This Was a Great Day

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 7:37 am 33 comments

Hi folks,

Today’s title was specially requested by Doug himself. The main impetus for this proclamation is that he’s going home, finally! Tomorrow (Saturday) he’ll be going home for just a while, then coming back to the hospital. By next weekend though, Doug’ll be out for good. He’ll go back to MossRehab three days a week for intense physical therapy but will otherwise be at home. Earlier in the week he also made his first “field trip” away from the hospital, back down to HUP for some scans. Needless to say, Doug was happy to leave the hospital grounds even for just a bit, and ecstatic to hear that he’ll not only be able to visit home this weekend but will be there for good next weekend.

He also no longer has a wheelchair, and is walking around on his own. At his request, the hospital gave him his daily rehab schedule, and he’s been in charge of making sure he makes all his appointments. They haven’t been sending nurses around to fetch him or anything. Conversation has also improved, he’s much more involved and engaged. Current plans are for his cast to be removed July 11. The wrist is fine, the finger is still healing.

So, this is all great news, but there are a couple things I should point out. While Doug physically doesn’t need to be in the hospital anymore, he still has a lot of work to do. Even though he’s going home, he’s not going to be back at work, school, riding, or even hanging out normally in the very near future. There’s still a long healing process remaining, to improve on issues like concentration and memory retention. He’s also still not quite in the same frame of mind as before the accident, for example he doesn’t seem to be taking any interest in art or looking out windows, which is unusual for him.

Despite all that, things are still looking up. In addition to leaving the hospital, he’s started  to identify problems for himself that he has to work on. For example, it seems to have finally clicked for him that he can’t yet follow conversations quite like normal. He himself pointed out recently that he still can’t really talk with more than one person at a time, and can’t focus if the radio or TV are playing. All of that’s normal, but this is the first he’s had real recognition of it. He has also been asking and talking about his risks in the future. That was a surprising thing for him to bring up and a good sign that he’s looking ahead. Just so everyone knows, one of the things that Doug’s going to have to live by from now on is that he absolutely cannot drink alcohol. There’s a good chance that doing so would cause a seizure. He’s also going to have to seriously evaluate his activities. Long story short, the probabilities and risks involved in another head trauma would not be good.

But, despite not seeming to take the same interest in art and the world around him as before, he has expressed interest in playing guitar and writing songs again. Also, he’s started reading back entries of this website via a computer on the first floor of the hospital and has taken real interest in it. He really appreciates everyone’s comments, and is visibly amazed at all the people that remember him and have been following along and wishing him well. Later this week we’re going to work on him posting something and setting up something for him to talk about his experiences.

Doug’s also still very keen on riding his bike. The current idea to make this happen are for him and Jen to ride on a tandem. His’s doctors have approved this, and the basic plan is for Doug and Jen to ride on a stationary at the hopital a few times so his therapists can evaluate the situation. If all looks good, they’ll then hit the road and get out for some fresh air and exercise. That sounds awesome, but there are a few things we need to work on. None of us have much experience with tandems, so if you can answer our questions or help out in any way, please let us know. Some questions we have are: Is there somewhere or someone from whom we can rent or borrow a tandem? Also, will it work on a trainer or is the weight too much? Finally, what sort of a rack do you need to transport it?

So, that’s about it for now. Please feel free to stop by the hospital anytime during visiting hours. Chatting with all his friends that have come by the past few weeks has clearly been the highlight of Doug’s days, and it’s really good mental exercise for him to be engaged and talking. Finally, Douginator: There’s some chance you’ll read this before I see you again. If you do, keep it up buddy and I’ll see you soon!

– joe

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Entry filed under: update.

Voice Change of Plans

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah Exley  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 8:22 am

    i really want to see you doug! i miss you terribly and i am completely beside myself with all of this great news about you.

    Reply
  • 2. Caitlin Bjellquist  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 8:35 am

    i guess now wouldn’t be the time to tell you theres an obscenely large bottle of jack in your freezer? 😛 cya this weekend darlin’!

    Reply
  • 3. Rick Poleshuck  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 8:49 am

    We own a Santana tandem, that doesn’t get a lot of use since Stephanie (Doug’s college housemate) rode in the back with her father ( me ) in front. We used an adapter kit which added a 3rd set of pedals higher on the frame where a 10 year old could reach them. It was a while ago…

    Transporting a tandem is difficult. We currently have no way of transporting ours, except under human power. You do need a special rack and tandems, even good ones, are heavy.

    I think riding a tandem as a stoker ( person in back ) is a good idea, when Doug is ready. I would highly recommend a 5 minute lesson from an experienced tandem rider. How to properly get on a tandem without kicking your companion or having the pedals hit you in the shin is easily learned, but not necessarily intuitive.

    Congratulations on your progress Doug.

    Reply
  • 4. Elaine Poleshuck  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 8:59 am

    What Rick insinutated but did not actually say, is that Doug and Jen are welcome to borrow our tandem. We can also provide the lessons. Learning a few “tricks” makes a huge difference no matter how experienced a rider you are. The only problem is getting it to them, as Rick said we don’t currently have a rack.

    Also, tandems don’t work on trainers. It’s not the weight, it’s the length.

    email me or Rick and we can discuss it.

    Reply
  • 5. Lola  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 9:36 am

    Just a lurker here following the progress of a biker who drew an unlucky card. It could happen to any of us at any time. The fact that you were wearing a helmet has been excellent ammunition with my son and he now voluntarily NEVER goes anywhere without one.

    But that’s not why I’m writing. If the other tandem offered does not work out, you should contact Neighborhood Bike Works. They get donations all the time and they probably have one that can be lent.

    This is their website –

    neighborhoodbikeworks.org

    and this is their phone number

    215-386-0316

    Reply
  • 6. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 11:14 am

    Poleshucks – where do you all live in relation to the Markgrafs? I have a friend who may either have something that could transport a tandem or he may know someone who has something that could transport it.

    Doug – looks like I will not be able to make it to Moss before yu go home. My apologies. You have been in my thoughts since I heard of your accident. Unfortuntately, our family has only one car running right now, so I am forever driving myself or one of my kids to work. Keep up all the good work you are doing. You’re doing a GREAT job!

    Reply
  • 7. Elaine Poleshuck  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Janice, we live 1 1/2 hours from Philly

    Reply
  • 8. Aislin  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    ah douglas, you continue to amaze. you really are something spectacular. i should be able to get down there to see you at least a couple times before you head home, but dont think for a minute that that’s the end of me! house calls are my specialty. love you kid, keep it up

    Reply
  • 9. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    Elaine – I left a message for my friend, but I am pretty sure he will ask which town you live in. He lives in Telford, so if you could reference your location from there, it may be helpful. Thanks.

    Reply
  • 10. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Okay, how silly of me not to think of this… Elaine my email is jmgorenflo04@hotmail.com and cell number is 267-261-6516. Please feel free to contact me directly.

    Reply
  • 11. Len  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    I have a suburban if the bike would fit inside it with the seats folded down, I dont have a rack but if someone knows if it would fit let me know.

    I just realized this is my first comment on the site so i gotta say it, get better Doug!

    Reply
  • 12. Nita Gupta  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    Heyyy Doug! Glad to hear you’re getting better! Miss you! See you soon!

    Reply
  • 13. Ludo  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    Hey Doug, it’s Ludo
    You know the French kid on the robotics team…
    Well, even if I don’t really know you that well, I just wanted to say how good it feels to hear that you’re doing better and better each day!
    I wish I could come see you but I’m back in france now so I don’t think it’s going to happen but keep it up it’s great to hear all those good news about you!

    Ludo

    Reply
  • 14. Stephanie  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    Go Doug on making progress. I don’t know you, any of you here, but have found myself checking updates every day as a fellow cyclist and FIRSTer.

    As for a tandem on a trainer, as its been mentioned it doesn’t work, however if you find a way to keep it stable it is possible. I know that my dad and I have done so once before, but neither of us can remember how we did so.
    For transportation, if the other options don’t work, we have usually transported ours in a minivan with the back seat out, which only requires taking off the back wheel so a suburban should work.

    Get better Doug, for yourself, your friends, and your family. Your progress has been amazing and hopefully it continues this way.

    Reply
  • 15. Lisa Manaresi  |  Friday, June 30, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    🙂 I’m so happy to hear the good news. It is really amazing to see how quickly things are happening/improving.

    Reply
  • 16. Dave Isaac  |  Sunday, July 2, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Doug,

    I’m really glad to hear you’re doing better! I feel really bad that I wasn’t able to make it down to see you but I’m very excited to see how you’re shocking the medical world with your recovery.

    I look forward to seeing you soon and of course, to co-announcing Ramp Riot!

    Reply
  • 17. Lucy Draus  |  Sunday, July 2, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Doug,

    I’m so happy you’re finally starting to feel better! Until Mr. Beety showed me this blog I had no way of receiving updates on your progress (so thank you Joe!). Just hang in there tight kiddo! Jim said he’s supposed to visit you sometime soon. I asked him to say hello for me, but I know he’ll forget, so hello!

    Anyways, keep your spirits up. I pray for you all the time. My mom (even though you two never met) says hello and she hopes you get better. I hope you’re doing alright. Tell your parents and Zach that I said hello, I haven’t talked to your mom in a long time. Good luck!!!

    Lucy Draus

    Reply
  • 18. Liz, Dennis, Jenna, Kenny and Grandma Ann,  |  Monday, July 3, 2006 at 9:50 am

    Doug,

    We are really glad the “Mousey Cheesecake” was such a hit this weekend…Caitlin keeps us up to date on your progress; keep up the good work! We wish all the best for you and your family…maybe we can visit in August when Caitlin returns to Arcadia for the fall semester…The Bjellquists

    Reply
  • 19. Karen Ofchinick (Beth's mom)  |  Tuesday, July 4, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Doug you are truly an inspiration in courage and determination. Good luck with your therapy, although there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Our prayers are with you and your family through this journey. Thank you Joe for giving us the opportunity to follow Doug’s progress and see this miracle unfold before our eyes.

    Reply
  • 20. Janice Gorenflo (Reese)  |  Tuesday, July 4, 2006 at 11:10 am

    It seems that my friend with all of the vehicles must be out of town. I do not want to delay the transport of the tandem to Doug’s house, so if anyone else has a way of getting it there, pleas go ahead. Sorry, this friend is usually there in a pinch whenever someone needs anything. I shoud have made sure he was available before I offered his services.

    Take care, all.

    Reply
  • 21. Uncle Tom and Aunt Vicki  |  Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 5:51 am

    Dearest Doug,
    We’ve been following DougTales every day and we want you to know you are absolutely positively AWESOME!!! Our prayers have truly been answered for you Doug. We send our love and our profound joy in knowing that you will be able to come home and be with your family. We will see you very soon,
    Love and prayers continually…..you are a very special young man….

    Reply
  • 22. Ben Rockstroh  |  Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 11:27 am

    Doug, I am overjoyed to hear that you are doing so well. I feel absolutely horrible that I have not been able to get out to the hospital and see you since you have woken up. As I’m sure you know now that you have plenty of people praying for your swift recovery and are astounded at the progress you have made. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope to see you soon.

    Reply
  • 23. Sarah Exley  |  Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    Hey… I was wondering where I go to visit mr. dougles?

    Reply
  • 24. Andy Evensen  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Room 490
    Drucker Brain Trauma Center
    MossRehab/Einstein
    60 East Township Line Road
    Elkins Park, Pa, 19027
    room 490

    between 4:30 and 8:30 durring the week. but doug is sceduled to leave Moss this weekend and after that he’ll be living at home. for visiters all that means is you’ll have to call dan or jen and scedule a time to hang out with him.

    Reply
  • 25. DJ Gialanella  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 10:26 am

    I have a pick-up that should have no problem putting the tandem bike in the back. If you still need to move the bike just give me a call if so we could set some thing up 973-670-0312.

    Reply
  • 26. Sheila Bistany  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    Doug,
    Just to let you know that you have been on Trinity Ambler’s prayer list since your accident. Everyone here is praying for you. Your brother Brandon went to Hilton Head with us back “in the day” in case you were wondering who I am. You may remember my daughter Jessica also.

    Faithfully,
    Sheila Bistany

    Reply
  • 27. Matt Lechtenberg  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    I miss not running into you at Pete’s lunch truck… early morning meat sandwiches just aren’t the same without a guy in Lycra ordering next to you. Keep up the progress and I’ll buy the next one man.

    Best,

    Matt Lechtenberg

    Reply
  • 28. David Monahan  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    Aw cmon Doug, you can’t already be recovered? I was enjoying having reading material everyday, but no, you have to get better in no time flat (true Doug fashion). You can probably run a mile faster than me already (ok, definitely). That’s just sick, keep the healin’ up. I’m counting on seeing you at Ramp Riot

    -Monahan

    Reply
  • 29. TANDOM!!!  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    WILL THE PERSON WITH THE TANDOM OR ANY INFORMATION ON THE TANDOM PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP!!! MY NUMBER IS 609 707 4568.
    MY EMAIL IS SMB73@DREXEL.EDU
    PLEASE LET ME KNOW
    THANKS
    STEVE BRONSTEIN

    Reply
  • 30. TANDOM!!!  |  Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    WILL THE PERSON WITH THE TANDOM OR ANY INFORMATION ON THE TANDOM PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP!!! MY NUMBER IS 609 707 4568.
    MY EMAIL IS SMB73@DREXEL.EDU
    PLEASE LET ME KNOW
    THANKS
    STEVE BRONSTEIN

    Reply
  • 31. dougtales  |  Friday, July 7, 2006 at 4:47 am

    Bronstein, I’m gonna slaughter you if I see one more all-caps email, comment, or other message from you. Who do you think you are, the boss from Dilbert or something?

    – joe

    Reply
  • 32. Shanta Layton  |  Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 11:43 am

    HHey Doug – I have been following your story since my husband (Brad Layton/Mech E faculty at Drexel) emailed me about it right after it happened – though I don’t know you, it’s been heart wrenching and heart warming to follow the posts.

    My husband and I ride a tandem to work 3-4 days a week from Wynnewood. Our daily commute brings us right by the scene of the accident twice a day. Believe you me, we are both on the lookout for a vehicle matching the posted description.

    I would be happy to help with getting the Santana tandem mentioned above transported. We have a rack on our minivan for our tandem – let me know if it’s still needed.

    Also, we have a big bomber Schwinn one speed tandem – with coaster brake, big fat tires etc. – we would be happy to loan. It’s a blast to ride when going slow, and allows for more upright sitting. Our Burley tandem, which we can share on the weekends is a mountain tandem frame, and requires a bit more leaning over. Let me know if you are interested.

    My sincere wishes are with you for a speedy recover and fulfilling future in cycling!

    Shanta Layton (slayton@cceb.med.upenn.edu)

    Reply
  • 33. june Ross  |  Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    we met on friday @ the mayall funeral and rode together from the church to the grave……this is the only way into your stuff i could access but hope it reaches you though everything dated goes back to 2006.

    youwill have my email now and i hope to hear from you…..it was great to meet you and i’ve thought of a number of your comments….maybe sometime we can chat it over…
    happy holiday and warm regards,
    june

    Reply

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