Update on Sunday, October 30
It's been one year. We wish it would have never happened. However, we are so grateful that my brother has his life. He has come so far in one year. He meets with improvements each week. Some may choose to be sad today or maybe just reflective. I choose to be very thankful and will celebrate in some way. Jeff has the will and strength like no one I have ever known. He has the very best friends and fans. Jeff is so fortunate to have his immediate circle of his wife, family and friends by his side daily, weekly. Thanks to you all! Please send a cheer to Jeff today!
Update: Tuesday, October 4th @ 9:00 am
We see progress, although a little at a time. Jeff is fully engaged in his outpatient therapy at the Elk's Rehab. He really likes his therapy team. He is responding very well to suggestions, like opening his hand and doing is arm exercises. He is noticeably getting closer to getting those words out. He really wants to speak, and in time, we are very hopeful that he will get that ability back. Pam is caring for him 24/7. Mom is there to help out with Jeff, as well. It is not easy on either of them. Friends stop by to pay visits, which Jeff loves. Pam printed all 1288 get well messages from you and placed them in a binder. They are beginning to read each entry to Jeff. Your words will mean a lot to him. Thanks for your continued support and prayers.
Update: Sunday, August 28th at 3:00pm
Last night was a very special night for all of us . . . especially Jeff! It was the Jeff Russell Benefit Race at Meridian Speedway. Before the main events began, family and friends gathered on the track as Adam Nelson spoke of Jeff's life-changing event and remarkable progress over the past 10 months. Al Jr. and Mercedes drove Jeff out onto the track in a shiny, red convertible. People who have not see Jeff's since last year, were able to get a glimpse of him as they took a lap. Jeff was presented with the American flag which flew over Camp Victory in Iraq during Operation New Dawn. Very special!
We would like thank all of you in attendance at the races last night. Your generosity is overwhelming. In addition to a portion of the gate and all of the raffle ticket sales going toward Jeff's Benefit Fund, many of the evening's racers passed their helmets in the stands and collected even more money for rehabilitation expenses! One very special item up for auction was a custom helmet painted by Jeff's close friend, Glen Cornell. It is a piece of art really. TC Ellis won the helmet in the raffle, which was then purchased by Randy Irish for $500. TC turned around and donated the $500 to Jeff's Recovery Fund. Randy is now going to give the helmet to Jeff. You have big hearts, HUGE! Thanks Meridian Speedway Fans! Jeff felt the love last night. We simply cannot thank you enough.
Please see Bob's photos of the special evening in the link below . . .
The Jeff Russell Benefit Was a Hugh Success!
Thank you Race Fans! Your Awesome!
Update: Thursday, August 25 @ 8:30
Great News! Jeff is coming home tomorrow! I will have more details later, but wanted to let you all know as soon as the plans were solidified. We hope that Jeff can make a brief appearance at his benefit race at Meridian Speedway on Saturday night. Please try to make it to the races. It will be a special night, indeed. Another milestone! Partial proceeds will go to the benefit fund to help pay for Jeff's outpatient therapy, which is not covered by insurance. Thanks for your caring thoughts and support.
This is the helmet painted by Glen Cornell for The Jeff Russell Benefit Race Raffle!
This Shirt is autographed by Greg Anderson and team and will be raffled at the race.
Get your raffle tickets Saturday night at the races.
Update: Monday, August 22 @ 9:00 pm
What a wonderful event we attended yesterday to benefit Jeff's recovery fund! Randy and Crissie Irish hosted a 'larger that expected' show of Rods and Rides. We would like to thank Randy and Crissie for this amazing production. It was really the perfect setting. We all ate well thanks to the big heart and grill of John Toth from Tavern @ Bown Crossing. A special thanks to everyone who prepared and displayed their cars and bikes. It was quite an impressive collection. We had a long list of donated items that made for a great series of raffles. Your generosity is appreciated very much and we know how much everyone is enjoying their prizes. Denise and Lester - your support and love is never-ending . . . so a never-ending thanks to you both. Thanks so much to all of you in attendance on Sunday. It meant so much to see you all in support of Jeff. We hope you had a great time on such a beautiful day. Jeff would have loved it to no end. And he would have loved seeing all of you. Maybe we can do this again in the spring when he can be here with all of you.
For a recap of the day, please see the link below to access photos provide by Bob Cambou. Thanks Bob!
PS. . . Wayne - Glad to hear you are home. We hope you feel better soon!
Plan to attend the "Rods & Rides" Benefit Car & Bike Show Sunday August 21. Proceeds will go to the Jeff Russell Recovery Fund.
8600 W. Elisa Street Boise
Update: Friday, July 22 @ 1:30 pm
Jeff will have his first family visit this weekend since being at "TBI Bootcamp" for the past month. We will have more details for you early next week. Here are some bits of information we have gathered so far. Jeff has a staff of people working with him for most of each week day. He has the weekends "off" and they will gradually begin to socialize Jeff . . . movies, grocery store, etc. He sometimes rejects his therapy out of stubbornness, not realizing that the staff is there to help him. It does not appear that this occurs very often. He probably gets frustrated in knowing what he wants to do, but not yet able to do it. He shares an apartment with two other patients. He has his favorite staff people, much like what we noticed in Boise. He is improving since being at this new facility. We will post more later. Thanks for checking in and for keeping Jeff in your thoughts and prayers.
Update for Friday, July 8th @ 7:00 am
It is not so easy to write updates for you since Jeff has relocated. We all miss him so much. Pam speaks with him each night on the phone. Mom and Al Jr have also spoken with him. The entire family will get a progress report from the facility next week. We are looking forward to that. It seems to be a great place and they are being very good to Jeff. He is getting along well with the other patients. He was helping to sweep, vacuum and put away dishes during his first week there. They seem to keep him very busy. On the weekends, he likes to lay out on the patio. At the end of this month, we can begin family-only visits. It will be exciting to see his progress. This is the best next step for Jeff. He is in good hands. We thank you for your continued support.
Update: Thursday, June 23 @ 2:00pm
Jeff was transported this week to a private traumatic brain injury rehabilitation facility in California. This has been in the works for some time. Al, Jr and Denise have been jumping through hoops with insurance company and the facility to get this arranged. The insurance company is not supportive, but we knew it was the best chance of a full recovery for Jeff, so we are moving ahead without them (for now). Jeff is essentially participating in "brain injury bootcamp." He cannot have family visitors for one month. This will allow the staff to focus on Jeff entirely. Jeff is so very lucky to be participating in the program. He was perfect on his flight down. He was immediately thrust into physical and speech therapy. Jeff spoke more in the first hour of his new speech therapy session than he did in 6 months in Boise. Jeff loves his new speech therapist. Ahhh, such a sigh of relief and continued hope! Your continued prayers and positive thoughts are welcome as Jeff progresses through this next phase of his recovery. We would like to thank Dr. Cox, Jeff's fav RN Tonya and the extensive staff at St. Al's TBI Rehab for Jeff's care over the past many months.
Update: Monday, June 13 @ 7:30 pm
Jeff has experienced a lot of progress over the past two weeks. He can really comprehend the actions and words of others. He is walking very well, but still with some assistance. He is getting words and phrases out with clarity. Sometimes, the words do not flow so easily and it frustrates him. We all just reassure him to keep trying to speak. Many of the hospital staff that have not seem him in a week are excited for these changes. It is really great to see him display confidence. Jeff's cousins, Brent and Mike, were here for the weekend. Brent promised Jeff lobster for lunch and delivered on the promise. Jeff was very happy to have a meal away from the hospital cafeteria. Mom and I have been making him special treats. He loves them. Some are concerned that he is going to get fat, but he won't. He burns a lot of calories on his walks and during PT. We are thankful for the healthy appetite and good physical movement. Jeff was very pleased today to learn that the tear in his lower eyelid will be repaired tomorrow. Slowly but surely, we move forward! Many thanks to you for your continued thoughts and prayers for Jeff. He is such a lucky man to have you all in his corner.
Update: Thursday, June 2 @ 10:00 am
Jeff is doing well and holding steady. He has subtle progressions. He is eating regular food now which is great for him. It seems he is ready to do much more. He tries so hard to speak and gets some words out. We hope that he can express himself fully very soon. It would be great if he could have constant physical and speech therapy each day, but that is not possible. Each of the family members do our best to encourage speech and walking, at least, but we can only spend so much time with him each day. I wish we could do more for Jeff. But again, recovery tends to be a long and slow process. Apologies for not posting for a while. It does not mean that anything is wrong with Jeff. I hope it does not keep you from think of and praying for Jeff. Thanks so much for checking in!
Update: Wednesday, May 18th @ 7:10 pm
It seems like Jeff made several leaps this week. Last night, he was literally walking by himself. He had Jeff Goade by his side to support him. But he had his balance and did great walking on his own. He also fed himself his entire dinner. He did not need any help from me! I usually scoop his food onto his spoon and he takes it from there. It is easier for me (and whoever else is with him at meals) and for him. I have let that assistance go on too long. He needs his independence with this task (and others). After dinner, we went to the gym so that Jeff could get in some activity on the stationary bike and the stairs. He enjoyed that additional activity that was beyond his daily physical therapy.
Tonight, he needed just a bit of support walking. He may have been a bit tired as he had been walking around most of the day. I noticed that his right leg seemed as strong and able as his left. This is such good progress! He also used his right hand more than I have ever seen to this point. Jeff has also been very good lately about taking his medication orally, rather that through his feeding tube. This has been a gradual process that sometimes frustrates him. Too many pills, it seems. Both nights, he was very willing to take each pill - one after the other. We want that feeding tube removed, as it must be very uncomfortable for him. He looked so good tonight. He was really calm, clear and alert. Some of his favorite hospital staff ladies were calling out his name as we walked around. He waved and gave them a big smile. He began to get tired, so we walked back to his room. He went straight to his sofa and tucked himself in for a little nap. We are so proud of Jeff. These leaps are the result of a lot hard work on his part. I really sensed that he felt confident tonight. Great for him!!! Just so you know, we shared your birthday wishes with Jeff last week. Thanks so much for thinking of him.
Update: Tuesday, May 10th @ 7:00 am
Jeff had a great weekend. He was able to get outside and walk around for a bit (with assistance). It was nice for him to get some fresh air and in a different environment for a short time. Our Mr. Houdini is at it again. Jeff sleeps in a veil bed that is a bit like a tent. It can be zipped up from the outside to secure him and help to insure his safety so that he does not fall out of his bed. He gets zipped in after about 11:00 pm each night and sleeps until 6:00 or 7:00 am. Monday morning, his nurse went in at 6:00 to check on him. Jeff had unzipped the "unzip-able from the inside" veil and had somehow walked himself to the sofa that is in his room. He was sound asleep on that sofa. He likes the sofa, but we didn't know how much! This incident shows more of his strong will. It also shows that more of his cognitive ability is present. He had to figure out how to escape the veil. I hope he can escape more than the bed veil and unzip himself all the way back to us someday soon. By the way, Jeff was born on Mother's Day, May 10th - forty seven years ago. I know he would appreciate your birthday wishes today.
Update: Tuesday, May 3 @ 7:30am
Jeff is so active lately. He really wants to walk a lot (still with assistance). He is also very curious about his surroundings. He peeks into other patients rooms just to see what is going on. He also wheels his way to a part of the building that has big windows. He looks intently at the traffic, buildings and the mountains. He is also trying to get words out. Yesterday he performed a new task. Linda, his CNA, asked him if he wanted to help her wipe down the tables. He shook his head. She handed him a disinfectant wipe and he proceeded to wipe down the dining room tables. Again - a little thing for most of us that just brought tears to my eyes as I watched. It is progress! Nice job brother!!! Thanks so much for your prayers and support.
Update: Sunday, April 24 @ 7:30 am
Jeff is wanting to become more mobile. He likes to walk after his dinner rather than just cruising around in his wheelchair. This has been going on for about a week (with two people assisting him). Yesterday, as he was eating dinner and he crossed his left leg over his right knee. He did this several times that night. Something new. Tonight Pam left Jeff with some fresh flowers, the sound of the ocean on a cd and his fan blowing on his bed. He likes the sound and coolness of the fan. After I finished having dinner with him, Jeff's RN, Tonya, and I took him to his bed. He laid down and soon wanted to get back up. We thought he wanted to cruise around before going to sleep. But instead, he walked (with our assistance) over to the fan. He sat on the sofa next to it and began adjusting the knob to keep it from oscillating. He wanted the breeze on him steady. He also adjusted the fan so it was blowing lower toward him. Tonya and I keep looking at each other in amazement. Something really new! Her words were "BAM!" as in new things are unfolding. Just wait and see! Have a very Happy Easter! Please hold Jeff in your prayers. Thanks for your messages and for checking in on him.
We would like to thank everyone who came out to the Jeff Russell Poker Benefit. You were all so generous with your time and donations. It was a good turnout and it appeared everyone had a Great time.
Update: Friday, April 15 @ 6:00 am
Jeff had his bone flap (skull bone) replaced last week. He was only is ICU for one day, as he was ready to get out of there. He seemed to recover fairly quickly, given it is a such an invasive procedure. His meds had to be adjusted to fight off possible infection. It will take a while for the incision to heal and its a bit itchy right now for him. This week has been good for Jeff. He has had more movement in his right arm, which he typically holds very close. He was looking at a digital picture frame that Bob put together for him. When he was finished looking at it, Mom heard him say, "shut it off." That was a very intentional phrase. Especially since he is not yet speaking fully. I would like to ask if we could all pray for his skull and brain to heal, his right arm to move freely and without pain and for Jeff to get his voice back. I know he would be very appreciative!