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Ed's lifelong friend (consider him a brother), Louis Dow II, got word in Florida from Ed's neighbors as the fire trucks were arriving yesterday (Monday) morning. He says he rushed to the airport for the first flight to California, and he's been at Ed's side or looking after Ed's house since he arrived. That's Louis in the photo.
He told me and other concerned neighbors that Ed is heavily sedated at West Hills Hospital's Burn Unit with serious burns mostly on his hands, arms and head. The pain was too much for him.
"They're treating him really well," Louis said. "He''s got a great team of doctors." He says the hospital is providing him with lodging while he's looking in on Ed.
The good news, Louis said, is that Ed is going to live. However, he'll be hospitalized for a long time. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the doctors will begin skin grafts. They'll also put a scope down into his lungs and also monitor the condition of his kidneys and heart.
The bad news for Ed is that it's clear that he'll never again get to live in the house he's occupied all of his 77 years. His parents built the house in 1937. He's lived there by himself since they died.
Louis asked me to say "thanks" to all of my neighbors and friends who have offered to help. He will be packing up and removing the last of Ed's things from the hours -- neither the house nor Ed are in any condition for occupancy. The fate of the house is up in the air. There are family obstacles someone will need to address. If anybody has reason to speak witth Louis, he says I can share his contact information with them directly.
Ed has been a fixture in the neighborhoods surrounding his house on South Griffith Park. For decades, people have watched Ed walk deliberately -- in short, staccado steps with his head aiming just low enough to avoid eye contact with passersby.
I've talked with him more than a dozen times when my dogs and I pass him on the sidewalk. The conversation has never advanced beyond a reluctant-sounding "Hello."
Louis promised me he's going to provide some photos of Ed --- and he's going to keep me (and other neighbors) up to date on the quiet man's situation.
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