Director recovers from brain inflammation

The director of the Schieffer School of Journalism, Tommy Thomason, is recovering after being hospitalized Friday morning with what at first appeared to be a stroke, said William Slater, the dean of the College of Communication.Thomason’s wife, Debby, said as of Friday afternoon, Thomason was being treated for viral encephalitis. In a telephone interview Monday, Tommy Thomason said he feels fine and is ready to return to work.

Thomason said he was scheduled to be released Monday night with little more than a prescription for steroids. He said he will recover at home and fully expects to be back to work by the end of the week.

Viral encephalitis is characterized by an inflammation in the brain caused by a virus which affects 100,000 to 200,000 people each year, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center Web site.

“My doctors told me that my condition could have been caused by a bad cold which made its way into my brain,” Tommy Thomason said.

Debby Thomason noticed there was a problem with her husband when she tried to wake him Friday morning and he was unresponsive.

“You only see this kind of stuff on a show like ‘House M.D.,'” Thomason joked, referring to how perplexed the doctors were with his condition. “When I was first brought in, the doctors asked me who the president was. I had some vague recollection of who it was, but I couldn’t remember his name.”

Thomason said the original stroke diagnosis was refuted as discrepancies between his symptoms and CAT scan results led doctors to think there was another cause for his illness.

Thomason teaches a features and magazine writing class, but in his absence, the class is being taught by Robert Bohler, director of student publications.

Slater said at this time, no replacement will be appointed for Thomason while he is away.

Thomason has been teaching at TCU since 1984 and was appointed interim chair of the journalism department in 1998 before being officially appointed in 1999 as the director.