It’s been an emotional week to be a fan of Slim Dunlap. The former “Replacement-Replacement” and hard-gigging songwriter and guitarist is in the hospital this week dealing with the aftermath of a severe stroke, and his wife, Chrissie, reports that though he had been able to speak and move half his body immediately following the stroke, his condition had taken a turn for the worst and he underwent emergency surgery yesterday.
“He had a rough day,” she writes. “Swelling of the brain is normal after a stroke but should subside after a few days; Slim’s brain kept on swelling. [Wednesday] afternoon, it was do or die–they cut out a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure. The surgery appears to have been a success as he is much improved… He is on a respirator and feeding tube, but he is responsive and he wants to hold your hand. We all feel like he is on the upswing now and will start to be more alert.”
Dunlap received several visitors at the hospital last night, including his Replacements bandmate Paul Westerberg and wife Laurie Lindeen. “Upon walking in the door [Paul] said, ‘Well, that’s the quietest I’ve ever seen him,’ that fabulous gallows humor of his, which made me believe Slim’s on the road to recovery,” says Lindeen. Dunlap held onto Westerberg’s hand while friends played Hank Williams songs for him on a boombox; they say at one point Dunlap moved his hand along with the music as if he was strumming his guitar.
These stories and more are being gathered up on the Slim Dunlap Fan Club page over on Facebook, as more and more musicians step forward to pay tribute to one of the kindest souls in the community.