Comatose Vermont trucker comes home

© 2004 Gordon Alexander
Jeffrey Thompson lies in a coma at home

Posted 12.31.04

NEWPORT CENTER, VT | Sunlight streams through Jeffrey "Willie" Thompson's window that has a spectacular view of the range of mountains alongside Jay Peak. It's a typical Vermont panorama.

Unfortunately, Jeffrey can't appreciate any part of being back home -- yet.

Thompson, an independent trucker, went into a coma in November, 2004, while making a delivery in Lubbock, Texas. It was the result of an earlier accident in Vermont during the same month.

His wife Cynthia and daughters immediately went to his side. He was treated in Texas and flown home to Vermont with his family. The doctors at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock did not give an encouraging prognosis for his recovery.

" He is home now and I know he is going to come out of it and I'll be there when he does," his wife Cynthia said. "Every day I think of our wedding vows and tell him that I love him," she said.

Cynthia, a Registered Nurse, seems to have his 24/7 care under control. She gets up every three hours during the night to perform a multitude of tasks including tube-feeding him, seeing to his bathroom needs, turning him to prevent bed sores, and administering his medications, just to name a few.

His daughters are there to help with some of the tasks which will also include exercising him three times a day -- fingers, legs, and all movable joints to maintain his flexibility, as prescribed by the doctors at the Texas medical center.

Cynthia says she is somewhat disappointed with the bed provided by the Vermont Health Access Plan, claiming it seems somewhat shaky.

"Unfortunately, they won't pay for certain things he has to have, like an automatic Kendell Arterial Vein Impulse system," she said.

This Kendell system consists of boots that inflate periodically which automatically provides a blood flow circulating to the lower limbs to prevent a blood clots from forming. "We can get one of these used for $2750 used -- new they are $4500," she said

They have secured the services of a Newport Doctor who, in addition to calling in on Thompson, will be re-writing the prescriptions brought from Texas.

The Thompsons met in Rhode Island , where they were both working, and married in 1982. They have lived in Newport Center for fifteen years and have five children. Their three daughters live at the family home on Route 100, just outside Newport Center. Their two sons are living and working elsewhere. Thompson's trucking business, J&C Transport, is being looked after by a friend, Roland Brown, who is running the business out of Peace Dale, Rhode Island.

Cynthia was going to go back to school to further her education. "I guess that will have to go on hold for a while," she said. "Right now money is the main problem. We are receiving a short-term disability check of $400 a week that eventually will run out."

" A lot of people in the area have been just wonderful to us. The kids especially have been really great, I couldn't have hung on without them," Cynthia said." Poulin Lumber of Newport gave us a generator to use on standby at home and Newport Ambulance picked us up at the airport in Burlington and drove us home. Covanant Medical Center in Lubbock flew us back via air ambulance," she said

"We'll get through this and Jeffrey will come out of the coma. He does show some positive signs I can see, He will sometimes open one eye and once in a while seem to smile. He is much better than he was at first."

The family can be reached at 802.334.7482.

Copyright © 2005 Gordon Alexander/Log Cabin Chronicles/01.05