Randy is originally from Cook, MN and graduated from Cook HS Class of 1971. His parents Albin & Irene "Batko" Novak had four boys Dale, Roger, Harvey, and Randy. After high school, Randy moved to Coon Rapids, started a Pipefitter apprenticeship and attended Dunwoody College of Technology. Randy met and married the "love of his life" Dawn over 40 years ago. Randy & Dawn have spent most of their years living just north of Becker. They have two daughters and their families: 1. Stacey, grandchildren Bryan, Shallamar; 2. Stephanie (Joe), grandchildren Andrew (U S Marine), Kayla. Randy also has many brothers from his forty-two years working as a Local 539 Pipefitter. He retired three and one half years ago. Randy has always valued and enjoyed his family, friends, and a rich simple life. Randy & Dawn have spent years enjoying their place up north at Big Fork. Randy enjoys fishing, hunting, gardening, grilling, cooking, fairs/festivals, eating out, funny jokes and watching sports, educational/ game shows. The Novak homestead has four golden chickens spoiled by Randy with daily treats and kale..... they are always ready for Randy to pet them. Randy has a special place in his heart for wildlife, and he never hunts on his own land. He is a big time bird lover, providing houses and feeding for many varieties. He is especially fascinated with hummingbirds and orioles. Gradually coaxing them with food, Randy became friends with his pet chipmunks at both places and a pet fox up north. Randy enjoys his day-to-day life very much.
On Monday August 8th, Randy started feeling like he had the flu. He was extremely fatigued, but couldn't sleep day or night. Randy ate very little as he had no appetite. He had severe pain in his legs/ hips for three days. Then the severe pain left Randy's legs/hips to move into his lower back. Late Sunday afternoon August 14th, the severe pain let up substantially but it wasn't gone ..... Randy then collapsed and his lower half became paralyzed. He began to run a fever overnight and finally he agreed to let Dawn take him in to Monticello Hospital 4am Monday, August 15th. Monticello Hospital thought Randy had a stroke and transferred him right away to St Cloud Hospital.
St Cloud Hospital tested Randy for multiple diseases which took a couple days. In the meantime, Randy developed a rash all over his body with the fever. On Wednesday, the neurologist and internal medicine specialists gave a diagnosis of West Nile Virus. Randy & Dawn were told at that time that Randy would probably never walk again and there was a 10% chance that he wouldn't make it. The West Nile Virus was throughout his body and it had inflamed Randy's spine. Later on Wednesday, the virus had spread to the brain causing delirium. Delirium meant Randy no longer recognized anyone and wasn't able to cooperate. Then by Friday August 19th, Randy developed pneumonia, high fever and low blood pressure requiring him to be put on antibiotics and moved to intensive care about 9:30pm.
There is no treatment for West Nile Virus. Randy's medical staff needs to treat any other symptoms and make him comfortable, while waiting for the virus to leave the body which can take months. The neurologist estimates Randy was infected by the mosquito at their home three to five days before he started feeling any symptoms. Only one in five people infected will experience symptoms. Only 1% of those infected will experience the type of severe symptoms Randy has. See attached. http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms
Randy was very careful about using bug spray because he was trying to avoid ticks.
Randy couldn't breath and was put on a ventilator once he arrived in Intensive Care on late Friday night, August 19th. There was much concern if Randy would make it at that time. The days and nights go on. The medical staff works on their plan hour-by-hour and day-by-day ......very gradually improving Randy's status overall but with continuous set backs ..... very gradually pulling him further away from the possibility of dying. Randy's medical team constantly has needed to adjust sedatiion levels, pain medication, antibiotics, ventilator breathing levels, oxygen levels and blood pressure dosage against Randy's pneumonia, tremors, blood pressure drops/spikes, oxygen drops/spikes, heart rate drops/spikes, infection, etc. Quite an amazing balancing act trying to get rid of the pneumonia and get Randy off the ventilator hoping to get him to breath on his own. The pneumonia has been gone for four days which was a big risk factor for not making it.
Today is Friday, September 2nd. Randy had a trach placed in his throat to help him breath from instead of the ventilator. He also had a tube placed in his stomach for feeding, instead of a tube through the throat. These are the next steps to help Randy through the recovery process. Randy is currently partially paralyzed, but only time will tell to what extent and rehabilitation will help him recover. Yesterday he was started on two antibiotics again because his white count was up..... it is reversing already. Randy's blood pressure is finally under better control after many adjustments (It doesn'the help that Randy's blood pressure has always gone off the charts anytime he is anywhere near a doctor). This last week, the medical team has had Randy off the ventilator for about four hours a day, breathing on his own using the CPAP machine. Randy has received excellent care by the medical team at St Cloud Hospital.
Tentative plans are for Randy to be transferred to Bethesda Hospital, St Paul on Wednesday, September 7th. Bethesda Hospital is one of two long-term acute care hospitals in Minnesota qualified to care for Randy's complications. Bethesda specializes in brain/spine related rehabilitation, speech rehabilitation, getting patients off the ventilator, etc.. https://www.healtheast.org/bethesda/about-bethesda/about.html
Dawn and the entire family want to thank everyone for your overwhelming support and prayers. It is very much appreciated.
We would so appreciate if you would continue to keep Randy in prayer.
Randy as of late afternoon Thursday, September 8th
Bethesda Hospital "6 West" Room "679 " Phone Number "651-326-2300"
Cell phones aren't allowed in the rooms at Bethesda. If you call Dawn and her cell is off, you will receive a message that she is not available .... leave a message for her to call you. If you need to reach her right away, call the Bethesda number above.
Bethesda Hospital has a pay parking ramp. It does have a vehicle height limit of 6'5", which can be a problem for larger trucks. There is some street parking with a two hour limit.
Dawn has not been able to access any messages left on Randy's cell.
Dawn gets up early to make sure she doesn't miss any visits from doctors or other medical staff. If you plan to visit after 7:30pm in the evening, it helps her to know you are coming so she doesn't go to bed early.
Randy is experiencing delirium.. It is helpful to tell him your name, how you know him, stories about what you have done together, etc. Pictures may help. You may be the person who helps bring Randy out of delirium so please do visit sometime.
Randy & Dawn's daughter Stephanie was interviewed by Fox 9 and the Becker Newspaper. Stephanie is very concerned about this happening to anyone else and wanted to get the word out. The Becker Newspaper article also provides interesting background information about West Nile Virus in Minnesota. Here are the links if you haven't seen
Randy's West Nile Virus story Fox9 News
Citizen Tribune Paper, Becker, Minnesota
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