Jeff's Recovery 2
Update: Tuesday, March 8th @ 5:30 pm
Pam and I sat with Jeff as he ate lunch today. He fed himself for the most part. From the beginning of the meal to the end, he made progress. I realized how we take for granted the little things everyday. And when I watch Jeff accomplish these small but huge tasks, it brings such hope for his recovery. Jeff has some obvious hospital staff favorites. His doctor mentioned that his recognition and acknowledgement of this particular person is a positive signal of having short term memory. This tends to be an issue with TBI patients. This is a good sign for Jeff.
Over the weekend, Jeff had a nice long walk with Ray and Judy around the hospital. . . some new territory. Goade and Jeff put more miles on the wheelchair. . . more new territory. You see, Jeff is suppose to stay on his floor. But sometimes he just makes his way beyond those four walls.
On a very special note, our friend Bonnie Bishop is not well. Bonnie and her love of ~22 years, Glen Cornell were married in the hospital on Friday. Glen was a member of Jeff's pit crew. With his doctor's approval, Pam was able to take Jeff to Bonnie's room for their wedding. This certainly meant a lot to his friend, Glen. May God bless Bonnie and Glen!
Update: Thursday, March 3,@ 9:00pm
It was a very good day for Jeff. He walked about 1000 ft. He is up 1.5 lbs since he has been getting some real food. The highlight of his day was a visit by his niece Mercedes and by Max the Therapy Dog. Pam recently brought in music for Jeff, after learning that it played a role in Gabby Giffords' speech therapy/recovery. Thanks for all of your great messages. We really appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts.
Update: Monday, Feb 28 @ 6:00 am
It has been a steady week/weekend for Jeff. He has progressed with his physical therapy by walking around with very little assistance. He walks for longer periods now. He also zips around in his wheel chair. They are getting his food / tube feedings figured out. He LOVES to eat and really looks forward to his meals. I spoke with a "sitter" last night. She commented on his progress. She also said that miracles are made here and she has seen plenty of them. We know that Jeff is already a miracle. But please know that even with his amazing progress since October 30, the road to recovery is a long one. It just is! The brain heals in its own time. Jeff's responsiveness is certainly encouraging and your prayers and support are needed every step of the way.
I used to post updates everyday because in his critical stage, we did have information daily that was important to share. Jeff now is stable and going through his rehabilitation. There is good progress and there are also slight peaks and valleys, which should be expected. We continue to have our vision of his full recovery. That is why your 'get well' posts are so helpful to Jeff and to all that check this site. Most recently and moving forward, I will be providing updates to you twice per week. With that, I should be able to report new developments. I hope to get something out on Thursdays and Sundays - - - give or take. I want these updates to be meaningful and not just words (for the sake of posting something everyday) because this is my way of helping my brother right now - its my gift. I hope you understand and we are encouraged if you stop by each day to send him a note and check other messages. Thanks so very much!
Update: Wednesday, Feb 23 @ 8:45 pm
I had dinner with my brother last night. Jeff enjoyed a full meal of pureed foods. He was able to drink from his glass of milk without any assistance. I could tell that he really enjoyed being able to taste food again. After dinner, he cruised around in his wheelchair. He wondered into the computer room. I asked him if he wanted to see his website. I pulled up
www.ofracing.com and read him three of your get well wishes. He was a bit sleepy and wanted to get back to his room. I hope you know how valued your messages are to all of us. Thanks so much for your prayers and positive thoughts.
Update: Thursday, Feb 17th @ 5:00 pm
What a different a few days make! Jeff is freely getting about in his wheelchair by "pedaling" with both feet. His nurse said today that he is walking very well. For the past two days, he has been feeding himself pureed foods. A golden retriever therapy dog paid Jeff a visit today. Jeff reached out to pet the dog's forehead and the dog licked Jeff's face. Great therapy - wouldn't you say?! Thanks so much for your consistent well wishes and prayers.
Update: Tuesday, Feb 15th @ 7:00 pm
It seems that Jeff progresses a bit more each day. He can get out of bed by himself, but it is still not safe for him to do so. He now has a special bed that looks like a tent and zips up completely. It protects him should he try to slip out quickly. He has been getting around with the help of a nurse or family members in his wheel chair. He can use his feet to push himself some distance. But mostly he directs the person pushing with hand gestures. He is eating ice chips, as he is not quite ready to solid food. Today he looked through a magazine with Al Jr and seemed to recognize the images. He received several cards, balloons, etc for Valentine's Day. We love you Jeff!
Update: Monday, Feb 7 @ 7:50 am
Jeff had a great weekend! On Saturday, Pam had taken him outside in his wheel chair to get some of that beautiful sunshine and fresh air. He took a couple of naps during the day and seemed very rested. Al Jr., Mercedes and I were able to visit with him late in the afternoon. I gave Jeff a Super Bowl hat that I had purchased for him in Dallas earlier in the week. He took the hat and placed it on his head. He then took it off and adjusted the brim as if to break it in and he put it back on his head. Ha! I think he likes it!!! He then played catch with us for about 20 minutes. He even faked a throw to Mercedes. That's the Jeff we know and love. Al Jr. and Mercedes were leaving and she told her Uncle Jeff that she loved him. She waved goodbye and Jeff returned the wave! He waved to Al Jr too. These are huge moments for Jeff and all of us. Today, Jeff walked around his gym twice with his physical therapists. He is progressing very well with his PT. His doctor gave him permission to watch part of the Super Bowl tonight. He is the best dressed Steelers fan ever with jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and a fleece blanket from his friends and family. Well, so much for Pittsburgh, but Jeff's going to win his game! Thanks for your continued wishes and for checking in on Jeff today.
Update: Saturday, Feb. 5, @ 8:00 am
Jeff was recently fitted for a smaller trach - from a size 8 to a size 4. It was supposed to be in place for 48 hours. Jeff yanked it out after ~18 hours. Well that was that! I guess he decided he does not need it any longer. And they are not going to replace it. He is so much more comfortable now and it certainly indicates progress. Jeff's smile is even and full. We love it when he smiles. He has been throwing a ball on command as a part of this therapy. He played catch with Marilyn and today with Ray - 9 throws! Jeff's physical therapist, Brooks Aberg, saw him today. Jeff was very fond of Brooks who helped him recover quickly from his back surgery last year. Jeff recognized him immediately and flashed a big smile as they exchanged a "high five." And finally for today, Mercedes (age 4) was riding with Marilyn in the car and asked her Grandma why people go to school for so many years. After Grandma's explanation, Mercedes replied that she was going to be a painter and work with Uncle Jeff. She asked where his phone was so she could answer it for him too. Specialty Paintworks - you have a new crew member on the way. Out of the mouths of babes!
Update: Wednesday, Feb 2 @ 7:30 am
Progress and more progress! All of the previous blood clots Jeff had in his limbs are now insignificant. He walked ~60 feet during physical therapy. Jeff also counted from 1-9. It seems that doctors and staff are very happy and pleasantly surprised at the rate of progress from Jeff. He is amazing, isn't he? Thank you for your continued positive thoughts and prayers. And many thanks for your continued "get well" posts which has almost reached 1000! We look forward to the day when Jeff can begin to read your messages.
Update: Sunday, January 23 @ 4:00 pm
We are all so appreciative of the support for Jeff yesterday at the Jeff Russell Grand Prix of Boise / Racing for Smiles. It is was fun and special morning for all who attended. A huge thanks to Ron Hayes / Fast Lane Indoor Kart Racing for hosting the event in your facility! More thanks to Print Craft and Raceway Video, Josh Thomas and Mike Minegar, WIRA, Lacie Nelson, Kara Casteel, Angela Dixon and Wendy Tilman. Special thanks to the sponsors which include Major Tire & Hitch, Global Peace Factory, Lamb Cylinder Heads, A-1 Heating & Air Conditioning, Idaho Racing News, Mike Minegar's Auto Body, Meridian Speedway, Sears, Blimpie and Mulder's Auto Machine. To all of the participants and supporter of this event - - - it means a lot! It makes us very happy to know how much caring and support is out there for Jeff. He could not do this without all of you. We hope to see you all again very soon!
Update: Friday, Jan 28 @ 6:00pm
Jeff has been progressing all week and had a very productive day today. He walked six steps in physical therapy with very little help. After that mouthed the word, "Wow!" along with a bit of sound according to his speech therapists. He now has a device on his trach that now allows for sound. The OT had Jeff throw a small ball to Ray, who was in the room visiting. He successfully threw it across the bed twice. It was great to see! Today he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. It is nice that he can be out of a hospital gown. He has Pittsburgh Steelers stickers on the windows of his hospital room so that when he looks out, he is reminded of his favorite football team. Apologies for the delay this week with updates. I hope you all understand that I am doing my best to provide you with meaningful updates/information. I think that your get well posts are helpful not only to the family, but also to each one of you making the posts. We positively have a Jeff Russell Network going on here. Keep it up and thanks for your strength and caring thoughts toward my brother.
Update: Friday, January 21 @ 7:30 am
Jeff had a wonderful nurse over the past few days that was experienced with TBI (traumatic brain injury) patients. It seems that she has asked many of the right questions and helped to push things forward for Jeff. We thank you Tami!!! He has also progressed very well and has been quite responsive over the past several days. He has been smiling, shaking his head yes/no and moving his right leg again. Tonight he was active and sat up repeatedly on his own. He seems ready to get on with more rehabilitative therapy. Thanks so much for checking on Jeff today. We are very thankful for all of you!
Update: Monday, January, 18 @ 6:30 am
Good things are happening! I forgot to mention that Jeff's neck brace was removed last week. He is very happy about this and is much more comfortable. Today, his gall bladder drain was removed, after a positive ultra sound last week. He also expressed emotion yesterday in front of most of the family. It was a great sign of progress. Interesting how we take such things for granted. I know that Jeff appreciates your prayers and well wishes. We all do - so please keep them coming!