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Driskill returns from hospital

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Last month death brushed up against him. Next month Paul Driskill plans to attend the Turkey Day 5K race.Driskill, a 70-year-old local running legend, returned from St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction Thursday. His wife Jeannie and granddaughter Rebecca Cossins drove him home and sat him on the couch so he wouldn’t be knocked over by one particularly overzealous family member. Then they unleashed Spooky, the Driskills’ Highland Terrier, who got the name from being born on Halloween.”The dog just went berserk,” Jeannie said. “She was crawling all over him and licking him. She was the happiest dog in the whole world, I think.”Paul Driskill is taking it easy.”I’m a lot better,” he said over the phone. “I’m just sitting, kind of relaxing. My family is taking care of me.”He nearly died in a hit-and-run accident between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Sept. 22 during his daily 16-mile run. Driskill ran 13, then later up to 16 miles most every day for around 35 years and has inspired many people with his commitment to running. After he lost his pulse and brain activity and suffered numerous injuries from the hit-and-run, Doctors said Driskill’s excellent physical condition allowed him to survive. He made it out of the ICU after four days when doctors initially predicted he would be in it for seven to 10 days, family members said.Driskill can walk around and has even jogged short distances, Jeannie Driskill said, but he still must eat mostly liquids.”The other day he did do three miles on the treadmill, walking really fast,” she said. “Since then he’s run on the treadmill but he’s not sure how far.”Driskill will attend rehabilitation sessions at Valley View Hospital, but he’s already planning on giving the Turkey Day 5K a shot.”I’m sure going to try,” Driskill said. “I may have to walk, but I think I’ll be there if the weather’s fine.”He had only good things to say about the whole ordeal.”The hospital was great, and being home is great,” Driskill said. “My family is great. I’m just glad I can see them.”Jeannie Driskill hated to see Paul Driskill in pain, but she was no stranger to the hospital.”I never left,” she said. “I stayed in the hospital as soon as they would let me. When we moved into rehab, they got me a cot with a mattress. … The pain part didn’t last so awfully long. It was more a matter of relearning how to do things. He has a cane, but first he used a walker to walk with. Actually, first to even have him sit up they had to tie him up in something. … I think he’ll be able to run again, but I don’t think it will be as fast as he is hoping. But maybe it will. He outwitted them already – he was much better sooner than they anticipated.”Jeannie Driskill and Cossins’ thoughts have focused on rejoicing at Paul Driskill’s recovery rather than on the whereabouts of the unidentified hit-and-run driver.”It’s kind of scary to think there’s somebody out there who would do such a thing,” Jeannie Driskill said. “Mostly we just think about what he’d like to eat and stuff like that.””I’m so happy to have him here,” Cossins said. “The house was empty without him.”Jeannie Driskill was impressed with the community’s support.”We’re really grateful to everyone for all their love and support and the people in Glenwood have been really wonderful to us,” Jeannie Driskill said. “And the people in Grand Junction at the hospital were really wonderful to us, too. We’ve worried about Paul but it hasn’t been a terrible experience or anything because we’ve found out how kind the people here can be.”Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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