What Happened

Quite a bit, actually. Here are just a few of the high points— and low points—of Randy’s recovery.

Even though this is just a sampling (as of December 2008 he’s had a total of 48 surgeries!), you’ll begin to understand why Randy believes that there’s something more important than one man’s ability to defy the odds going on. That maybe there’s something he needs to accomplish…

2000

Randy was in a persistent vegetative state Randy was in a “persistent vegetative state”

April 19, 2000
39 year-old Randy Hall was attacked near his store in Laguna. He was struck repeatedly on the left side of his head. He’s still fuzzy on the details, but says he’d like to thank his attacker for saving his life (see “Medical Miracle: two-year coma survivor defies odds” by Tom Berg, of The Orange County Register, January 6, 2008)
2008_medical-miracle

April 23, 2000
Randy’s girlfriend took him to Mission Hospital.

April 25, 2000
A nurse recognized Randy (she had seen him in 1998 when he’d suffered a heart attack) and called Randy’s mom.

April-May 2000
Randy underwent five surgeries on his brain, including removing a large piece of his skull. Repeated infections in shunts used to drain excess fluid slowed his recovery, and may have contributed to brain trauma. He began having seizures as a result.

September 2000
Randy was transferred to South Coast Medical’s coma ward. Doctors told Randy’s family that Randy only had about 30% brain function. The right side of his body was cold, clammy and unresponsive; little better on left side. He showed no response to sounds, and his eyes were usually closed.

December 2000
Randy’s brother Alan hired holistic health practitioner David Strassburg to perform the Feldenkrais Method of muscle exercise and training.

Additional Note
Orange County Sherriff’s Detective Hank Osterfield was assigned to the case. Randy’s girlfriend told Osterfield that Randy had started a fight in a bar, and that the investigation should be
terminated. Randy’s family disagreed.

2001

Hospital birthday party, including music, food, and Randy favorite cigars! Hospital birthday party, including music, food, and Randy’s favorite cigars!

Early 2001
Randy was able to open his left eye for brief periods when someone manually flexed his legs. However, he remained in a “persistent vegetative state.” His muscles atrophied and began to curl into a fetal position.

December 2001
Randy’s family and friends gathered at the hospital to celebrate Randy’s birthday. Randy was still classified as comatose, but for awhile he was “awake” enough to appreciate the party.

2002

January 2002
Dr. Michael Muhonen performed surgery on Randy’s skull to “normalize” atmospheric pressure on Randy’s brain.

February 2002
Over about two weeks in February, Randy, then 41, came out of his coma.

May 2002
Randy continues to improve. He was transferred to Lake Forest Nursing Center.

July 2002
Randy is moved to Casa Colina where he could get more frequent physical and occupational therapy.

Finally - a smile
Finally – a smile.

Re-training Randy arms to work together
Re-training Randy”s arms to work together.

Stretching atrophied leg muscles was painful, but necessary
Stretching atrophied leg muscles was painful, but necessary.

August 29, 2002
“A Two-Year Nightmare” published in The Orange County Register.
2002_two-year-coma
September 2002
For the first time since he entered the hospital, Randy left for a brief drive with his brother Alan. They ended up spending four hours at a Japanese restaurant! On another outing, Alan took Randy to his home, but he didn”t remember it. However, since certain landmarks were familiar, Alan was encouraged.
Even little things like brushing his own hair constituted as a milestone
Even little things like brushing his own hair constituted as a milestone.

Randy's brother Alan took him on an outing to the zoo
Randy’s brother Alan took him on an outing to the zoo.

2003

February 2003
Randy finally moved back home!

June and September 2003
Randy had surgery on his right, then left eye at USC’s Doheney Eye Institute to correct alignment.

September 2003
Randy entered Coastline Community College’s program for brain injured students.

November 2003
One of the shunts in Randy’s head was found to be infected, a very dangerous situation because the infection could travel to his brain. Randy was given antibiotics, but because of the blood-brain barrier, it was unclear whether they were doing any good. He had surgery to remove the right shunt; they waited to see if the infection had spread. It had. Late in November Randy had surgery to remove an abscess the size of a tennis ball from his right brain hemisphere.

Kayaking with his brother in Belmont Shore
Kayaking with his brother in Belmont Shore.
Randy visits the Pacific Symphony and chats with the director, and old friend
Randy visits the Pacific Symphony and chats with the director, and old friend.
Randy's new roomate
Randy’s new roomate.

2004

2005

February 2005
In an effort to help him regain the ability to walk, Randy had two surgeries to remove excess bone growth on his hip and knee and slice tendons to allow them to stretch.

February 17, 2005
“Reclaiming His Life” published in The Orange County Register.
2005_reclaiming-his-life

2006

2007

Early 2007
Randy walked without crutches or a walker!

2008

Randy and brother Alan outside Randy's store Randy and brother Alan outside Randy’s store.

January 6, 2008
“Medical miracle: two-year coma survivor defies odds” published in The Orange County Register.

February 2008
Randy drove a car for the first time since April 2000!

2009

More to come…