A Montana man, Rudy Noorlander, who suffered a severe grizzly bear attack resulting in the loss of the front portion of his lower jaw, is now ready to return home after spending five weeks receiving medical treatment at a Utah hospital.
During a recent news conference held by his physician and family, Noorlander revealed what he is most looking forward to experiencing when he gets home.
His list included enjoying a root beer float, reuniting with his beloved Yorkshire terrier named Sully, and embracing the great outdoors once again.
Grizzly bear attack doesn’t deter Rudy
If he encounters another bear in the wild, the Navy veteran insisted that he would “win round 2.”
He mostly fielded questions by writing the answers on a white board, but is currently able to speak briefly, though it causes him pain and will require speech therapy to develop further.
The bear attack occurred on September 8 while Noorlander was assisting two two hunters in tracking a wounded deer.
The grizzly bear approached him rapidly, leaving him with insufficient time to deploy bear spray, and his gun misfired before he could get a shot off.
The attack occurred in the vicinity of Big Sky, a well-known resort area located approximately 55 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.
Noorlander, who operates a business renting out all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles in the area, had to be airlifted from the scene, a process that took several hours due to the threat of the bear attacking the helicopters and first responders.
How was Noolander saved after the grizzly bear attack?
He was initially taken to a hospital in Bozeman, Montana, where a tracheostomy was performed to facilitate breathing through his trachea, before being transported to a trauma center in Utah.
During a 10-hour surgical procedure twenty days later, Noorlander’s jaw and lower lip were reconstructed using a segment of his lower leg bone and transplanted skin. Additionally, dental implants were also inserted to recreate his lower teeth.
During the news conference, Noorlander’s adult daughters, Ashley and Katelynn, shared their firsthand accounts of the past five challenging weeks, supporting their father during his recovery journey.
How Rudy feels after the grizzly bear attack
Katelynn, reading a statement penned by her father, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support, love, prayers, and kindness from both friends and strangers on his healing journey.
“I’m going to be a free-range chicken and won’t be hooked up to anything,” he remarked.
“Only by the hands of God am I here,” Noorlander wrote. “I’ve had a lot of inspirations and I felt the need to share my story with others and, believe it or not, I believe that this attack was an answer to my prayers and that it could potentially help somebody else going through something similar.”
Noorlander declined to answer questions about the bear attack, preferring to tell the story on his own terms by potentially write a book about his extraordinary experience.
His family hopes he will be released from the hospital on Monday, as his last remaining medical hurdle is a minor wound under his chin that requires healing.
The medical team at University of Utah hospital is diligently working on gradually reintroducing solid foods to his diet without risking any potential infections.
Aside from the root beer float, attending the upcoming rivalry football game between the Montana Grizzlies and his team, the Montana State Bobcats, is on his to-do list.
His daughter noted that the experience has led him to develop a “a whole new hatred toward the University of Montana,” because of their mascot.