OZZY OSBOURNE SAYS HE HAD THREE SEPARATE STAPH INFECTIONS IN HIS THUMB
Kory Grow of Rolling Stone reports:
Ozzy Osbourne knew he had a problem when he saw that his right thumb had swollen to “the size of a f–kin’ lightbulb.” After a Salt Lake City gig earlier this month, he had trouble putting on a thumb ring he regularly wears. The digit got larger overnight until it was 10 times bigger than usual. “I freaked out,” he says. He showed it to his wife and manager, Sharon, and she took him to the emergency room, where he learned he’d contracted a potentially deadly staph infection. Ozzy subsequently postponed four shows and focused on his treatment…
…When he went to the ER, he was feeling normal; he didn’t have a temperature or other ailments. He just had a giant thumb. “I didn’t feel sick, so I was cracking jokes,” he says. “The doctor said, ‘I don’t know if you realize, Mr. Osbourne, this is a very serious problem you have.’ Sharon said, ‘Would you stop f–king making jokes?’” He laughs. “So I said, ‘Well, it’s my hand.’” The thing was, nobody was laughing. “They’re all extremely, deadly serious about it,” he says. “I judge it based on the expression and the body language of the doctor. If he comes in with a really solemn face, I go, ‘Oh, OK. My time to go is up.’” He laughs.
After examining him, the doctors realized he didn’t have just one staph infection but three individual ones in his thumb – and one had spread to his middle finger. A staph infection occurs when otherwise normal germs on a person’s skin find a way into a person’s bloodstream, at which point they could turn deadly if not treated. Jaws actor Roy Scheider and former secretary of state Alexander Haig both died of them. After the doctors explained what happened to Ozzy, he grasped the gravity of the situation and underwent surgery in his hand.
First, the doctors froze his thumb. Then they went in. “You put your thumb in front of your face on your right hand, they went in by the side of the nail on the left side for the flesh under the nail,” he says. “They cut all this stuff out. Even with the numbing stuff, it was agony. It wasn’t pus, but it was the stage after pus, when it gets in the blood and goes in your body and f–king kills you. It may sound f–ked up what I’m saying to you, but he was really concerned about checking my blood.”
At one point, he asked how he could have gotten it. “The doctor said to me, ‘Can you remember talking to someone and shaking hands?’” Osbourne recalls. “Well, I do that meet and greet at the gig and I must shake f–king 200 hands a day. He said, ‘That explains it.’”
They put him on drip and pill antibiotics, which knocked him out. “I could hardly move,” he says. “I really had no energy.” The thing that “got [him] out of the blues” was eating ice cream, he says…
…Once he made it home, he realized he had a whole other set of problems. “I haven’t been able to do anything,” he says. “I’m right-handed. You can’t wipe your own ass. And I didn’t have many fucking volunteers who would do it for me.” Osbourne laughs…
…Now he’s just looking forward to getting back onstage. “I was really looking forward to doing the Hollywood Bowl,” he says. “I’m going to make those shows up next year. It could have been a lot worse. I could have been dead.”
Read more at Rolling Stone.