Thompson's book, Home in One Piece, is plain-spoken and punctuated with self-deprecating humor. It's amazing Thompson can laugh considering what he's been through in the ten years since this once-shy North Dakota native was catapulted into international headlines.
Working alone on his parents' farm in January 1992, Thompson's shirt became entangled in machinery while grinding feed. In an instant, both arms were ripped from his body and he was knocked unconscious. His dog licked his face until he regained consciousness. Thompson, an 18 year-old high school senior, gathered his strength, staggered more than 100 yards to the farmhouse and opened the door with his mouth. Inside, he grasped a pencil in his teeth and used it to punch numbers on the telephone to call for help. He then crossed the hall and climbed into the bathtub so he wouldn't bleed on his mother's carpet.
Thompson's arms were reattached in pioneering bilateral replantation surgery in Minnesota. Following his accident, countless newspapers, magazines and television reports chronicled his actions and heralded him as “courageous” and “heroic”. Thompson tells a different story in Home in One Piece, documenting his private personal struggles, including severe depression and even thoughts of suicide.
This report prepared by Meredith Spier