Ron Woodside making ‘great progress’

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ron Woodside, the husband of Kathy Woodside — who died June 17 from injuries she sustained after a tornado ripped through the couple’s home one mile northwest of Armstrong — has made some big strides in his health during the last week at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

According to Ron Woodside’s Caring Bridge website, which his family updates regularly, Ron had his ventilator temporarily removed last Friday and was able to speak to his family for the first time since he’s been in the hospital.

“We told him it was really nice to hear his voice again, and his reply was, ‘It’s really nice for me, too!’ Now he’s saying that he needs to ‘Spring out of bed and put some tennies on,’” the site states.

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Ron is recovering from broken ribs, shoulder blades, a cheekbone and tailbone and numerous surgeries since he’s been in the hospital.

He and Kathy Woodside, both workers for the Albert Lea Tribune, were found in a ditch the night of June 17 after a tornado leveled their home. Kathy later died.

Ron spent the Fourth of July with his children and their spouses and has been out of the bed several times to sit in a medical chair at the hospital, another entry states.

That same day, Ron was able to start putting together the puzzle of what happened during the June 17 tornadoes.

“Today we asked Ron if he knew why he is in the hospital,” states a journal entry on Sunday. “He thought he was in a hurricane. He knew he had been blown around a lot during the storm. As the day progressed he was able to start piecing together about what happened. We explained to him that Kathy had died in the storm and that his home was destroyed. We’re not sure how well he’ll remember today’s conversation, so we are all prepared to answer questions he may have in the future. It was a difficult day for us all to break the news to him. Today was the most alert we’ve seen him since he’s been in Rochester.”

On Monday, the family stated that Ron looked better than Sunday and his voice was getting stronger.

“If things continue to improve as they are, he should be able to start eating some solid foods in a few days,” the website states.

“He is asking a lot of questions about what happened and what made it through the storm. He misses Kathy and would like to have a service at the Jehovah Witness Hall because that is what Kathy would have wanted.”

On Tuesday, the family said Ron spent the whole day and all of Monday night without the ventilator.

He was in the medical chair a couple of times and even sat on the edge of his bed with assistance from the physical therapist.

“That was the first time he has sat up without something supporting his back. … Great progress!” the website states.

“Everything is headed in the right direction,” it continues. “He wants to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible so he’s been very cooperative and motivated to work hard at the physical therapy exercises.”

To follow Ron’s progress, people can go to The website requires a signed log in.