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Oklahoma firefighter overcomes COVID, double lung transplant

Randy Blake.jpg
Posted at 10:36 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 23:39:27-05

TULSA, Okla. — A Stillwater firefighter and father of four is on the road to recovery after a battle with COVID-19 led to a double lung transplant.

Captain Randy Blake thought he just had a sinus infection until one night last October when he struggled to breathe.

A trip to the ER that night led to nearly a week in the ICU at the Stillwater Medical Center. Then, two-and-a-half months at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, where he was on ECMO and a ventilator.

"That's when I was in a place where they didn't think I was going to make it," Blake said. "And they would call my children up to say goodbye to their dad."

COVID had wrecked his lungs. Doctors to him he needed a double lung transplant. So, he and his wife traveled to St. Joseph's Norton Thoracic Institute in Phoenix, AZ where Blake underwent transplant surgery.

Friday, after four long months in three hospitals, Blake got to leave.

He's forever grateful to the nurses, doctors, and the donor who saved his life.

“I think about the donor a lot," Blake said. "And cry pretty easy about that. I feel unworthy. It’s hard to celebrate when someone has to lose a life so that I can you know have a chance at life.”

Blake will stay in Phoenix for three more months while he rehabilitates his lungs. After that, he hopes to come home.

All he asks is that the community prays for him and that his new lungs work and don't reject him.

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