Last night's episode of "Work Out" was chilling. It was amazing watching Jackie navigate her emotional trip home, seeing her mom openly take pride in her and then watching her finally let go at her dad's grave. But it was the final scene that was absolutely, gutturally devastating.I am speaking of the trainers getting the news that Doug was in serious jeopardy and could pass away within 24 hours.
I can't watch Peeler get that news. It brings back very clearly the awful, shocking moment when everything turned for the worst. Lots of people have been asking about what really happened with Doug and about the time line of his death. I believe that Brian Peeler posted the specifics in his blog a few weeks ago but I want to reiterate two things.
The first is that Doug was a really private guy who didn't want to share his health issues on the show or with many people involved with the show. He did open up about losing his entire family, and maybe having lost everyone informed how he chose to live. So all along the way the producers handled this in the show as Doug would have wanted, with some degree of privacy. Secondly, the time line of events are exactly as portrayed in the show. By that, I mean that Doug suddenly became ill in the days following his birthday party, but the news we were getting was that he would recover. And then Doug suddenly took a horrible turn after a series of obstacles, and Brian Peeler and the production and everybody suddenly got calls saying that he was not expected to make it a day longer.
His loss was a total shock to everybody. When Jackie initially told the trainers a few episodes back that Doug was in the hospital, not taking visitors, and expected to pull through, that was what everyone expected to happen.
Our image of Doug remains one of a strong, caring, sweet friend to everybody. In all our interactions I was most struck by his sincerity. What a heart he had. He wore it on his sleeve. I remember emailing back and forth with him last Thanksgiving break and him expressing how lucky I am to have a family and that I should know that and hold that close to me. He wasn't a "woe is me" kind of guy; he meant it with all his heart.
I last saw him at the benefit that's featured in the first episode of this season. He seemed both happy and reserved. He and Peeler were like a sweet married couple. I remember marveling at how their friendship had developed, and for some reason it gave me newfound respect for Peeler. Watching him cope with the loss of his friend is devastating.
Next week's episode contains a moment between he and Doug's ex boyfriend, Cheo, that will make you see what kind of guy Peeler really is.
What else can I say about this sweet man who endured so much pain in his life, yet gave so much to others....and then was taken way too early? Doug Blasdell left an impression, and he will be missed.