MESQUITE –– It's taken Jon Langley an entire year to get to stand upright again, even with help, for only 20 exhausting seconds.
Langley, a 54-year-old Mesquite resident, was diagnosed with West Nile virus last July. He woke up one day paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe.
He's not alone. Last year, one-third of nearly 2,000 West Nile cases in the United States were from Texas. Dallas County accounted for the most in the state at 371 cases.
"I'm still kind of baffled that a mosquito did this," says Langley, "You know, how do you know where you got it? I think I got it in my yard, building a fence."
His wife, Timora Langley, said she was afraid her husband was going to die.
Thanks to her help and painful daily in-home therapy, however, Langley can finally move his hands and legs and sit up without help.
As he talks, there's a wheeze in his voice. It comes from a hole in his throat, where a trach tube was removed less than a month ago. He is slowly fighting his way back from West Nile virus, determined.
"I'm not going to let some bug destroy my whole life," Langley said. "It's not going to happen. It made a mess of me and it's going to take me a while to get back but I'll get back."
Langley is currently on disability, but hopes to return to his job as fleet manager for Dallas County as soon as he can.
Should anyone wish to donate to the Langleys, they can do so under a Paypal account named "Timora Langley" and email@example.com.