From Thanksgiving 2012 to today’s day of thanks

A special day on a walker when I returned to Floyd after eight weeks in the hospital in 2012  (Photo by Michele Morris)
A special day on a walker when I returned to Floyd after eight weeks in the hospital in 2012
(Photo by Michele Morris)

Thanksgiving: A special day for Amy and I.

Two years ago, Thanksgiving 2012, she kept vigil at my hospital bed at Carillion Roanoke Valley’s intensive care unit after a motorcycle accident on Nov. 9th.

I wasn’t expected to live.  Severe brain damage, a badly broken right leg, dislocated eye and facial injuries that required plastic surgery, left me in a nether land.  When I wandered in and out of consciousness, Amy said I was wasn’t lucid.  Doctors told her that if I had survived, I would probably be a vegetable with the mind of a two-year old who didn’t know his name, who she might be and have no connection with personal history or reality.

But on that Thursday afternoon — Thanksgiving 2012 — I ventured back into the real world for a brief time, said hello to my wife and knew who I was and talked for a little while before vanishing back into an unconscious state.

That short time convinced Amy that I was still among us and would be back.  I have no memory of that.  It would be the morning of December 4 when I awoke in the hospital’s rehab unit and asked the nurse for my wife.  It would take 20 more days of rehab before I climbed into our car for the trip home to Floyd.

Nine more months of extensive outpatient rehab, followed by an additional year of evaluations, tests and treatments put me back on my feet at a still-undetermined level of recovery.

That level remains a mystery today.  I still take medications for the pain in my leg.  My memory comes and goes from the TBI (traumatic brain injury) and I have problems with balance and coordination.

But the string of pessimistic forecasts given to Amy after that crash late at night on a dark road at night did not come true.

I did not die, I did not lose my right leg below the knee or my right eye.  While some might say that having the mind of a two-year old would be an improvement, I recovered enough of my faculties to function, to photograph, to report and to live and function.

Amy, the loving wife who is also my best friend and partner for more than three decades, never lost faith. She argued with the doctors, faced them down,kept watch over me and nursed me back to health.

Many friends and supporters helped us through this time.  I will never be able to personally thank each and every one of you for your support and prayers.  We made a lot of new friends, reacquainted with many old ones and experienced first hand the generosity and support that comes from being a part of this unique area.

Thanksgiving 2014 is a day to give our gratitude to what we have and those who help and share out lives.  Amy also gives thanks for those few minutes on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 when I returned to her and told her that I would recover.

Happy Thanksgiving from us to all of you.  Without your help and support I wouldn’t be here to celebrate this day of thanks.

3 Responses to From Thanksgiving 2012 to today’s day of thanks

  1. Doug and Amy…a blessed Thanksgiving to you both and we hope you have many, many more. We are thankful for so many things and one of them has been getting to know you and for your reporting and keeping us informed on things that concern us, especially here in Floyd. I always look to you for news on things like the power outage we are experiencing today as I know you are always on top of it. David read that in our area here around Beaver Creek there are 34 without power, but we know there are many more and I’m glad you are there to let us know what’s going on. Thank you for being a voice in Floyd…hope you will be doing it for many more years.

  2. Doug, Happy Thanksgiving, holidays seem so much more important when we have suffered a great physical or emotional trial. I have never met you but have admired your work for years. It seems that we share many interests, and someday in the future we will talk about those things. I pray for your complete recovery.

    Tony Morisco, Copper Hill