Runner making strides in recovery
September 29, 2007
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Local running legend Paul Driskill seems to be recovering at a quicker pace than first expected, but still has many miles to go.
He was upgraded to critical care after four days, despite doctors’ initial predictions that he would remain in the intensive care unit for about 10 days, according to his granddaughter, Rebecca Cossins.
“He’s recovering faster than what the doctors thought, but he still has a lot of work ahead of him and a lot of physical therapy and things like that,” she said Friday. “He’s still not able to eat or drink yet, but they have him sitting up, which is a bonus.
“He’s talking a little. He’s going to speech therapy and he has physical therapy every morning. He’s getting better for sure,” she added.
However, she said that although he’s getting better, “it’s still kind of up in the air.”
Doctors worry about Driskill, 70, catching pneumonia, Cossins said.
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Most of the 15 or so family members who arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction to support him are still there. It’s still hard for them to imagine someone could have hit Driskill and left him by the side of the road.
“We seem to be holding up,” Cossins said. “It’s hard to see someone in so much pain. … I don’t think (his wife) Jeannie is really talking yet. She’s still a little shook up.”
Driskill almost died after being hit by a car Saturday, Sept. 22. The hit-and-run occurred sometime between 5 and 5:30 a.m. on south Grand Avenue near the Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs.
Authorities are asking for anyone who may have seen or heard something to contact the Glenwood Springs Police Department at 384-6500. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest or prosecution in the case. Police Chief Terry Wilson said the case is still being investigated and that police have obtained a vehicle description.
The vehicle is described as a dark blue pickup truck that would be a later model Toyota or possibly a Mazda. The truck’s bed was converted into a flatbed, and there was a rack extending above and across the bed that would be used to hold things like ladders or rakes. Wilson said police have no reason to believe the vehicle was involved, but would like to speak with whoever was driving it. He said the incident was probably an accident and that the person should not be scared to come forward.
The impact was severe enough to cause Driskill to lose his pulse during a life-flight to Grand Junction. Doctors said he had no brain activity at all the first day. He also suffered injuries including a broken neck, injured spine, bleeding inside his brain, broken ribs and a broken sternum, damage to his jugular vein and many lacerations.
Doctors reportedly said Driskill’s excellent physical condition due to his running allowed him to survive. Many people find Driskill’s commitment to running inspiring if not absolutely amazing. Family and friends say he’s run a half-marathon – 13 miles – or more every day for more than 30 years.
There is no real estimate on when he might be released from the hospital, Cossins said, but an initial prediction called for 10 days in the ICU, maybe three weeks in the hospital after that, then probably lots of physical therapy.
“He isn’t talking much,” she said. “It’s hard for him. It’s so good to hear his voice, I don’t even think about if it will ever be back to normal.”