The Beatles famously sang about getting by with a little help from their friends and for local musician and videographer Jason Yu, these words have never been more true. Yu was recently hospitalized and his sister has organized a GoFundMe to help him cover medical expenses.
A few weeks ago Yu began a new medication and then a few days later began to experience uncomfortable blisters in his mouth and on his skin. He did some research online and when his symptoms became worse a few days later he decided to visit CareNow Urgent Care in River Oaks.
Yu was lucky enough to come across a doctor who took his symptoms seriously and suggested he go to the hospital immediately as that doctor believed Yu was experiencing a serious and potentially fatal side effect called Stevens-Johnson syndrome in response to the medications he had been prescribed.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a very rare and serious reaction to certain medications causing a burn like rash on the face, body, mouth, eyes targeting the mucous membranes of the body including in the intestines. It can lead to severe damage to the body and death as patients can go into shock, pneumonia and experience serious infections.
This "rash" caused a significant change to Yu's appearance as can be seen in the following photo and in an earlier photograph on his GoFundMe page.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is also more common in people of Asian descent and Yu’s father is Chinese. Thankfully because doctors identified and treated Yu so quickly, he should make a full recovery but has a long, painful, and costly, way to go.
“It could have been really bad but because I got it early, don’t get me wrong it still covered my whole body, but the skin lesions still weren't as bad as they could have been,” says Yu who is now out of the hospital after almost two weeks at UTMB in Galveston. Despite his horrible and uncomfortable experience, he has nothing but praise for his medical team.
Yu had to have a feeding tube in order to get any nutrition and he lost 20 pounds in only a couple of weeks. He says he can now eat liquids and purees and is feeling stronger every day.
Doctors also placed a protective lens in Yu’s eye in order to protect it from losing vision permanently. They expect he should make a full recovery.
Aside from being an active musician playing rhythm guitar, bass and vocals for The Molly Jones, a local Beatles cover band, and The Monicas, a ‘90s cover band, Yu is an active videographer and has made many music videos for some Houston’s most active musicians. He also serves as MC for Bohemeo's weekly Beatles open mic night, which has been live streaming every Wednesday during COVID.
Yu has received support from his musical community as last week fellow Beatles cover band, Beetle played their 28th live streamed weekly show and donated all proceeds to Yu’s GoFundMe which was set up for his sister to go towards the massive medical bills he has accrued.
Luba Dvorak also raised funds for Yu during his weekly Wednesday Ramble, Yu directed Dvorak's video for his song “American Sin” this year.
As Dvorak said on his Facebook, Yu is "a staple at the Continental Club" often playing there with his bands and directing videos for other Continental regulars. This year Yu also released the playful video for Allen Hill’s catchy single “Fanny Pack.”
“Just the support and love from everyone has just been crazy,” says Yu who is now recovering at his sister's home. “I'm so grateful.” Yu is originally from England but has been in Houston for over 20 years and his friends across the pond even arranged for him to receive a special get well message from Frank Turner.
Anyone who knows Yu or has shared a dance floor with him at a show can attest to his positive and friendly energy. Even though he’s had a rougher year than most, Yu remains optimistic saying, “Gotta keep that live music spirit alive.”
To help out Jason Yu with his medical expenses as he works toward full recovery, visit his GoFundMe page.
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