Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 6:44 am 8 comments

Hi folks,

Today for the most part I have only even better things to report. Wednesday went even better than Tuesday. Let me relate what really kicked it off. Doug did move into his new room as planned. Later, a representative from the hospital he’ll be moving to in a few days came by to evaluate his condition. At some point they were filling out paperwork and asked Dan for Doug’s social security number. Dan couldn’t remember, so just as a joke he asked Doug. Doug started flashing the numbers with his fingers. In fact, he was doing it too fast for them to catch. After a moment of surprise, they gave him a piece of paper & a pen, and he wrote it down.

That’s where we stand. Doug’s definitely awake, and making significant communication through writing. He still can’t speak, but that’s likely to be as much from irritation of his vocal chords and the tracheostomy than anything else. He knows his SSN, knows who people are, and can communicate a fair bit. Later in the day he was also able to walk around a few steps with some help.  Dan says his motor control, especially in his hands, is pretty good now.  There’s very high confidence that he’ll be able to heal, return to normal, and our Doug will be back, possibly much sooner than anyone’s been thinking.

Now, this is all awesome news. But, Doug’s pretty shook up. Apparently he wrote a lot about how frustrated and aggravated he is at not being able to talk, not being sure what happened, having all sorts of tubes hooked up to him, etc. In short, it’s overwhelming. Dan said he’s really upset and sitting right on the edge emotionally. I can only imagine what he must feel like. As part of that, Doug’s requested no visitors. He really only wants to see family members right now. Dan thinks he realizes how much everyone cares for him and wants to see him, but just can’t deal with people on top of dealing with everything else.

So, things are looking really good. Hopefully in a few days he’ll move out of HUP and into a therapy oriented hospital closer to home. As he’s been progressing so well, predictions are that he won’t spend much longer there either before going home for outpatient therapy. Hopefully by then he’ll be up to seeing visitors so we can show him how much we care. Until then, if you want to send cards, flowers, etc., the address is:

Doug Markgraf
910 Silverstein
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3400 Spruce St
Phila, Pa, 1904

Again, don’t worry if you already sent some to other rooms. Even while I was outside the room talking to Dan, several showed up that had been rerouted from the other room.

Talk to you soon!

– joe


Entry filed under: update.

High Five Out of the Woods

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Caitlin Bjellquist  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 8:18 am

    Take all the time you need Doug… until then, we’re here. =)

  • 2. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Between the peace sign he gave someone a few days ago and knowing his SSN, he’s there. Yeah, Doug! Was hoping to get down there with another graduate, but hey… what Doug wants is what he should get and then some.

    Long road ahead, (didn’t intentionally include the biking metaphorbut it works!) but if anyone can do it he can. I have a feeling that Doug will continue his amazing progress. I just hope he can be as understanding and kind to himself as he always is to others. In the meantime, I hope we all can send our good wishes in other ways.

  • 3. Gail Labanara (Doug's aunt in Seattle)  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    First off I have to say thank you to Joe for this amazing website. Our family is forever indebted to you for your generosity and caring. We have all been able to keep up with Doug’s progress without Dan having to call with each new milestone. Thank you.

    My parents, Doug’s Nana and Pop Pop, have also been able to view the website and also send a huge thank you.

    Every day I have eagerly opened up the site and literally cry with joy over Doug’s progress. Today, driving into work, I saw a bald eagle perched high on a tree and I thought, life is good. But then I thought that life would really be good if Doug pulls out the IV and says bring me the biggest cheeseburger you can find, and get a chocolate shake too. When I got to work and found out that he is really ok and that he has been delivered back safe and sound, that was UNBELIEVABLE!

    My Doug tale is from the last time that I saw him in March. I went back east to help my parents move to a retirement home and clean out the house since it was being sold. Doug was a huge help (along with his brothers) by removing all of his Pop Pop’s shop area, which included a massive collection of tools and equipment. Doug has been the only one to show a mechanical interest and his grandfather is thrilled to be able to pass everything to him, knowing that the tools will be respected and used. So we really need him to get better, because we will have things that need to be done/fixed/repaired, etc. and eventually take over for the old man. 😉

    To Doug, None of us can imagine what you are feeling, but you have been given a new life and we are so happy for that. A new life with a huge amount of love. Like my brother wrote earlier, if all of us could be that lucky. All our love, Gail and Howard

  • 4. Alan Ostrow  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    The most amazing news yet!!
    I can’t express how happy I am right now. What a relief this must be to the family and so many others. It has been less than a week since I saw Doug and he can do so much more. Hopefully each day will bring some new leap in progress. Keep “scrapping” Doug, but please don’t be too hard on yourself!! Patience is everything. Hopefully we will talk soon!

  • 5. Aislin  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    I just want to thank joe for being so absolutely attentive to this website. It’s an amazing thing to be able to be so updated with doug’s progress (which is amazing at worst) even if I can’t actually get down to the hospital. I had kind of resigned myself to a super slow recovery, but all of his reported movement and interaction is certainly encouraging (right in line with doug mentality). you continue to amaze, doug, see you soon. and thanks again, joe.

  • 6. David Monahan  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    I also have to give props to Joe- this is the only website I check at work (illegaly may I say)- and for a good reason too.

    I am absolutely stoked to hear about how great you are doing Doug. Once the reality finally set in, I realized that if anyone could overcome this it was you. Spending four years of my life with you just showed me that- at every competition, every event, you were the last man standing, the one full of energy, the one who lifted our team higher than we could imagine.

    It probably won’t be easy, but we’ll be there for you every step. Quite a few of my friends from school asked me who that guy in my away message was, and I couldn’t quite explain. Nothing truly shows the essence of Doug- the personality you bring anywhere (and everywhere) you go. You make everyone comfortable, and I truly hope you realize what a geninue guy you are. I was fortunate to spend four years on the crew with you. Hang on, because it ain’t even close to finishing.

    I guess I should’ve taught you more sign language, huh?

    Take care- I’ll be back everydyay. -Monahan

  • 7. SAB  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Hang in there Doug. We all definitely understand and we’re proud of you.

  • 8. Kristina Graham  |  Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    Hi, I’m a mother of former Chief Delphi (Team 47) students and I often check out the website. I don’t have time to read everything that’s posted, but I did read the initial postings about Doug and have returned everyday since to check on his progress on this well managed site. I am a nurse and am very encouraged by his amazing progress. Just wanted to let you know that the FIRST connection goes way farther and deeper than you know and that daily, my thoughts and prayers are with Doug and his family. Miracles happen!


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