Let Doug Be Doug

Doug Thompson, as some of you know from FaceBook, has been moved out of neuro-intensive care — although he is still on the neuro floor. He is no longer on the feeding tube, and is able to eat thickened liquids.

He is no longer on the respirator and able to breathe more or less normally, though still at risk of pneumonia and on IV antibiotics.

He is no longer on IV pain meds but remains on swallowed pain meds. Today I came in as the nurses were encouraging him to do something usually private, in their way, and he would have none of it. That, dear folks, is the best sign that Doug is still with us.

Amy says he’s been a reluctant patient from the start, which is no great surprise. He’s not been capable of pulling it off, but he’s attempted a couple of jail breaks. Luckily Amy was there and the nurses call button at hand. Doug retains his strength, and simply pulled at a restraint (usually heavy nylon belts) until it broke. Don’t fence me in.

He has pivot transferred to a bedside chair, once, but there was not a bedside chair in the room today. I strongly encouraged Amy to be persistent until one is provided. For a number of reasons, Doug needs to be encouraged to sit up, with supervision, for increasing durations.

He will be non-weight bearing on his right foot and ankle for some while, but hopefully will start rehab for several weeks to regain balance, strength, endurance and agility before being discharged–with no date for that on the radar at this point.

Amy said a night or two ago he sat up in bed and said “I hit a cow. No. I almost hit a cow.” So his memory is coming back.

At some point, I wonder if Doug and Amy would benefit from a Benefit. Maybe a “Comfort the Afflicted Harley Rider” evening in Floyd. Just thinking out loud.

CAPTION: Doug would probably agree that, at our age, portraits are best when they are blurriest. Doug, shooting a public figure at the Floyd Country Store. So to speak.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. As a long-time reader of Doug’s websites, I somehow get the feeling that he would **hate** the idea of a benefit for him.
    He would appreciate the concern we have for his health and well-being, but a benefit?

  2. Great update. Even though I don’t live in Floyd or VA and never met Doug, our short time in Floyd and Floyd county this past Fall made a huge impression on hubby and me. As strange as this sounds, we felt more “home” in the Floyd County Store that Saturday afternoon, than we do when we are home in FL. The beauty of Floyd and Floyd county, the slower, lovelier pace of life and the PEOPLE made our visit feel so personal. So much so, since hearing of Mr. Thompson’s accident and reading his blog archieves, I feel as if he is a “neighbor” in my heart and have been adding my prayers to all the others for a full recovery. Thank you Fred.

  3. Thanks for providing curmudgeons like me who refuse to do Facebook with news about Doug! Blogs still have their place, methinks…