When a cane knife wielded by Kevin Dugas ricocheted off a tree branch and nearly severed the forefinger on his left hand, the drummer saw his 20-plus year career with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys flash before his eyes.
“My world passed right in front of me when I cut it,” Dugas recalls. “I said, ‘Oh, man. I just messed up.’ Then I realized I had to call Steve and tell him I couldn’t play.”
That was late October.
However, 71 days later, Dugas was back on the cans and driving the bus for the Mamou Playboys.
“Everything went well,” Dugas says of the gig. “My hand swelled up a bit. But overall, it was good. It still hurts a bit.”
Understandably, the veteran drummer was a tad nervous picking up the drumsticks for the first time following the accident, surgery and ongoing rehab.
“I was scared,” laughs Dugas. “Just trying to remember the songs, along with not dropping the stick.”
When Dugas was out on injured reserve, the band continued to perform with Jamey Bearb on drums.
“We talked about some things,” Dugas says. “He knew what he had to do — he did a damn good job — that guy is a great talent.”
But back to the day Dugas will not soon forget.
“It was Oct. 27,” Dugas says dryly. “A Thursday. A Thursday morning.”
Dugas was helping a cousin trim branches along a tree line on his Lafayette property when it happened.
“My hand was wrapped around the branch,” he says. “I was holding the branch out and it cut right above the knuckle on my pointer finger.”
While a self-inflicted wound, Dugas had some assistance from the tree.
“I hit the branch on the side of me, and the cane knife, it ricocheted,” says Dugas. “It cut through the bone and all the tendons and stuff.”
At the same time, “It nicked my butter finger,” he says. “It didn’t cut any tendons. All of my other fingers are good.”
Dugas went to his doctor who stitched him up and sent him to New Orleans. Contrary to rumors, Dugas was not turned away at the hospital because of a lack of insurance.
“Their hand surgeon only worked on Fridays,” Dugas says. “So they gave me medicine and set me up with an appointment the next week.”
“My world passed right in front of me
In November, Lagniappe Productions, based out of Rhode Island, put together a “Friends of Kevin Dugas Krewe” to help raise money for Dugas and his family.
“Chuck (Wentworth) and them in Rhode Island, they really helped me out a lot,” says Dugas, adding that local residents and businesses have also chipped in to help with the bills. “They got me through Christmas.”
In early January, Dugas’ doctor figured he has about a month more of physical therapy (at three times a week) with Casey Arceneaux, a physical therapist at Lafayette’s P.T. South.
“That’s not a problem,” he says. “I can live with that.”
On the mend, Dugas says although he has to ice down his hand after playing, and there is dead skin on the knuckle at the point of impact, he does have feeling in the injured finger and his future as a drummer looks good.
“It might not be 100 percent,” he says, “but it will be pretty darn close.”
Donations will be accepted through the New England state’s Mardi Gras ball on the Pawtuxet on Feb. 18. Checks, with Friends of Kevin Dugas on the memo line, can be sent to Lagniappe Productions, 51 White Oak Court, Wakefield, RI, 02879; or online at www.mardigrasri.com/2011/11/fundraiser-to-support-kevin-dugas/ and click on Dugas’ name.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.