A Friend in Need: Doug Thompson

To Doug’s friends and well-wishers…

I visited Doug yesterday in neuro-ICU (9th floor Carilion Memorial) where he has been for 10 days now. His status has been upgraded from critical to serious. For those of you, like myself, who have been so concerned about him, wanting to let him know of our prayers and best wishes for him, I suppose the good news is that he has been so heavily medicated that he would not have been able to accept your kindness had you reached him by phone or email in his hospital bed.

I told Doug that he did not look good in purple — which is his primary color at this point, bruised extensively from the trauma of his accident.  He opened one eye a few times in the short while I was there, but I don’t think he recognized me or was able to hear me, as he had just gotten a fresh dose of pain medication.

The head trauma injury seems to be resolving slowly. The temporal bone in front of the right ear was fractured, including the portion that forms part of the arch of the jaw.  Because of damage to his airway, I think I heard Amy say he was on a respirator for a while, but is no longer. He does still have some lung congestion, and there’s always the risk of pneumonia, so he is on a maintenance dose of antibiotics, as you might expect.

Orthopedically, the left arm and right foot and ankle are fractured.  His right arm and shoulder seem to be intact, and functionally, this is a good thing. I’m guessing it might be regaining a normal full-weight-bearing gait that will be the biggest obstacle to a return to full function.

I don’t pretend to know the full details of Doug’s condition from my brief visit and conversation with Amy yesterday. It seems certain that Doug is going to need our support through a long period of rehabilitation. I understand from Amy that a friend has offered the loan of his house, all on one level, that will make access much easier than home. But it is after Doug leaves the hospital that he and Amy will need the most help from us.

I’m sorry I don’t specifically remember visiting hours or Doug’s room number, but that information is available at the information desk at the hospital.  Amy has not been able to check Doug’s Facebook page, though I told her  that, at some point, it might do a world of good to have someone read aloud the long list of messages that have come to him over the last 10 days.

Thanks, Amy, for giving me permission to post this information to all those near and far who care about you and Doug.  We are waiting in the wings. God speed.

Share this with your friends!

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. Thank you Fred for the honest and hopeful information you’ve given us. Though I am not a personal friend of Doug’s, I am familiar with him through the Floyd Press and feel linked by our love of motorcycling. As a cyclist, I am acutely aware of an accident like Doug’s happening to any one of us. I am fervently praying for his recovery & rehabilitation as well as strength for Amy while she offers her support.
    God Bless,

  2. Thank you , Fred! So good to know a little something. I imagined offering some cranial sacral therapy when I read about the head injury, but even that seems intense for someone in this stage of recovery, i don’t know. If anyone feels moved, join me in sending him now your loving wishes, imagining that we can together give his body the energy to heal. I do know that will help. Blessings, Doug!!!
    about a minute ago

  3. Thanks so much, Fred. I suspect it was helpful to know you were there — or even to be told later that you were there. As bad as it is, it appears we could have lost a good friend. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks for the update, Fred. Let Amy know that our prayers are with them both…Even those of us who only know them “virtually” via the web.

  5. Thanks for the update, Fred. I’ve been checking a CHB page for news about Doug, but there wasn’t anything new as of a few minutes ago. I’m happy to know that he’ll return, one day, to afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

  6. Fred, thanks so much for posting this. Like so many others here in Floyd, I’m deeply concerned for Doug AND Amy. She also needs to know that the community is here for her at the drop of a hat.

    Jim Connor
    Floyd, VA

  7. Fred – Thanks so much for the update! Doug and Amy both have been on my mind all week! I used to work and live in Floyd and had lunch with Doug and others on many occasions when they would invite me to sit with them instead of sitting by myself. Doug was always so kind to me! As were many others in Floyd! I miss Floyd!

    Take care and Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. thanks for posting this… I’m a friend of Doug’s (and Amy) from his DC days and have been very concerned since hearing about his injury… I don’t know if there’s much I can do to help from the NoVa ‘burbs but Doug & Amy are in my thoughts and, as my New Orleans friends say, Mojo sent … I hope you’ll be able to update Doug’s progress for those of us who are farther away.