Trucker Jeffrey Thompson in Coma 2 Years
Wife Cynthia convinced he'll recover

© 2006 Gordon Alexander
Cynthia and Jeffrey Thompson of Newport Center, Vermont

Posted 11.22.06

NEWPORT CENTER, VT | It has been two years since trucker Jeffrey Thompson lapsed into a coma after a work-related accident but his wife Cynthia is still by his side, guardedly optimistic that he will come out of it -- in time.

"Jeff and I with our daughters and grandchild will have Thanksgiving dinner at the table Thursday, " Cynthia said." He still is on a feeding tube so he won't be able to eat with us but we are going to have him at the table anyway. Somehow, I am sure he will know we are all together."

The Thompsons live in their home on Route 100, a few miles from the village of Newport Center. Cynthia, when she is not caring for her husband, works the second shift as a nurse in the VT State Prison health system in Newport. While she is working their daughters Desiree and Ravan, who live in the area, take turns caring for their father.

Last year the family were able to obtain a "Sit to Stand" chair for Jeff to add to his care regime and specifically to help with his blood circulation and retain a measure of muscle flexibility.

"It takes three of us to get him into the chair" Cynthia said. "He is a big man 6 foot 2 and 240 pounds," she said.

"Earlier this year, I didn't think Jeffrey was making any progress at all. We thought perhaps it would be best if we put him in a nursing home' she said. "Unfortunately, that didn't work out too well as we felt that the facility was not able to give him the constant level of professional attention we thought he needed, so, we brought him home."

"This year I was discouraged by the lack of any noticeable improvement in Jeff. Some friends suggested that we consider, looking into having his feeding tube disconnected and letting him go, It was then I learned about a man who snapped out of his coma after thirty-five years. I decided that hearing about this man just when I was thinking about letting Jeff go was a sign that I should be more patient."

Cynthia admitted that most of the time there is no spark of consciousness in Jeff's eyes even though they are open.

"Last July 24th was our 24th Anniversary. Jeff always use to like to have a little beer to celebrate so I decided to feed him about 3 ounces of it through his mouth. He swallowed the beer, licked his lips and grinned for about a half-hour, I am sure there is something going on in his head. We'll just have to be patient, he is not brain dead, he is definitely in there somewhere.

Thompson's accident happened back in early November, 2004, when the 46-year-old trucker was unloading some lumber at home, Cynthia recalled.

"A 4 x 4 slid loose and struck him on the head. He was slightly stunned and bled a bit, but seemed okay. Later that week he was scheduled to take a load to Lubbock Texas, over 2000 miles from Newport. While unloading there he collapsed and was rushed to the Covenant Medical center, where he lapsed into a coma. The doctors there said is was the result of being struck earlier," she said

Upon hearing the news Thompson's family Cynthia, and daughters Dezarae, Ravan, and Kazia rushed to his side in Texas, where they took an apartment near the hospital. In January, the hospital stabilized the still-comatose Thompson and he was flown home.

Starting out with a bed on loan from the North Country hospital, the Thompson family prepared to care for the comatose man at home. The Lions Club built an access ramp and neighbors had bake sales to help with expenses. The family were faced with a multitude of tasks including tube-feeding him, seeing to his bathroom needs, turning him to prevent bed sores, administering medications, and exercising his legs to maintain circulation.

According to Cynthia, Thompson's trucking business, J & C Transport, was sold to a friend in Peace Dale, Rhode Island, last January.

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.

"All I can do is pray that some day he will come out of it," Cynthia said. "Sometimes he surprises me. When I come home I will say " Hey babe I see you ", he will then turn his head to look at me."

Copyright © 2006 Gordon Alexander/Log Cabin Chronicles/11.06