Tom Paxinos doesn't remember walking his dog Zeus at Two Moon Park in Billings on March 27. He is told that his dog saw the river in the distance and ran off toward it. Paxinos chased after Zeus and they both fell forty feet off the rims.
Paxinos' dog Zeus was fine. Tom Paxinos, however, suffered a life-threatening injury...fracturing his skull.
Lauri Patterson, a friend of Tom Paxinos, said, "I don't think that the severity of the situation really sunk in until the next day when I went up to the hospital and saw Tom for the first time. It was heart-wrenching. We spent several days in and out of tears, crying and wondering. There's just so many unknowns with an injury like that."
Paxinos was in a coma in the ICU for 16 days. He has been in the hospital for about seven weeks altogether now. First, he was at St Vincent here in Billings, and then he moved to a hospital in Colorado. You might expect him to be upset that this accident happened, but he tells me that he feels blessed.
Tom Paxinos said, "After this accident, once I woke up, I kind of realized, that even though I was debilitated for twenty five days or twenty days or whatever it was, I now kind of feel like my brain, in a way, has been opened up. It sounds like a strange thing to say. My brain has been opened up for the world. And, now I can actually help the people that I wanted to help, and do the things I wanted to do, and take care of the things that I wanted to take care of. I feel like I am opened up, like I am more alive."
Paxinos' friends here in Billings have organized fundraisers to help pay his expenses as he recovers. There is a fundraiser tomorrow, May 15 at the High Horse Saloon in Billings from 6-10pm. There will be a silent auction, raffles and live music. You can also go to the Thinking of Tom Paxinos Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tompaxfriends/.
Paxinos is scheduled to leave the hospital on May 21. He says he is so excited to come home to Billings. And, he has a reunion coming up with his dog Zeus, who he hasn't seen since the accident.