STREET, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland man is out of intensive care and recovering at home after his doctors think he contracted a dangerous bacteria from the Susquehanna River.
Ryan Perry is adjusting to life at home after 90 days in hospitals and two months in a rehab facility.
“I almost died. It’s amazing that I made it,” Perry said Friday. “Tomorrow’s not promised. You really just have to enjoy what you have today.”
Perry, 30, was diagnosed with meningitis and was treated with several antibiotics. Tests were sent off to the CDC and other hospitals but did not show any specific bacteria.
“Something had went up my nose, it showed on the MRI. And, it had worsened and went up to the upper lobe of my brain,” Perry said.
The infection attacked his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the neck down. Now, Perry can manage to take a few steps with the help of family and a walker.
“So scary. When he was at the University of Maryland, we thought he was going to die and the fact that he can talk is amazing,” Perry’s sister Jessica said.
Perry says the water the day of his jet-skiing May 8 was dirty.
“You can tell the water, sometimes, has like some foam running on it. And you’ll see the debris running down,” Perry said. “You can tell when the water is dirty.”
Perry’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help with his medical expenses, that have run into the six-figures.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health says the agency does not license the Susquehanna River, so there would not be any current advisories or warnings. He says people should take precautions in the Susquehanna River, especially after heavy rains which will exacerbate pollutants in the water.