Big Dog Saloon owner fighting for his life
Randy Knight, owner of the Big Dog Saloon, is going on his second week in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Doctors say Knight is dealing with a combination of serious health issues: an aneurysm, kidney issues and COVID-19.
Monday, Nov. 16, Knight collapsed on the floor of his home on the Crooked River Ranch. A CAT scan at St. Charles Redmond detected a brain aneurysm, and Knight tested positive for COVID-19.
Doctors transferred Knight to St. Charles in Bend where he was admitted to ICU. He's on a ventilator, and doctors sedate him to keep his blood pressure from spiking and possibly aggravating the aneurysm.
"Randy probably doesn't know what's happened to him," says Melynda Lappin, the daughter of Knight's wife, Barb Knight. It was Lappin who discovered Randy collapsed on the floor. She says since he's been sedated, doctors haven't had many opportunities to evaluate whether the aneurysm has damaged Knight's brain function.
"We got a little win today," Lappin said Sunday. "They had him up long enough to evaluate. He could follow commands." The family celebrates every victory: His kidney function is improving, and while Knight is on a ventilator, his lungs now do more of the work by themselves.
Nurses have told the family to expect a long hospital stay for Knight, an expensive stay, and Knight has no health insurance.
"He didn't think it was necessary," says Randy's wife, Barb. "He was going to wait until his birthday." Randy Knight turns 65 in May, when he qualifies for free health care under Medicare.
The community is stepping in to help the Knights, just as Randy has done many times for others.
"He doesn't know a stranger," says Barb. "If somebody needs something, he's right there to help. He's got the good will of everybody who's on the ranch."
The Big Dog Saloon in Crooked River Ranch celebrated 18 years in business the day before Randy suffered his aneurysm. Over those 18 years, the Big Dog has hosted many fundraisers, auctions and celebrations of life.
"He's a community staple," says Lynnelle Morgan, who owns the Over The Edge Taphouse just down the road from the Big Dog. She set out a bucket for donations and collected $1,000 in one day. "Randy has always been a person who has gone above and beyond to help the community, especially veterans. He's just that kind of person."
A Go Fund Me account for Randy has raised close to $15,000.
"It's awesome," says Lappin, "but we still have a long way to go."
The Jefferson County Health Department will contact people who it knows have come into contact with Randy and Barb Knight. "If an individual believes they have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case or begins to show symptoms of a fever, shortness of breath, cough or loss of taste or smell, it is encouraged that they self-quarantine," says Tami Kepa'a, with the health department. Kepa'a says people with concerns should contact their local county public health to help determine if they need to quarantine.
Knight's wife, Barb, also tested positive for COVID, but she shows has no symptoms.
While Lappin and Barb quarantine at home, friends deliver their groceries, fetch their mail, and keep an eye on the saloon. Lappin keeps a journal of comments from friends to share with Randy when he's eventually able to appreciate the support.
HOW TO HELP:
Randy Knight's family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with medical bills.
It can be found at
Go Fund Me - Big Dog's Medical Bills.
STAY IN TOUCH:
A Caring Bridge site for Knight keeps friends and family updated on his condition.
It can be found at
Randy Knight - Caring Bridge.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.