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.