a wasp’s nest and got stung just above the right knee. He didn’t give it much thought because he was not allergic to wasp stings. However, about two hours later he became nauseated with a terrible pain in his leg and went home to rest. The pain continued to get worse and wife, Catherine, took him to the local hospital. The doctor looked at the sting, noticed a worrisome purple bruise sign but gave him some Benadryl and Demerol and sent him home stating the pain would go away in a little while.
Back home, the pain continued to get worse throughout the night and son, Cameron, rushed Jay back to the hospital.
By this time he was going through septic shock and the leg was deteriorating quickly. A hospital surgeon looked at the wound and advised that he was very sick and needed to be transferred immediately to a disease specialist.
Jay was flown to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville where he was diagnosed with Group A Streptococcal toxic shock. He also contracted rare, flesh-eating bacteria similar to the bite from a Brown Recluse Spider.
Jay was close to death with respiratory failure, acute kidney failure, blood clots, tissue rotting and bowel failure. There were many other failures in his body that only a specialist would understand.
The doctors told wife Catherine and the four children that there was very little chance of survival. The only hope was to amputate the right leg at the hip and remove the bacteria that had entered the upper part of his body to stop the spreading.
That is why the leg was removed and other organs received more surgery and treatment. Jay considers it an act of God that he is alive today.
Jay’s book,”Triumph Over Tragedy”, is an interesting tale of his early life and career in Bermuda, his move to the USA and more about the close tragedy with the wasp sting. It provides life experiences that strengthened his faith and got him through his life threating ordeal. A copy may be obtained by writing Jay at:
Jay D.K. Fox, Author, Orpheus Printing, 163 Drew Howard Road, Crossville, TN 38558. You can also reach Jay by phone at 931-210-7689 to find out the cost.