West Nile Virus patient talks about his ordeal

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For the last seven years Bobby Faulks has been the clinical lead at a local hospital, focusing on labor and delivery.

He says his job is less scientific and more technical; which is one reason why he never really concerned himself with West Nile Virus. He was always out and about.

“Always out camping, hiking, running around I probably stay out 80% of the daytime,” says Faulks.

That all changed after a trip with his grandson to Lake Lahontan. He returned home from the lake and started packing for another trip to the Sacramento Delta. He says he wasn’t feeling up to snuff prior to the road trip, and as he drove down the highway, it just got worse.

“I just all of a sudden, I just hit a wall. You know I said I've got to get where I'm going and lay down,” Faulks says.

By the end of the week, his girlfriend encouraged him to go to a local hospital.

“Didn't diagnose anything, I wasn’t getting any better after leaving,” says Faulks.

With no diagnosis they returned to the campground. But by the next morning his girlfriend said it was time to go back to Reno and head to an emergency room.

“I finally had a temperature, 103 and that opened up a few doors for what they look for. Did a spinal tap on me, sent it off, took a couple of days, came back West Nile,” says Faulks.

For four days he says he was in the most incredible pain he had ever experienced. Faulks experienced headaches, a stiff neck, and he could not move. Faulks was diagnosed with the more severe form of West Nile.

The neurological form affects about one in 150 people diagnosed with West Nile. There is no cure, patients must just ride out the impact of the virus.

“I can't hit a bingo ticket, but I can get the one fly that flew over on a duck from where ever West Nile is and got me,” says Faulks.

In fact, the disease is carried by a mosquito and Faulks says he never found the bite mark. Faulks is back at home and says he's slowly getting back to normal.

He says much like the onset of the disease, his energy level comes and goes. He says he hopes to be back in the O.R. within the next two weeks.