April 16, 2007

From seriously injured to seriously catching up

Frank Doering is out of the hospital and back to school at HLWW

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

“The last thing I remember is ice fishing on Waverly Lake,” before waking up in a hospital, said Frank Doering.

Doering suffered a serious head injury during a snowmobile accident Feb. 4 that led to brain swelling and six weeks in the hospital, not to mention that four of those weeks were spent in the intensive care unit.

“I guess I crashed into some trees and hit my head pretty hard. I had really bad brain swelling – so bad that they thought they’d have to do a craniotomy, but then I started to get better,” Doering said.

It was unusual for Doering not to be wearing a helmet while snowmobiling, he said.

“I always wear a helmet, I don’t know why I didn’t have one on. Maybe I didn’t want to run back to the house to get it, or something,” Doering said.

The weeks spent in the intensive care unit consisted of intense procedures to get the swelling down in the brain, to reduce an ever-present fever, and to get him breathing on his own, just to name a few issues.

“They gave me medicine in the intensive care unit that made me forget everything. Once I was moved out of the ICU and down to rehab, I woke up more,” Doering explained.

Because Doering had a tracheotomy in his throat to help him breath better, he had an extremely hard time trying to talk.

“I literally had no voice for two weeks. My sister bought me a white board to communicate and I’d point to things a lot. I slowly started to talk better – like a soft whisper, then I was back to normal,” Doering said.

Support from family and friends was abundant. In addition to family members visiting, Doering said some very good friends would bring him treats like milk shakes and fill him in on what was happening at school.

T-shirts were made with a picture of Doering on the front with the saying, “Friends and Family for Frank Doering.” Students and teachers wore the shirts in support of his recovery.

Doering’s Caring Bridge web site has received more than 18,500 hits. A daily journal was posted on the web site by family members while he was in the hospital.

“The web site is just unbelievable. It’s a great thing to have, that’s for sure. I’ve read through all my journal and now I’m halfway through reading the 149 printed pages of messages that were posted,” Doering said.

March 21 was the wonderful day Doering was released from the hospital. He was back to school, half days, the very next day, and full days the following week.

“The doctors told me I’d be tired and overwhelmed, but I wasn’t. The teachers were lenient and told me I could have as much time as I needed to make up the work. I’m almost caught up,” Doering explained.

Doering said that the drive home was great and that he just wanted to get home.

“I missed my dog, Benny, the most. The first thing I did was looked at all my care packages in my room,” he said.

A common sentiment echoes down the halls of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, everyone is glad to see Doering back in school.

From teachers to students, they’re all happy to have their homecoming king strolling the halls again.

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