Out of the Woods

Friday, June 16, 2006 at 7:47 am 20 comments

Hi everybody,

Thursday was another day of solid progress for Doug. Like we've all been saying, he's a scrapper, and he's been chipping away and chipping away at doing more and more things. Yesterday he was able to put on his own shirt and socks, and can move between his bed and his chair by himself. He was also able to walk around for a few minutes with help.

Doug's been trying to speak, but his throats still too raw and the tracheostomy too impeding, though it was replaced with a smaller one with a cutoff valve yesterday. He's been pretty frustrated at having to write everything, but doesn't have a problem doing so. Dan reported that at one point Dan and Jen were fussing at Doug because he keeps writing in his cryptic engineering scrawl—tiny & illegible. He reponded by writing bigger, but then all of a sudden gave them a message they couldn't understand at all even after puzzling over it for several minutes. Doug apparently thought this was very funny; it turned out the message was in kanji (Japanese script). Dan and Jen have since convinced him to try using his laptop to communicate today, to avoid any more of that sort of monkey business. But, if those high spirits weren't a good enough sign, the message said that he was "Having a good day."

There's no indication of any mental problems, though he's not using his left side much. Personally, I'm not worried about that. It's clearly the side that took the brunt of the impact and has several broken bones and many bruises. I'd favor that side a little as well and am pretty confident that physical therapy and time will work that out. All of his various tubes and wires except for the trach and feeding tube were removed yesterday. Although Doug's breathing on his own, the trach's supplying increased oxygen to his airflow compared to the surrounding air. It also looks like that will be removed soon.

Emotionally Doug's still pretty raw, so he's still asking for no visitors, but he is getting better. Yesterday he did ask how long he's been out and wasn't terribly bothered by the answer. He doesn't remember about the accident, ICU, or anything else that's passed.

I think his mental state will be helped a lot by moving out of HUP, which is scheduled to happen this morning (Friday). He'll be moving to a physical rehabilitation hospital, MossRehab, in Elkins Park, Pa (closer to his parents' house for those not from here). We'll get you an address for cards and things as soon as we know it. The plan from Dan and Jen is basically to let him spend the weekend getting settled and getting a better grip on the situation, and then hopefully he'll want to see visitors.

The doctors are blown away by his progress, and I have trouble believing it everytime I hear more. But, Doug's moving right along whether I believe it or not. Dan and Jen want to tell everyone that their prayers and thoughts have meant so much and that Doug's progress really shows the power of prayer and positive vibes.

Hopefully we can all keep that up, as in a very real way the hard part begins today. Many of you have probably been through an injury or illness and can understand that. I've always found that the first few weeks after a bad injury aren't so bad. The pain's incredible, but each day I just focus on how much it's subsiding. For a few weeks after that I can still deal with it pretty easily, I'm just happy at what I can do and that it wasn't worse. Beyond that, as weeks and then months go by and I've still got a cast on or having trouble moving, things get much harder. I can't relate well enough how grinding it is mentally to not be able to do all the things you used to do with no problem.

Doug's going to go through a very similar process for the long period to come, I think. The next little while will be good as he continues to make progress in leaps and bounds. After that, as he gets closer and closer to full capacity and progress is harder to see while small problems are still very obvious (at least to him they will be), it might be pretty stressful and frustrating. He's going to need us all now just as much as when he was in intensive care, so keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

We'll get that address out ASAP so you can send in your thoughts from afar, and hopefully he'll want to see visitors next week. He may also start looking through here, email, and other messages in the next few days, so for all you lurkers: Don't hesitate to send in a comment and let him know you're here and you care.


– joe

Entry filed under: update.

Communication MossRehab

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michelle  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Jeez Doug, I meet you for the first time and then two days later you’re in the hospital? That’s so unacceptable. I demand you get better and start riding around again so I can get to talk to you for more than two minutes. You seem like a pretty chill guy.

    Seriously, best wishes for a speedy, faster-than-Joe-riding-down-a-mountain recovery. You’ve definitely got a lot of people pulling for you.

  • 2. judy  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    oh doug. you’ll be back making funny faces in no time. stay crazy.

  • 3. Josh  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Glad to hear you are making a speedy recovery and I hope that you continue on this rapid pace to recovery.

    Best wishes.

  • 4. Jared Russell  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    He’s doing kanji?

    The kid’s been unconcious for a week and he’s still more talented than I am.

    You’re doing a great job, Doug.

  • 5. Nancy B. Claflin  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Hey Doug…
    You’re a fighter if ever I’ve seen a fighter; keep up the good work!
    With continued thoughts and prayers,

  • 6. Robin Harvey  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Yea, Doug! Glad to see that your Japanese is coming in handy, even if it is just to bug your parents. I’m praying for you everyday. And I have the College and Career Sunday School class that I teach praying for you, too. Gambatte! Doug kun wa kakkoii desu ne.

  • 7. the Deininger's (Gracie, Aaron, Neil, Tom,&Nancy  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    hey Doug,
    We’ve all been praying for you! Glad to hear you are doing so well! Mattison Avenue kids are tough!
    love ,
    the Deininger’s

  • 8. Kirsten  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    I must say that this has made my day so much brighter. 🙂 I’m in Milwaukee right now and I’ve been thinking about you so much Doug! I was actually pretty bummed that if you became more alert over the weekend that I wouldn’t get to see you but if you’re not taking visitors then I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore! I completely understand that you don’t want to be inundated with people right now because from what I can tell, there are a TON of people that love you and are thinking about you. I just want you to rest up this weekend, enjoy your new digs, and focus on the positives in your life. I hope that you take visitors next week because I’ll be back for a little bit before I’m off to Buffalo for a month for a class! Keep on fighting Doug, I know it must be frustrating to not be able to talk but all of your friends and family know that you can pull out of this and we will help you. I can’t wait to check your site again tomorrow! Oh, but don’t give your parents hell, they’ve been through a lot ;-)!

  • 9. Janice  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    Sorry I havent come to see you the past couple of days, but Im sure you need the time. Have a good weekend and I hope Brandon does a good job on the hair. Sorry I couldnt make it, work has been demanding this week. I’ll see you either tues or wed if the hair needs fixing. Get better and Love you Dougy!!!!
    ps. thanks for squeezing my hand back last week, made my day knowing you were making progress!!

  • 10. range  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Best wishes from Montreal.

  • 11. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Have to piggy back on part of what David Monahan said. Remember those times I told you boys you had to learn three “clean” signs for every salty one you learned? Guess I should have stuck to my guns! (Just joshin.)

    Keep up the good work, and work it will be. But Doug, you are one of the only folks I know who could do this with your usual optimism, kindness and yes sense of humor.

    Joe – thanks again for keeping the website. It may be tiring, and if you need a break even for a day, take it. All of us checking from home and work computers will have a little consternation but so be it.

    Doug’s family – I can remember seeing you all at the Robotics banquet at NMTCC. At the time I thought – you know, these have to be awesome people for Doug to be who he is. You were and still are. Hang in there. The progress he has made so far (and will) is very much because of you all and your love for each other.

  • 12. Sam  |  Friday, June 16, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    Doug, your the only person i can think of that even after all this still takes the time to rub in the kangi . .
    love ya man

  • 13. Melissa Slobodzian  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Doug, I wish I could remember kanji to begin with (sorry sensei) let alone even after everything that you’ve been through! I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing so much better and you keep on amazing me each day with your progress! We can’t wait to have you home.


  • 14. Alex Walcroft  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 1:55 am

    The progress you’re making never ceases to amaze me.
    much like melissa, i can barely remember kanji as it is, so i gotta commend you on that too.
    you’ve been in my prayers
    best wishes

  • 15. Ken Hall  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 4:58 am

    Hi Doug,
    Everyone at ECI hopes you get better as quick as possible. Think about you a lot and hope you feel better soon.

    Ken from work

  • 16. Mr. T  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 9:34 am

    Two things robotics taught us is to keep battling back and always keep your 9/16 wrench in your back pocket. You never know when you’re going to have to fix something and the pain from jabbing you in the back takes your mind off your other problems. We have been praying for your speedy recovery.

  • 17. Harriet Winokur  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 9:35 am


    I’m so thrilled to hear how well you’re doing! I haven’t wanted to bother your parents, so I’ve been coutning on Adam to keep me up to date, but you know how reliable he is. 😉 I think about you a lot, especially when I drive past your old house in Ambler or when I pass places where you and Adam had your early “gigs”.

    I hope your recovery goes smoothly. It sounds like you’re doing amazingly well already. It can be hard to have patience with the process sometimes, but if anyone can do it, you can.

    I’m looking forward to the next time you’re out riding and just happen to turn up at my house.


  • 18. Susan Macaluso  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 10:41 am

    I am so thrilled that you are doing so well. Life dishes us some amazing bumps & triumps and you certainly have been through both. Keep up the good work.

    Jen, I couldn’t be happier for you and Dan. It’s been a
    rough several weeks but the road ahead is looking good.
    If you need anything, I am right next door to Moss Rehab. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


  • 19. Connie Fiorentino  |  Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    So happy to see Doug is well on his way to recovery. The Mattison Ave gang has been worried about all of you. Doug, you have to go see Trevor’s band again when you’re up and around. Keep up the great progress and try not to lose patience with the process.
    Connie Fiorentino

  • 20. SAB  |  Sunday, June 18, 2006 at 12:15 am

    Hahaha. Since when did you know kanji? =) keep it up, man.


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