Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rambling notes on Bruce Springsteen and Jeffrey's last ride

It's 3 AM and I can't sleep... its funny sometimes how things in our lives bind together

I awoke from a strange dream. Into my head drifted Bruce Springsteen's "Outlaw Pete". The song really hooked me when I heard it live in LA. So I bought it and now can't hear enough of it. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my headphones and fired it up on the PC. Let me look up those words. As I click over to to read the lyrics, I land on the front page.

On the site is Bruce's own recollection of Super Bowl Sunday. Bruce's great adrenaline rush is splayed out for all. "...It was a high point, a marker of some sort and went up with the biggest shows of our work life." For me, this brings a flood of memories. You see, I spent almost all of Super Bowl Sunday in the hospital as doctors tried to save my best friend Jeff's life from a horrific crash he had on his bike while we rode early that morning. My own adrenaline rush that day is summoned from a low point smashing in my gut. Its a real downbound feeling that months later I still can't shake off: The panicked call to 911 in an moment of helplessness as deep as I have ever dropped... watching Jeff after the fall. The only moments of joy I recall from that afternoon in the hospital was watching Bruce and the band do what they do best for 12 minutes on a tiny TV in the ER waiting room. For just a few minutes they woke me out of my somber state of grief that day. Tears overwhelm me as I tap this out and read it back again. But they feel oddly soothing on my face in the still of the night.

The year before, we held a little Super Bowl party at our house. Jeff was there with some great hors d'oeuvres he had made. Jeff had been a chef before his last gig as a wine and beer distributor sales rep and he made some delicious shrimp wrapped in prosciutto. Unlike myself and many of our house full of mostly Giant fans that day, Jeff had no real interest in the game. But when half time came on, and Tom Petty took the stage, both of our sound systems in the house were cranked up to 11 and Tom and the Heartbreakers went on fire. We all sang along. It was a rock and roll blast. Jeff loved it. I know because he reminded me of it while we were riding on that fateful last day of his: "I know you're gonna crank up Bruce Springsteen this afternoon." he said. "Last year was so great - the way Tom Petty was blaring through your house like a concert. That was the highlight man, not the game." Jeff never got to see or hear this year's game or concert. It was not meant to be. A few days later at home watching Bruce and the band play that 12 minutes, two days had passed and my emotions simply wouldn't prop up. I'm hoping and dreaming that one day, I'll get to hear it again and it will truly lift me up the way Bruce and the band intended.

"Jeffrey - you passed away a week ago now. We missed that Springsteen Superbowl concert. But tomorrow we'll take your favorite ride to the coast with you 'You gotta ride, man' you would always tell me. And ride we will. We covered thousands of miles, year after year after year. Its what we did. And you went out doing it in style. Kicking ass up that hill and never looking back. Tell you what I'm gonna do for you my bother, I'm gonna hook up a boom box on my bike and blast Petty and Springsteen while we roll down those last few miles one last time. It'll be great. You're friends are coming over. Let's have some fun. We'll spread some of your presence over the land and sea. We'll see you there."

We'll take Jeffrey with us on his last bike ride and scatter some of his ashes along the beautiful stretch of California coast where he loved to ride. Barbara tells me this is where Jeff first started to ride distance many years ago. So I think it appropriate for a little of him to remain there. And you're welcome to join us. Call me at 8o5-75o-8o25 if you want to join us Sunday morning at 9AM at the California Grill in Camarillo for the ride or later at 1PM for the service inside.



Monday, April 13, 2009

The Jeff Bayly (Pre Party) Bike Ride

Attention Cyclists:

Jeff used to love to ride from Camarillo down to the coast. If you would like to ride with us in Jeff's memory, please join us at the California Grill parking lot at 9 o'clock Sunday morning, April 19. We'll roll down to the coast, stop for a bit to remember Jeff and roll back - a distance of around 40 flat miles. We can then join up with the party at the Grill post ride. Contact me if you like for more info.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jeff's Memorial Celebration details

We will be holding a celebration of Jeff's life on Sunday, April 19th. Starting time is 1 PM. The venue is the California Grill at 67 Daily Drive in Camarillo. As you may know, Jeffrey was the chef there for many years. We will enjoy a few of Jeff's favorites courtesy of Jim Foley, owner. Please come, remember, celebrate Jeff's life, and please pass the word on to other friends of Jeffrey.

Thanks, Barbara and friends

To get to the grill, take the 101 freeway to Las Posas Road (Exit 55) in Camarillo. Turn right if heading north, left if heading south onto Las Posas Rd. After the freeway, get into the far right hand lane. The first light after the freeway will be Daily Drive. Turn right onto Daily Drive and take the very first left turn into the shopping center. Park your car and walk right on over to "the Grill."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Its all over now...

Jeffrey Jeru Bayly - May He Rest in Peace
December 20, 1954 - April 7, 2009

Jeffrey passed from this world into another tonight. Barbara was by his bedside. We'll be holding a memorial service in his honor, most likely on Sunday April 19. We'll get the word out here and by phone once arrangements are made. It goes without saying that if you want to attend, you will be welcomed. Thank you to all of you who wrote and called and sent Barbara and Jeffrey prayers of hope and love. It meant so much to everyone.

"They built the Titanic to be one of a kind,
but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel tower to stand alone,
but they could build another, if they pleased
The Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt are unique, I suppose,
but when the built you brother, they broke the mold.

The world is filled with many wonders
under the passing sun
But sometimes something comes along
and you know, it's for sure the only one
The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel,
Jesus, Mary and Joe
and when they built you brother, they broke the mold

When they built you brother
they turned this dust to gold
When they built you brother
they broke the mold

They say you can't take it with you
but I think that they're wrong
All I know's I woke up this morning
and something big was gone
Gone in to that dark ether
Where you're still young n' hard and cold
Just like when they built you brother
and broke the mold

Now your death is upon us
And we'll return your ashes to the Earth
And I know you'll take comfort in knowin'
You've been roundly blessed and cursed
But love is a power
Greater than death
Just like the songs and stories told
And when she built you brother
She broke the mold..." - Bruce Springsteen

Jeff & Beer

Greetings from room 2156.

Jeff loved his beer. With all due respect to all of the wine loving folks he
worked with, Jeff really preferred to have a well crafted beer after
the work day was done.

One day he showed up at my house with this beer. "It's perfect for you
man - Look at the label: He-Brew beer."

We never did get to drink it. But I think I'll crack it real soon in
Jeff's honor and memory.

Jeff's still hangin' on if you want to visit him here. But come by
soon if you want to say goodbye.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jeff is under Hospice Care

Jeff remains in room 2156 at Los Robles Hospital. Jeff is under the care of the hospice nurses now. He is resting comfortably. If you wish to see Jeff before he passes, you should visit him very soon. While there, Jeff may not understand what you say to him. But the staff says that the sound of familiar voices talking to him is probably soothing for Jeff. And, in my case, it feels good to talk to him.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Greetings from the hospital

Barbara and I are here with Jeff in room 2156 at Los Robles Hospital.
Jeff is still basically in the same condition. Jeff can make limited
finger movements from time to time, but that is really the extent of
his bodily motion.

Dr Murphy, a neuro specialist, told Barbara that he thinks Jeffrey is
in a chronic vegitative state. He thinks Jeff is out of his coma and
in this condition due to severe brain injury. They performed another
EEG today to test his brain activity. The best I can say right now is
that Jeffrey does look comfortable.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another move

Jeff has a new address. He remains in Los Robles hospital. He is now
in room 2156 on the 2nd floor in the medical wing. His condition
remains unchanged but all are welcome to visit him during visiting


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nothing new to report

Jeff is still in room 315 at Los Robles. I haven't been posting
because there hasn't been any real change since he was moved out of ICU.

Jeff remains in a coma, resting comfortably as best we can tell. He is
still warm from the chronic infections. There was no movement when I
asked Jeff to move his hand. Sorry that I don't have better news.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jeff has a new address!

Greetings from Jeff's new room He is finally out of ICU. His new room
is on the third floor of Los Robles hospital in TO - room 315. It is
all the way down the long hall from the elevators that come up from
the surgical waiting area.

Barbara is encouraging everyone who can to come visit Jeffrey. He is
still deep in his coma, stable, resting comfortably. Of course the
hope is that he'll pop out of it one of these days. That's all the
news for now.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Update

At least Jeff's got good music playing in his room. Other than that,
the report is that there are no major changes to Jeff's condition. He
remains unresponsive in his coma on day 30. I watched as Kim, his
nurse, tried to elicit stimulus with minimal result. Jeff's cough is a
little bit worse and he still has a fever.

There is a new staff of doctors tending to Jeff. So far he remains
off of the ventilator since Sunday morning. Thats it from here.


Monday, March 2, 2009

"Hallelujah", for Barbara

Every day since Jeff's accident, there has been a constant. Barbara by Jeff's side. She's been the angel in the room. Caring, crying, pleading with him to snap back, reminiscing, caressing him, displaying love in the truest meaning of the word. I'm honored that she has let me be by her side while she looks after Jeffrey.

As of late, Jeffrey enjoyed listening to female vocalists, mostly country singers. We have several of them playing on a little speaker setup near his window. Posted here is an exquisite version of Leonard Cohen's love song, "Hallelujah" (the Hebrew word for praise) recorded by k.d.lang. This is, in my view, one of Leonard's best songs, sung here with powerful emotion. If you can spare five minutes , turn up your speakers, click over to this youtube link and give it a listen. This ones for you, Barbara. Click here

1 month update

It has been 1 month since Jeff's fall. I visited him yesterday. Sadly, Jeff hasn't made any major progress in his brain activity. He remains in ICU in his deep coma, unresponsive. The doctors and nurses have stabilized his condition to the point where he is no longer on the ventilator. But while he is breathing on his own, he is being fed via a feeding tube directly into his stomach and his breathing is labored, assisted by the tracheotomy tubes.

I wish I could report better news, but I honestly cannot. Jeff's body is as limp as any of ours would be after not moving at all for a month's time. His body movements are limited to the mechanical rhythms of the unique hospital bed that shifts his body position for him, his reflexive breathing, coughing, tongue shifts, and occasional eye fluttering underneath his closed eyelids. I am so sorry to write that after a month of visiting Jeff, hoping for the best, seeing little positive signs, talking to doctors and nurses, my personal optimism for Jeff's recovery has dimmed. Barbara and Stephanie are with Jeff today at the hospital talking once again to the neuro doctors. I'll post another update when I can.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday Update

Greetings from ICU on day 25. Barbara says Jeff stuck his tongue out
twice for her in the past few days. That good news is offset by the
2nd EEG results from Dr Tang. While the brain waves are still
measurably present, Jeff did not respond to stimuli as he did during
the first test. Dr Tang says it is sometimes a month or more before a
patient in Jeff's condition spontaneously opens his eyes. That is the
breakthrough sign we are all hoping for.

Jeff is not responding to my or nurse Jama's requests to move today.
But the staff is taking good care of him. The ventilator is still
required to help him breath. Jeff looks peaceful and clean as he
sleeps in his coma.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday Update

Jeff's fever dropped down to 99 from 104. They ran a second EEG this
morning on his brain. The nurse told Barbara that Jeff stuck his
tongue out on request. And Jeff gently squeezed Barbara's hand this
morning as well. He remains in ICU breathing with the aid of a
ventilator in an otherwise unresponsive state.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday condition update

Greetings from Jeff's room in ICU. We just got a visit from Dr Henry
Tang, a young neuro specialist. Dr Tang looked at Jeff's EEG brain
scan run yesterday. He was surprised at the level of brain activity.
While not near normal, Jeff does show regular brain activity. Dr Tang
was expecting less. This was good news.

Dr Tang said that Jeff's brain has sustained some "insult". The area
of most damage is his occipital lobe. This affects his vision. The
strokes are areas of the brain that have died. But nearby regions of
the brain can take on the load and people have some recovery that
way. Dr Tang does think that Jeff is fighting and that the occasional
signs of movement on command are good and hopeful. If Jeff can come
out of this, his rehab will be quite lengthy. But this is the first Dr
that I have spoken with that provided a rehab roadmap.

Jeff looks better without the tubes in his mouth. The tracheotomy has
proved beneficial. Once again, Jeff is currently unresponsive. But
his fevered body is busy fending off infection, so there is a fighting
chance for him despite the deep coma.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Condition update

Greetings from Jeff's room in ICU. Just a quick update. There are no
real changes or movement in Jeff's current condition. Today is day 17
for Jeff in the hospital. He is due to get a traecheotomy as
previously mentioned. I'll keep you updated as soon as I know of
anything new.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Condition Update

Sorry to report that there are no major changes in Jeff's condition.
His new feeding tube is providing him nourishment without signs of
infection. His ventilator is in a more modest assist mode as his
breathing improves. But Jeff was unresponsive on Friday and remains in
his ICU bed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still the same...

Jeff's condition remains the same. He remains unresponsive. He got a
visit from a new doctor, Dr Johnson. Dr J put a feeding tube directly
into his stomach from Jeff's side. He told us all went well. Jeff has
one less tube in his mouth which should lesson his discomfort. His
respiratory condition is improving but Dr Dutta said that he still has

Looking at him now, I believe he would be shocked to see his hair. Can
you picture Jeff with a Mohawk? And it's growing into a mullet.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little good news

This morning Dr Chan, Jeff's neurosurgeon, asked Jeff to move. Jeff
was able to move his left foot and right foot independantly. Then
Jeff was able to raise his right arm when requested. Dr Chan saw
theses small steps as a hopeful sign of progress. I think it's an
indicator of Jeff's strength, resolve and healing although it's still
a long way home.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sometimes it's the little things

Greetings from Jeff's room. Jeffrey is once again able to move his
thumbs and squeeze our hand on request. That movement is sporadic.
It only occurs once in a while. Still, it's a sign.

Dr Kumar, pulmonary specialist was just in. He said that Jeff has
improved to the point where he should be getting a smaller breathing
tube. They'll give Jeff a tracheotomy and that will help him breathe

Also, Barbara reviewed a new ct scan with Dr Chan. He said that there
have been no additional strokes. And the thalamus might not be
affected - the earlier stroke was next to it not directly on it.

Other than the little signs of thumb and hand movement, Jeff's
condition remains similar.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Update

There are no major changes in Jeff's condition as of this moment. His
scars and skin wounds contnue to heal. He remains unresponsive. The
nurses lowered the assist level on his ventilator as he has a bit more
lung strength. Sadly, Jeff was not moving his thumbs on command but
did manage a very gentle hand squeeze as I bid him goodbye on Sunday.

Over the weekend, Jeff had lots of visitors. We also hooked up a
little MP3 player and speakers to play him some of his favorite tunes.
Jeff was favoring female country singers as of late, so that's mostly
what's playing. We only hope that he can hear them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Condition Update 2

Jeff made the first small positive signs I have seen in his condition since the accident. Jeff was asked to move his thumbs throughout the day by various people, including Barbara, Stephanie, his attending nurse Julie, and myself. On three of these occasions, he visibly moved his thumb and, in my case, lightly squeezed my hand. This happened mid day for both Barbara and the nurse and around 5 PM in my case. Otherwise, Jeff showed no voluntary signs of body movement or major changes throughout the rest of the day. His scars continue to heal and his swelling decreased a little bit. Jeff is absorbing his food through the feeding tube but his body is still running a fever.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Condition Update

Here is what we know of Jeff's condition:  Jeff remains in a coma in ICU on a ventilator to aid his breathing, feeding tubes to nourish him, and other tubes to help various other bodily functions. His facial swelling has lessened. He has had several major strokes since his accident.   

Monday's cat scan showed that a series of strokes had occurred since the accident. Jeff's brain continues to be damaged by these strokes.  They occurred in areas of the brain that control vision, speech and motor coordination.   

On Wednesday, the ventilator was removed for a short period of time and Jeff was able to breathe on his own.  However, his breathing was very labored.  He has a collapsed lung and his brain is not directing his body to function normally.  The ventilator was put back into him.  Another Cat scan showed that an additional stroke had occurred.  I reviewed the scan with Dr Chan, Jeff's neuro surgeon, who pointed out this very damaging stroke.  Here, from, is the definition of the area of Jeff's brain where this latest stroke occurred  :  Deep inside the brain is the thalamus, which is the relay station for incoming impulses from the rest of the body, conveying sensations of pain, touch, and temperature to other parts of the brain. 

Jeff's brain is not regulating his body temperature, so he heats up and is cooled by ice packs and cooling blankets.  The nurses and doctors in the Los Robles ICU had been outstanding in their care and concern shown to Jeff.  

On Thursday, he was visited by Dr Dutta, a respiratory specialist.  Jeff has developed pneumonia.  The Dr stated that this is normal in trauma cases where there is a collapsed lung.  Jeff went on fresh antibiotics.  A few hours after the antibiotics were administered, Jeff's temperature, which had been as high as 106 since the accident, was at 98.7 degrees.  In the afternoon, Dr Amusi, Jeff's original trauma ER physician, was in and he told us something like this "What we can do is wait, hope and pray for your friend.  Miracles do occur"

On Friday morning, Barbara told me that there were no major changes in Jeff's condition.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Hey Man, Let's Ride!" - one last time

"It was a beautiful day.  The sun beat down...   yeah, running down a dream..."  - Tom Petty

If you're reading this post, you probably already know that Jeff Bayly was injured this past Sunday in a solo accident. Jeff was doing what he loved doing - riding his bike.  I was with Jeff at the time.  Here's what I remember happening on that fateful day:  

Jeff and I were out on a beautiful Super Bowl Sunday morning for what was supposed to be a great ride. We had ridden over 50 miles the previous day so we didn't want to push ourselves too hard today.    We had ridden 20 miles together through Somis and Moorpark as we rolled up the hills.  We joked that we had cheated death again by outrunning the traffic on Highway 118. Jeff said "Where's the adventure if you're not living dangerously?"

We climbed up onto Olsen Rd in Thousand Oaks and turned west.  Everything was fine.  The hill ahead of us had a nice mellow uphill grade, the sun was shining over our shoulders and the warm east wind was coming from behind, giving us a gentle push up the hill.  As we ascended, Jeff got a great burst of energy.  He took off as I sang out "go Johnny go go go" and I watched him accelerate.  We climbed up and Jeff crested the top first.  We had the clear, wide bike lane to ourselves.  

Suddenly, in a vision burned into my memory, I glanced up to see Jeff's front wheel wobble sideways and Jeff toppling forward over his bike.  I called out to him but there was no response.  I was about 20 seconds behind Jeff and raced up to help.  As I jumped off my bike, I could hear Jeff struggling to breathe.  He was in major distress.  As I crouched over him, I could see major bleeding from the fall.  His helmet was intact, but he had taken a very tough blow to his face.   It was bloody and traumatic.  He didn't respond when I called out his name.   How could this happen I asked myself?  Jeff probably wasn't even going 20 miles an hour.  I was shocked and perplexed.

I grabbed my phone and dialed 911.  I knew not to move him.  Not a minute went by before a motorist stopped and asked if Jeff was OK.  When I yelled "No, he's not"  the fellow went back to his car and ran up with a full medic bag.  911 was on the line with me by now.   By minute two, a second good Samaritan had come up and told me that he had just gotten off his shift.  John was a paramedic, and asked me if he could direct the responders at 911 as he tore into the medical supplies to aid Jeff.  I was thinking that Jeff was in good hands now and would be alright. But still he bled, moaned and shuddered.

The fireman, police, ambulance and paramedics arrived in about 8 minutes time.  They went to work right away, putting Jeff into a neck collar brace, loaded him onto a gurney and rushed him to Los Robles Hospital. The sheriffs were on site and noted what happened.  We walked through the crash as best I could recall it.  There were a pair of fist sized rocks in the bike lane.  Jeff's rear tire was flat. But his bike was otherwise fine. At that time, I assumed he had hit the rocks, went down but would be alright after the doctors patched him up.  So, I waited behind with our bikes and belongings.  My wife was driving up to meet me so that we could meet the officers and Jeff at the ER.  

When we arrived at the ER, I was told "You do realize that your friend is seriously injured? He's getting a cat scan just now.  He won't be out for 45 minutes or so."  I was in denial.  I said to Char "Lets get a quick bite nearby.  Besides, I need a drink"  My phone rang at the restaurant.  It was one of the officers.  He told me that Jeff was in worse shape than we had first thought.  He needed to collect Jeff's clothing and bike that I had taken in our car. As I hung up the phone, I began to come out of my denial and realize that Jeffrey had not just crashed.  This was not a normal bike accident.

As we drove back to the hospital, my phone rang. It was the sheriff'sofficer again.  He asked me to go directly back to the crash site and meet an investigator.  "Due to the serious nature of your friend's injury, we are classifying this as a more serious accident and need to investigate it further"  he said.  He also told me that the cat scan showed Jeff was in very, very bad shape.
Officer Godfrey was waiting to meet me and review the crash.  He looked at the site, looked at Jeff's bike and clothing and we tried to piece together the accident.  I still chalked it up to hitting a rock.  But I was puzzled, as was he, by the fact that the only scratches on Jeff's bike were on the brake hood and the rear wheel skewer where he skidded.  Jeff hadn't gone up and over the bars. He was fully clipped in when he stopped.  And the front wheel and tire which had wobbledwere intact and relatively scratch free.  The flat rear tire was the sole out of sorts item.

Officer Godfrey took Jeff's clothes and bike. Char and I took off for the ER.  The accident happened at 10:24 AM and it was now sometime after noon.  Barbara, Jeff's girlfriend, was already at the ER.  We went in the ER to see her and Jeff.  The CAT scan showed that he had suffered major trauma to his skull and brain.  He had also broken his shoulder, some ribs and punctured his lung.  Jeff was stillunconscious when I saw him again.  

The ER ordered a second CAT scan around 1 PM because the first scan showed 2 blood clots on the top of his brain.   After the second scan, a neurosurgeon briefed us.  Dr Chan told us this terrible news "I don't know if  Jeff is going to make it" he said.  Dr Chan showed us how and where the clots had gotten larger.  He ordered emergencyneurosurgery for Jeff, who by this time was on a ventilator in order to stabilize his breathing.

The surgery lasted over 3 and a half hours.  Afterwards Dr Chan came out to greet us.  By this time, there were 10 of us waiting to hear the news.  Dr Chan said that he successfully stopped the clotting.  But there was damage done to Jeff's brain.   This was major damage.  Dr Chan said that Jeff would be in intensive care and that all we could do is wait to see what would happen next.  He described Jeff's injuries as major brain trauma and that he did not expect to see any outcome or changes in Jeff until at least 48 hours to 7 days later.  

Barbara and I went in to see Jeff that Sunday night around 9 PM.  He was in the shape that you never want to see your friends or loved ones in.  Jeff had bandages on both sides of his skull where they had gone in to remove the clots.  His face was badly swollen.  Tubes were running in and out his body seemingly everywhere.  A ventilator was humming, forcing his lungs to breathe rhythmically.  He was totally unconscious and unresponsive.  The doctors and nurses in attendance were cautioning us that Jeff's condition was severe and grave.  We were praying for the best and girding ourselves for the worst - still in shock. 

That's where things stood on Sunday night, February 1, 2009 -  the last ride I'll probably take with Jeff Bayly.