MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A retired Mooresville doctor contracted flesh-eating bacteria that nearly took his life. 

From Dec. 16 last year to March 30, Mark Peacock was in the hospital with injuries so gruesome we can’t share them. 

“Sheila tells me five times I was just about gone,” Peacock told Queen City News. “So, I mean, you know, we were calling family.” 

Somehow, he contracted what’s called Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a form of flesh-eating bacteria. 

“My left foot was swelling, turning red,” he said, “and initially I thought it was a flare of my rheumatoid arthritis.” 

To this day, he doesn’t know how he contracted the sometimes-deadly bacteria. He suspects it could have been while on a trip to a Florida beach or an oyster dinner. The infection caused blisters to form on his legs, shut down his kidneys and left him intubated in the hospital for 15 days. 

With the help of antibiotics, doctors and wife Sheila, Peacock started his slow and long road to recovery. The huge feat of standing, practicing muscle regeneration and nerve function, and eventually something that brought tears to his wife’s eyes: walking. 

Peacock doesn’t know if he’ll be able to drive again or do the same activities he once enjoyed. He still wears gloves that help him to open and close his hands. 

“If I were to take these off, my wrist flops down,” he said, “and it looks like a goose neck, actually.” 

Peacock, a former OB-GYN, doesn’t remember his whole stay in the hospital, but he knows who saved his life. 

“If this gives me a chance to thank all those people who helped me,” he said. “I’m very grateful to all those folks all that time, you know, very much so. 

He continued: “A lot of people went out of their way for me, so it’s my chance to thank them.” 

On Wednesday, Sheila and Mark will celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary. Months ago, they didn’t think they’d get to. Maybe when they said, “in sickness and in health,” this wasn’t what they had in mind, but they sure do a good job showing what love looks like. 

“I’m a full-time job, and she stuck it all the way,” Peacock said.