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09-26-06, 04:55 PM #1
An actual obituary from the Denver Post....oh my God.
Thomas L. Cook, who died at 54 when he was fatally hit by a car Sept. 11, spent much of his life recovering from the misadventures that plagued him even in the womb.
"He was kinda accident-prone, I swear to God, even before he was born," said his sister, Mady Eitani.
"He was nearly miscarried. He had serious accidents as a child. Crazy things. Broke his collarbone. He was hit in the head one time by a teeter-totter and had to have blood drained out of his skull. Wrong place, wrong time. Story of his life."
After the first few visits to the emergency room, Cook's family joked that he must have nine lives, an opinion shared by a neighbor, Dr. Arnold Silverman, a pediatric physician who became Cook's de facto on-call doctor.
"Nine lives, and he certainly used them up," Silverman said.
"Every time the phone rang and it was the Cooks, I just said that I'd be right over."
When Cook returned home from a
To have the strength to go on is a tribute to his toughness, a doctor said of Thomas Cook s life.
high school skiing trip, complaining about abdominal pain, Silverman looked at his belly and sent Cook straight to Children's Hospital.
Cook underwent an emergency splenectomy to remove his hemorrhaging spleen. The organ, injured a few days earlier in a pickup football game, began bleeding while Cook and his friends were skiing.
The next major injury occurred when Cook, still a teenager, fell from the go-kart he was driving. Again, the Cooks called Silverman. Again, Silverman told them to call an ambulance almost as soon as he saw Tom Cook.
The ambulance took Cook to University Hospital, where surgeons drained blood from his skull, relieving pressure on his brain and brain stem. Cook went home but was back a few hours later for a second operation after the bleeding resumed.
The third major accident - like Eitani, Silverman distinguishes between those and "a host of other injuries Tom survived" - involved an out-of- town car accident. It left Cook, then a promising Colorado State University student, with severe brain damage and in a semi-vegetative coma for more than five months.
"No one had any hope at all for his survival as someone with a viable life," Silverman said.
"Then one day, he woke up. That began his incredible comeback."
The injuries reduced Cook's physical abilities to those of an infant, requiring more than a year of treatment at Craig Hospital, which specializes in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.
"He had to learn to walk and talk and potty-train and feed himself again," Eitani said.
When at last Cook recuperated, he found a job as an assistant computer programmer at Denver's Medicare office. He made fast friends among his colleagues, who learned to enjoy Cook's singular braying laughter.
Though he walked with the gingerly trepidation of someone negotiating an ice-glazed sidewalk, Cook's confidence and buoyant nature returned. Then, driving near the intersection where the first accident occurred, Cook heard the familiar, sickening crunch of metal on metal as another vehicle slammed into his car.
"That was when he broke his back for the first time," his sister recalled.
"He broke it two other times after that and broke his ribs in falls and various accidents. It left him really crippled as a young man."
Again, he learned how to walk, talk, dress, feed himself and perform other chores that once were second nature. Though the injuries and other disabilities left him increasingly hunchbacked - "kinda comma- shaped," Silverman said - Cook insisted on using a cane instead of a walker until a few months ago. He refused to use a wheelchair, though it took him half an hour to shuffle from his apartment to the corner of his block.
To keep his bones strong, Cook exercised daily with a walk that began precisely at 1:45 p.m. Among the few indulgences he allowed himself was the brownie he bought only at a certain bakery.
"They knew him very well at Child's Pastry," Eitani said.
"He'd choose a specific brownie by the taste and size. Otherwise, all he ate was Stouffer's dinners, and he had those categorized in his freezer - one for Mondays, one for Tuesdays. Everything was by the clock. That's why it's so hard, with him running late that day. That's what put him on the corner at 3:45 that Monday. Otherwise, he'd have been home."
Mourners overflowed the church that held Cook's memorial service last week.
"They had to bring in extra chairs," Silverman said.
"He was thin as a wisp of hair, but he was a self-sufficient person. To have survived these accidents and come back a functioning person was such an accomplishment. To have the strength to go on is such a tribute to his toughness."
Besides his sister, survivors include mother Barbara Fazio of Santa Barbara, Calif.; father Durwood Cook of Salt Lake City; and grandmother Maxine Cook of Salt Lake City. One brother preceded him in death.
The family suggests memorial donations to Craig Hospital, 3425 Clarkson St., Englewood CO 80113.
09-26-06, 05:32 PM #2GrasshopperVerified LEO
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His knickname Lucky, by chance?And Shepards we shall be,
for thee, My Lord, for thee,
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
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And teeming with souls will it ever be.
In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.
09-26-06, 05:40 PM #3
That was a long article, but I liked the parts I skimmed through. His life must have sucked.
09-26-06, 06:47 PM #4
Once in a while when I feel like having a pity party things like this article set me straight and remind me how lucky and blessed I've been
09-28-06, 07:10 PM #5
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