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Davenport man beats COVID-19 after 99 days in hospital, family says

Family said he spent 99 days at Genesis East Medical Clinic with 13 weeks of his stay being in the intensive care unit.
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A Davenport man is on the road to recovery after spending roughly three months in the hospital due to COVID-19 and other complications. The family of 64-year-old Randy Burke said he spent 99 days at Genesis East Medical Clinic with 13 weeks of his stay being in the intensive care unit.

“Didn’t feel good. Didn’t notice a whole lot for a couple of days. Actually slept a lot,” said Kathy Burke, Randy’s wife.

The Davenport couple are high school sweethearts and have been together for 40 years. Kathy said he made her a promise.

“I said you told me you’d never leave me and I said I’m holding you to that. You better never leave,” she said.

Cough and fever came. Kathy said he started to feel okay and then things took a turn on July 2nd.

“He said I feel like I have knives poking in my head. So I said, okay, I’m done. I called 911, and they got here and his blood oxygen was down to 63, which normal is between, you know, 95 and 100,” she said.

When he went in, he was diagnosed with extensive bilateral pneumonia and COVID-19. During his stay, he was put on a ventilator and had a tracheotomy. Several weeks into his stay they also found out he had a rotten gallbladder and had to remove that as well.

For the first several weeks Kathy wasn’t able to see Randy. He tested negative for COVID-19 after roughly 6 weeks. Through it all, he beat the coronavirus and so much more. Kathy said at times the outlook was gloomy, with the ICU nurses unsure how he would be between their shifts.

“...some of them said they didn’t know when they left work on a certain day if they were going to see him when they got there the next morning,” she said,"...he was that ill."

But Randy was a fighter and he had many people rooting for him. Family and friends used the hashtag #RallyforRandy on social media. He celebrated his 64th birthday the day before he was released, with the nurses surprising him with a decorated room.

“He was all surprised when we got back to the room. It was so [much] fun. They made things very joyous if you will. At a time where...well we didn’t know for sure. We didn’t know what the next day was going to bring,” she said.

The hospital staff sent him out with a celebratory parade leading out of the hospital doors. Cheers and chants filled the air. A moment of triumph for Randy and a new beginning.

“A couple of the nurses had told me that when they have people that have left the hospital, he’s been there probably one of the longest that they’ve had for this sort of deal, that they do do a parade through the hospital. So they did one through the floor that he was on and then I thought that was going to be it. Then we go down in the elevator and we’re walking out of the main part of the hospital and all those people were out there. I had no idea they’d be out there. That many of them. I mean like every department. I mean I was just...it was crazy. And then right by Randy, there were all the ICU nurses, and they had to all be there and his therapist and everything so it was incredible. It was incredible,” she said.

Kathy said the healthcare workers that helped Randy through this journey are all family now.

“They are the heroes. I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. They took care of him like he was their own. Like he, you know, he was their dad or their brother,” she said, “They really took such good care of him, and I can’t say enough about 'em,” she said.

Through it all, he beat the odds.

“Our general doctor said, you know, I honestly at one point Randy gave you 20% chance to make it,” she said, " “to have him be at the stage he is now, although we thought 14 weeks was a long time and it is. There have been others that have been longer and you just have, stay with it and stay strong and keep pushing on, you know. Keep giving them...try to give them hope.”

Randy has a long road ahead of him as he starts rehabilitation.

“The nurses told me in the beginning, the kind of thing they go by is for every week in the ICU, it’s a month’s recovery. So when you look at it that way. He’s got at least a year [of] recovery. I’m sure some are sooner than others but that’s what they kind of go by.”

During Randy’s stay, Kathy said the support of their 3 daughters and a host of family and friends took care of her.

“They’ve been here for all of it. Family has been fabulous. Without them I don’t know what I do,” she said

Kathy said when he spoke to him Monday morning his voice was sounding stronger. More like himself. He started his rehabilitation process at Manor Care and will eventually go to Genesis West.

Kathy said they’re looking forward to eventually going to Florida to visit family and take a walk along the beach. Something they love to do.

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