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Monday, May 2, 2016

Miller, injured in house explosion, continues to mend

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

NOTE THIS: People who want to mail cards or letters can send them to:

Tom Miller

630 Barnard Avenue

Hamilton, Ohio 45013

Miller is doing well in Drake Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio. He is scheduled to move to Fort Hamilton Hospital Acute Rehab Facility within a few days to begin rehabilitation for burn injuries sustained in an explosion at his Harmony residence on Sept. 8.

There is a great deal to be thankful for this holiday season for the Miller family. After some medical ups and downs, Tom Miller is awake, moving around with the aid of a walker and anxious to talk.

"I never dreamed that I'd be able to get this far along in my recovery in such a short time," Miller told The Brazil Times in a telephone interview Monday evening. "It's all the super care that I've had from the wonderful people here at the hospital and all the cards, letters and prayers of support from people back in Brazil."

Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 8, Miller sustained severe burn injuries to his upper torso, face and hands when his home, located at 9958 N. C.R. 200 E. in Harmony, was leveled by an explosion felt more than a mile away.

At the time it was unclear what happened or how Miller, who was trapped by the explosion, ended up in the crawlspace area of the home.

"I had turned on a light switch in the crawlspace area to do some work," Miller said of the very clear memories from that day. "When I went to crawl out I turned the switch off and the house just disappeared. I remember the firefighters reaching for me and the ambulance taking me down the road, then nothing else until I woke up a week and a half ago."

Miller has been in a medically induced coma as doctors performed dialysis treatments, skin graft operations at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis and during his transport and subsequent treatment at the Cincinnati Burn Center in Ohio.

"Soon I'll be moving again to the Fort Hamilton Hospital Acute Rehab Facility. There they will begin working with my hands," he said of the most serious of his burn injuries, his hands. "I'm not sure if it is muscle or nerve damage, but I think it'll all come out in the wash. It's just going to take a while and a lot of therapy for my hands."

Using a special set of eating utensils, Miller is slowly learning to use his hands again.

"I kinda scoot the food to one side with one fork and then scoot it to the other side with the other one to eat," he said of the tedious exercise. "You might as well laugh about it, what's done is done, you just keep your chin up and keep smiling through it all."

Miller's lively spirit and sense of humor is important in his recovery.

"He's got a positive attitude," Miller's daughter, Maureen said. He will be staying at her home until his recovery is complete, which could take another year. "He's off dialysis, the drip medication and his tracheotomy is gone. He's awake, and he's talking. This is his story."

An exchange of daily phone calls and e-mails from Maureen has updated an ever growing list of friends and neighbors to her father's recovery over the last few months, but now, truly humbled by the outpouring of support from the community he calls home, Tom Miller is talking for himself.

"I want to thank everyone for their cards, prayers and donations. In 13 years of driving a school bus, I didn't think I knew that many people," he said, trying to hold back emotions. "I'll be back there, but not too soon."

Realizing that it could take months before being able to return to the community he lovingly calls home, Miller can't fight the emotions any longer and the words kinda stick in his throat.

"Maybe after the first of the year, or at least sometime in the spring, I can get over there and visit," he said. "I just need to be able to travel and walk around first, but I'm coming."

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