Donald MacLeod: wry smiles at funny stories or jokes
Published: 27 July, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
A FORMER Guardian newspaper journalist – knocked off his bicycle and left with brain damage following an accident with a police car in Islington two years ago – continues to make slow but steady progress, according to his sister.
Father-of-three Donald MacLeod, 63, was thrown off his bike during the crash at the junction of Southgate Road and Northchurch Road on March 24, 2010.
The police car, which had its siren and emergency lights on, had been on its way to a shooting on the Wilton estate, in Hackney. A teenage boy was shot in the leg.
Mr MacLeod was in a coma for six weeks at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel.
His novelist sister, Janet MacLeod, said that until recently Donald had not been responding to treatment as well as they had hoped and had been “withdrawn and subject to distressing seizures”.
Don and his wife Barbara moved to Edinburgh recently to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Janet, who raises money for her brother’s treatment with a Do It 4 Don website, writes: “He was transferred to the neuro-rehab unit at Astley Ainslie Hospital and a new neuro-consultant who has been experimenting with changing Don’s medication. He is receiving regular physio and speech and language therapy.”
And this is all producing results, Ms MacLeod adds.
“Don began smiling again a couple of weeks ago, and has been much more alert and attentive to conversations – giving wry smiles at funny stories or jokes,” she writes.
“He said ‘good morning’ to the duty nurse. No one has heard Don say anything for over a year and it was only ever to nursing staff not his family. But on Sunday Barbara was greeted with a smile and a ‘Hi there’.”
The hospital’s music therapist has been very excited because Don has been joining in sessions.
The speech and language therapist reports that Don has been answering questions with a buzzer. “Unable to do so with his hands, she has had him pressing it with his chin and he has been getting lots right. We are all buzzing about these achievements!” Ms MacLeod writes.