“My whole world was changed,” Woodward man paralyzed by West Nile Virus

WOODWARD, Okla. - Jimmy Robertson is recovering at a nursing home in Woodward after West Nile Virus left him paralyzed.

He says he doesn't even remember being bitten by a mosquito.

Jimmy Robertson and his girlfriend, Linda Meyer, spent many years square dancing.

Now, Robertson is confined to a wheelchair.

"He fell backwards, flat on his back and everything went stiff," said Meyer.

On July 21, Robertson could not move at all.

"They ran a bunch of MRIs, spinal taps, and all that stuff," said Robertson.

Doctors diagnosed Robertson with West Nile.

There are two types - the fever, which is not as serious, and Jimmy's, the neuro-invasive, which can cause more serious problems.

Before the diagnosis, Robertson says West Nile hadn't even crossed his mind.

"It's hard to believe that a mosquito bite can do that in the first place," said Roberson.

And both he and Meyer say they hadn't even seen many mosquitoes this summer.

"I wasn't even around a lot of mosquitoes this year, so I didn't, I never even thought about it," said Robertson.

"We don't have any water in the lily pond anymore and I don't have water standing in the dogs' [bowls]," said Meyer.

Health officials say West Nile can affect older people more, but Robertson says he was perfectly healthy before this hit.

Just a week before, he was helping build a house.

"When that one moment hit, my whole world was changed," said Robertson.

Robertson has regained the use of his hands and arms and is in physical therapy to try to stand and walk again.

They're hopeful he'll make a full recovery but they're taking it one day at a time.

"He's gonna make it and a lot of people are praying for us," said Meyer.

State health department officials say we're actually way behind on West Nile cases this year compared to last year.

Last year, Oklahoma saw 89 cases of West Nile.

So far this year, we've only had 14.

There is a benefit square dance for Robertson scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19.

If you would like to donate an item for the silent auction, call Katheryn Cole at (580) 922-5310.