Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at 11:52 pm 17 comments

Hi folks,

First of all, Dan pointed out that some of you out there may not know who I am. I obviously find that hard to believe, but I guess there could be people out there thinking "Joe? Doug doesn't have a brother named Joe…?" Unless, of course, he does. Everytime I turn around it seems that I meet another Markgraf. Anyway: Hi, my name's Joe. I'm the captain of the Drexel Cycling Team. Between work, class, and the visiting hour restrictions it's a little difficult for me to spend as much time at the hospital as I'd like, but I have to take care of my guys, especially one of my favorites. So, I'm doing this because it's something that I can do for Doug.

Now the real stuff: As planned, early this morning they started reducing the sedatives Doug's on. Seemingly it went better than expected as one of the two is already not being fed to him at all. However, it will linger in his body for some time yet and as of tonight, he is still on a reduced supply of a second sedative. Also, please keep in mind he's not going to pop back awake once they've both worked through his system. This is just going to lift the deep, induced coma that was put on to alleviate the swelling. It could be some time yet before he regains consciousness. But, this is a start.

In addition, Doug had another CT Scan done today, which showed no change and is also a good thing. Tomorrow he'll have another scan done after pumping xenon gas through his inhaler, which will then spread through his body like oxygen and enable better scans. I think we're all learning about all manner of medical techniques and tools as the days go by.

The regular scans of various kinds are actually kind of funny, because they often wheel him out past the waiting room and its constant crowd of supporters. Except for late in the day, I don't think I've been there and seen less than 7 people hanging out, even despite not being able to visit his room. Today I happened to be there when he came back from the scan and as everyone jumped up to watch him go by it was like the momentary sighting of a great celebrity. Which, you know, it pretty much was. It is Doug after all.

Unfortunately, there are a few, more downbeat, items from today. Some of you have already heard this, but on Thursday Doug's going to have a tracheostomy performed on him to provide a more direct airway. He will also have a filter inserted to prevent blood clots reaching his heart, and will also have a feeding tube placed into his stomach. None of these are bad or signs of trouble, they're just things that have to be done as part of a long road to recovery. Jen and Dan wanted to bring this up because the trach tube in particular may be disconcerting to the visitors that we hope will be able to see Doug in the near future. It will be a little off-putting, but as I understand it will allow some of the current air tubes to be removed, and will greatly reduce the chances of irritation, infection, and pneumonia. Once it's not needed anymore it will be removed and will heal right over, leaving just a little scar.

That's not a good way to end things though, so I do have one more piece of seemingly good news: Doug moved today. Just reflex actions, but it sounded great to me. His arms, chin, and shoulders all twitched and shifted slightly at different points of the day. It seemed to be his bodily unconsciously moving slightly to get more comfortable. Not a clear sign of anything, but a positive sign none the less.

The last thing I wanted to close out tonight with is that we're hoping everyone can take a few moments every now and then to post on here your own Doug Tales, little stories and memories of Doug that you have. I know some of the guys already have in the comment to yesterday's update, and we all hope we can keep that going. I thought I'd start mine by sharing my favorite Doug Tale.

Many of you know that this year the cycling team ordered new kits (race clothing). It'd been three or four years since we had and a lot of the guys, including Doug, had been racing in non-team clothes. When I got Doug's order he'd put himself down for a lot of stuff. Before his co-op he never had scratch money for anything so I gave him a call and asked if he was sure he wanted to get all that. He told me he'd ordered stuff for him and his mom, and that he'd make the money work because he was getting a bunch of extras so he could make sure nobody else ever had to race without one again. It was great. Sometimes I get really frustrated at the team and the extreme amounts of time it can absorb, and him doing that was really one of the things this year that convinced me it's all worth it.

So, that's part of my Doug. What about you?

– joe 


Entry filed under: update.

Stimuli Quiet

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kate McCreary  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 2:02 am

    I’ve been able to think of a few special Doug Tales, and the one that might be easiest to describe is my first official conversation with Doug. I had just joined the robotics team at the end of my freshman year at Wissahickon (it was Doug’s senior year), and the team was at an off-season competition. Being completely intimidated by the entire robotics thing, I didn’t really ask many questions, but just took everything in. He actually walked up to me as the robot was being taken to a match and asked if I had any questions about the robot. By asking maybe two questions, he ended up pretty much telling me about the entire drive train and functions in full detail. Although I had NO idea what he was talking about, I loved that he was very open to help out and teach. To this day, I still admire and look up to him because he just seems to know everything.

    I know he’ll get through this and my prayers are for him and the Markgrafs every night. We love ya Doug!

    -Kate McCreary

  • 2. Alan Ostrow  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 2:11 am

    There are many stories both funny and serious that I could relay about Doug. But one always makes me think of who Doug is as a human being. After a stellar 4 year career on the Robotics team his final trip to Nationals ended on a sour note. It was a trip filled with difficult times, bad luck and controversy. When we returned from the trip everyone was feeling down. Doug himself was a senior and had already fulfilled all of his obligations to the team. No one would have faulted him for just walking away like mostly everyone did.
    But that is not Doug’s way. Instead of leaving with bitter feelings, he traveled with me to an elementary school and sat on the floor for four hours teaching little kids all about our machines. I just sat there and watched Doug surrounded by children, hanging on his every word. It has always amazed me how he takes all of the negative energy in his life and turns it into something positive, something he can give back to someone else. That is how I think of Doug and this positive energy is exactly what is going to bring him through his recovery!!

  • 3. DBs  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 2:51 am

    I have so many Doug Tales. One of the ones that I’m most anxious to repeat is our guitar jam sessions and open mics. I sing and write lyrics but guitar is definitely not my strong point in the music biz. But as many of you know, it is one of the many Douggie talents. Last year I had a “gig” at Ross Commons. Doug agreed to spend countless hours with me, helping me play guitar for a few covers and even writing a beautifull guitar part for one of my originals which he played that night. We shared the stage and he even played a few songs of his own for the audience. I loved hearing him sing. It takes you away to this beautifull place. I can’t wait to sing to him and hear him singing and playing again.

  • 4. Caitlin Bjellquist  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 7:55 am

    I haven’t known Doug that long, and I don’t know him through cycling or robotics or highschool or drexel or music or anything like that. However I do have a story to share… Last weekend Doug rode his bike to my house (a mere 100 miles from Philly) and though that in itself is a true DougTale, I want to tell you about what we did once he arrived. Doug told me he likes to go on dates that involve putting eachother in new situations, just to see how eachother will react. So I asked him just how tired he was when he got here, and in true Doug fashion– he could probably ride another 100 miles… so we went ice skating. I knew he was an agressive inline skater, so he’d be all over it– and I’d get a free lesson cause I’ve never been ice skating. I actually ended up not needing his help so much, though he was quick to add pointers whenever he deemed it necessary… I took a break and let him get some speed and do his thing– and of course, he’s skatin around at 50 miles an hour, pickin up a leg, spinning, doing fancy footwork– watch out brian boitano, Doug Markgraf is comin… and then for the last skate around, he fell… and took me with him. Our only fall of the night and what I think is most important… we got back up. Doug gets back up. Which is a good thing because I think we have a real chance at winning in pairs figure skating at the next winter olympics… I’ll keep workin on my skills Doug for the next time we go… God Bless.

  • 5. Haroon Ahmad  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 10:52 am

    there are many stories of Doug i could share but that could take awhile. but the first thing that came to my mind was when we first became good friends. our sophmore year in high school, i had just joined the robotics team, and Doug had already been there for a year. i had no idea what i was doing, but Doug, being the guy he is, showed me around, and helped me out all the time. by the time we were seniors there were plenty of times Doug has helped and guided me through times i was lost. now we both go to Drexel and we are still good friends. just recently, he came over when i was having some problems with my bike, and offered to machine a whole new piece for it. im glad i have a great friend and i dont think there is enough i can give back to him.

  • 6. Kristin Imhoff  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve known Doug for two years and I can’t think of a single DougTale! I have classes with the guy. Sit next to him in lecture. We write nonsense on each other’s notes in Thermo lecture. He shares his Vault soda with me (which, by the way, Doug, you had me hooked on for a while…).
    Doug was one of the first guys I met when I came to Drexel. He always makes time to talk to me. We’ve had late night talks about random stuff on more than one occasion.
    Doug, you’re in my thoughts all the time right now, as you are with countless other people. We all know you’re going to bounce back.

    Oh yeah, thanks for flashing me last week… :p

  • 7. Sarah Exley  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    okay. i have many doug tales but one that will always stand out in my mind is when i used to live in ambler… and there was this huge snow storm… 3, maybe 4 feet of snow came this one day. and i was sitting in my family room in my pajamas… a little out of it since i probably had just woken up, and the doorbell rings. it’s douglas markgraf, on his bike, no less. he wanted to go for a ride in the snow and biked a couple miles all the way to my house on unplowed roads. i was beside myself with excitement but i was also a little embarrassed because i looked like a mess! doug didn’t care. we just had some hot chocolate, talked up a storm, probably played a couple games, and then i saw him out the door. the snow was still coming down pretty hard but doug assured me he’d make it back just fine. and he did.

  • 8. Karen Prior  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    Oh man..I lived upstairs from Doug all last year and we got really close, so there are many, many Doug Tales I could write about, but I’ll just use the first one that pops into my head…Doug and I did our 5 hours of community service together at a soup kitchen. after the last one, we walked all the way to Geno’s for philly cheesesteaks (which were pretty good, i might add. We got lost on our way, so we basically just walked almost all of Philly until we finally found the place. It was so much fun cause we just got to talk and make jokes about how bad the two of us are with directions haha..I’m pretty sure Balaji was there too that time. How three people can get lost with realatively easy directions is beyond me, but we managed it somehow. Its memories like that that make me wish I never transfered. I miss Drexel and especially Doug. And doug has to get better cause he needs to visit me in the foothills in upstate New York!

  • 9. judy  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    oh, doug. who else waltzes on rooftops at one in the morning??

  • 10. Aaron Deininger  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Doug went to mattison avenue, at mattison you knew everyone. Doug and my sister were in 3rd grade and I had just started kindergarten. There was a green truck on the playground, I used to play on it. One day a big bad 3rd grader came up to me, I thought he was going to kick me off but no he wanted to play with me. For the rest of that year me and doug pretended to be Bill Nye and played everyday on the firetruck. And then again in 9th grade doug was a senior and even though I was a lowly freshie he remembered elementry school and said hi to me as we passed in the hallway everyday. It was doug’s kind heart and unparrelled thoughtfullness that made him the amazing person he is today. Stay a fighter Doug!
    ~Aaron Deininger

  • 11. Connie Fiorentino  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    Rather than a DougTale I thought I would reassure those of you who are looking forward to visiting Doug as soon as it is allowed. I work as a Critical Care Nurse and have experience with trachs and feeding tubes (PEG tube). First, neither a trach or a PEG should cause any difficulty for even the most squeamish visitor. The trach site will be covered with a white plastic “holder” and that is all you will see. The PEG site will be hidden under the hospital gown. Once the trach is in place the tubes and white tape on Doug’s face will be removed so you will all be able to get a good look at Doug when you do visit.Second, a trach can and frequently is removed once the person is able to breath unassisted. The PEG will be removed once Doug is able to consume enough to meed his body’s needs. Both sites will heal with a small scar, about the size of the tip of a thumb. Doug will join an elite group of former trached patients like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Elizabeth Taylor, neither of whom seem to have suffered from the experience! Take heart, this is the first step in a long recovery, but it is a step.

  • 12. Zach Markgraf  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    I have now found myself sitting here above this laptop staring at this sea of beautiful praises and promising thoughts and i slowly begin to see my worrys float away. Everyone is helping Me, and the rest of my family to conquer through this so well and there is not much i can say, other than that I love Doug in such a strong way, and through my entire life he has always been the one for me to go to. Even though I’m sure he was annoyed more times than not he will never stop being such an amasing Friend, Boyfriend, Robotics Team Member, Cyclist and over all Brother.

    I love you man, Please Stay Strong.


  • 13. SAB  |  Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Heh heh. Naked pizza guy *nod nod*

  • 14. Shannon Farley  |  Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 1:19 am

    Doug and I talked online all the time awhile back,one night i mentioned that i had nothing to do for the upcomming weekend,and Doug invited me to a party at one of his friends houses. On Thursday night i fell really ill, but i didn’t want to let Doug down so on Friday night I changed out of my pajamas hopped on a train and met Doug in Jenkintown (one stop in the wrong direction from where we were going) We then waited there for the next train in the right direction for an hour. On the train we swapped i-pods and played music for one another. The whole traveling ordeal (from arrival at jenkintown to the house where the party was)took about three hours in total. Once we arrived at his friends house I immediatly fell asleep from a combination of fever reducers, headache medications and exhaustion. Doug sat with me all night and made sure that I was okay. It’s one of the nicest things anyones ever done for me… He’s a great guy.

    Then there was the time, Steve, Doug and I went to get pizza and a bucket of wings from the Greek pizza place and all the small children were talking to us.

    and when I rode the trolley with Doug and Andy for the first time ever in my life.

    AND the night when I somehow wound up with Evan after just meeting him, which is a memory of Doug in it’s own way.

    Oh Oh Oh and…I also enjoy cleaning his and Andy’s bathroom every three to five months… it makes my life worth living

  • 15. judy  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 12:34 am

    as has been mentioned before, doug is a scrapper. but few have seen him doing battle for his honor in the world’s finest game: pretty pretty princess.

    it was some kind of amazing.

  • 16. Jessi Kaestle  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    I think my most fond DougTale was freshmen year right before halloween. Doug was planning on going out on Critical Masscarade as a clown in a suit. He had this thrift store suit that looked like it belonged back in the ’70’s and this hat, and he asked me to give him a clown face. I met up with him in his room and basically spent the entire time talking and forgetting that I still had to make a clown out of him, in the end there was 20 minutes before he had to be at City Hall and I still hadn’t done anything, I then proceded to make the worst clown out of him with a lopsided face and overgrown mouth. He then left looking quite “interesting” as I would say, and came back with it running and looking even worse. Come on Doug, we still have yet to do Mass together…

  • 17. Lori Martin  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    my favorite doug tale… i had heard about doug before i met him and his reputation is amazing! even after meeting him i didn’t realize how awesome he was until i had a chem problem…a big one. so he helped me online for like 3 and half hours! although it ended it up not mattering at all, he refused to quit until we solved it together. he never gives up…he always finishes what he started…
    god i wish i could be there, up here stranded in towanda… get better dougie! luv ya and thinkin about u all the time!


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