This message was edited on
September 25, 2008 at
11:51:30 PM by dkaskf
We will provide updates each evening here. The updates will be provided by Jeff's family so that you know you are getting accurate information regarding his condition.
YOU DID IT! Together we have raised the funds to pay the air ambulance bill and the physical therapy bill. Thank you race fans and teams!
Now that Jeff is home, several have asked where they can send well wishes. They can be sent to:
14809 Hanover Pike
Upperco, MD 21155
Update Thursday evening 9.25.08
Jeff continues to improve each day. He wishes to thank each and everyone of you for your prayers, calls, cards and support. He had hoped to make it to Williams Grove this weekend but has decided that he is not yet up to that. He wishes everyone a great weekend of racing - if the rain misses the track.
Update Thursday evening 9.18.08
The Shepard family continues to witness miracles each day with Jeff's recovery journey. Helen says the rapid improvement that was seen shortly after his return home has slowed down to a steadier pace. He still tires very easily and as result requires a lot sleep.
The therapy assessment is back. The decision: Jeff is progressing so well with the help of his family that outside physical, occupational and speech therapy are not needed. Another miracle indeed; given that 8-12 weeks of therapy was prescribed when he left the hospital! That doesn't however, mean he is off the hook – his family is committed to helping him get back to where he was. So they have taken on the role of the therapist with walks, memory games, brainteaser and strengthening exercises.
Tomorrow Jeff will see an eye doctor to get a second opinion on the eye condition that has developed since the accident. We will share more on that once we have know the prognosis.
Thank you so much for the cards and donations. Word can simply not describe how amazing the racing family has been. Helen lost count after 900 cards – Jeff reads each one and is inspired by all of them.
If all continues as is now, Jeff is planning on attending the National Open World of Outlaw races at Williams Grove Sept 26-27 so that he can personally thank the race teams and fans for the amazing support.
Next update is planned for early next week.
Update Wednesday evening 9.10.08
Jeff's is making incredible progress each day! His head and neck CT Scan and his blood work are within normal limits. This is great news! Jeff's short-term memory is also improving in leaps and bounds and his appetite is back. He is starting to gain back the weight he had lost, thanks to good home cookin'!
Other issues that Jeff has been dealing with are also improving – he is gaining strength, less tired and much steadier on his step. One area of concern is Jeff's vision; he has a black spot in on eye. The eye doctor said it is best to take a "wait and see" approach.
There was the expectation that the physical therapy assessment would be ready by today. Jeff has not received it; but the entire family is thrilled with Jeff's progress. They are confident that the assessment will concur with them that his is making spectacular progress and will need less vs. more therapy. The family wishes to again thank everyone for their continued support and prayers. The racing family is amazing!
Next update: next Wednesday, 9.17.08
Update Saturday morning 9.6.08
Jeff continues to improve each day. Yesterday he had the last assessment in this round of five to determine his therapy regime. This included a battery of tests – cognitive, memory, judgment and problem solving. The physician was quite impressed with his progress.
"It is amazing to see how his brain is transforming each day," Helen said.
The team of five who did the assessments will get together next week to determine if and what therapy needs Jeff has. Jeff's speed of improvement has been aided by being home and around family, bonding with his brother and laughing and playing with the children.
Jeff's appetite is returning (Mom's food helps tremendously here) and they are in working to help him regain his muscle strength which will help with the weakness and instability when walking. His short term memory is not back 100% but is improving.
One area of concern was addressed this morning. Jeff had another CT scan to see if they can determine why he is having pain in his back, shoulders and chest. They will have the results of the scan early next week as well.
Next update will be next Tuesday or Wednesday once we have the assessment and results of the scan.
Update Tuesday evening 9.2.08
The power of prayer is so evident in Jeff's recovery! Today he had physical, occupational and speech therapy assessments and everyone was amazed at his progress since last week! Jeff will go through two more assessments and the team of five therapists will develop his recovery plan.
Last night, with assistance, he took a stroll down the driveway to work on building his muscles back up. Jeff's voice is also improving. Today he enjoyed calls from Todd Shaffer and Fred Raymer. Thanks for the calls – they really lift his spirits.
As Helen said, Jeff's speed of recovery is nothing short of miraculous! Thank you all for your continued prayers.
Our next update will be Friday night once the next assessment is completed.
Update Friday evening 8.29.08 Only one words describes this evening - AWESOME! After two more days of intensive in-patient therapy, Jeff is now home! Just 22 days after the accident, Jeff walked into his house! The hard work of the last two days has included a focus on his walking which is much improved and helping him "connect the dots" in his short term memory, which is also improving. Prayers have been answered as Jeff's voice has improved a little as well! Next Tuesday Jeff will receive another assessment and begin out-patient therapy three days a week . The Shepards have been told to expect this to be the routine for the next three months. The weekend task is to re-orientate him with things at home including his Blackberry!
The Shepard family would like to once again express their heartfelt gratitude to fans in the northeast, all across the US and even Australia and Canada for the amazing support and prayers. Yes, today was indeed a good day. And it was an early extra special birthday present for Jeff's mom Helen whose birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday Helen!
The next update will be next Tuesday, 9.2, after Jeff has had the assessment and begins the new therapy regime.
Update Wednesday evening 8.27.08 Helen, Jeff's mom, reported that these last two days have been filled with many blessings! Jeff has worked very hard during therapy and it is paying off. His walking has improved so much that he left the walker in turn 4 and headed down the front stretch, or in this case the door for some fresh air! His memory is improving and his thinking skills are sharpening. His coordination is much better and his balance is improving as he regains his strength. In fact, Jeff is doing so well the doctors plan to discharge him after therapy on Friday! This is a full week ahead of schedule! The plan is for Jeff to start out patient physical therapy (which is covered by insurance) next week. Jeff will also continue with speech therapy in an effort to strengthen his vocal cords and increase his volume. Jeff has had many visitors and calls, which he appreciates. I spoke with him tonight and he wanted me to tell everyone "thank you."
The next update will be on Friday. Thanks again!
Update Monday evening 8.25.2008 Jeff had three hours of intensive therapy today - all designed to help his brain heal itself. He also did physical therapy that included walking with a walker, graduating to a cane and then taking a few steps without either. Jeff's voice is only a whisper right now. A speech therapist is working with him on that also. All this progress requires a lot of sleep which Jeff is getting. His appetite, however, has not returned. Jeff loves Italian food so take out from a nearby restaurant seemed to help a little.
The next few days will be filled with much of the same so we are going to go to an update every other day. Our next update will be Wednesday. Thanks for checking in and for your continued support.
Update Sunday evening 8.24.2008 Race family - you are totally awesome! A great big shout out to all of you have contributed and volunteered your time and efforts to raise funds for the air ambulance bill. Based on the reports we received last night - the Shepards will be able to pay it in full.
There is a bizarre insurance thing going on with his physical therapy which makes absolutely no sense (see above).
As for today, Jeff's daughter got to spend some time with her dad! There was some therapy and many friends. Tomorrow starts the intensive therapy for the next five days. The prayer is for continual progress. Jeff did do more walking with a walker and the physical therapist placed him on the parallel bars to start regaining strength. Looks like training for the 2012 Olympics will have to wait a bit but, for his first time, Helen reports he did well!
The Shepard family would also like to give a great big Thank you to the race fans at Lincoln Speedway last night. Wow! You guys have left the family overwhelmed with your generosity. Thank you so very much! The funds you donated were applied to finish off the air ambulance bill. The rest were applied to the physical therapy. Thank you!
Finally someone asked about purchasing t-shirts. We are looking that. Stay tuned...
Update Saturday evening 8.23.2008
Last night upon arrival at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, the admission team who assessed Jeff were pleased with his condition, which is hopefully for all of us! Based on this early assessment, he will begin intensive therapy on Monday. The therapy is designed to help him "retrain" his brain in a effort to get Jeff back to "normal function". It will focus on problem solving, reasoning and a variety of cognitive exercises. Today light physical, speech and swallowing therapy was done. Jeff also did some stair walking with assistance. He can sit up in a chair for about 45 minutes before he is completely worn out. Regaining his strength is hard work but he is certainly fighting hard to do so.
Update Friday evening 8.22.08
The air transport went well and Jeff is now closer to home in the acute head trauma unit of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. The journey was an exhausting one. Jeff was greeted by his girlfriend and other friends and family and will spend the weekend resting. A great big thank you to the entire racing family for the support and donations to assist with the air ambulance. We are getting closer and closer to our goal of $17K to pay the air ambulance bill. We have heard from several tracks today that are doing fund-raisers this weekend. I listed the ones I knew about as well as Hosehead Radio's "Shirts for Shep" promotion here. Thanks to everyone for coming together to help Jeff and his family!
Update Thursday evening 8.21.08
Thank you racing family - the donations to help get Jeff closer to home are coming in! Each night we will update you on our progress toward $17,000 here.
Today was a good day for Jeff. With the help of two physical therapists he started working on regaining the strength he has lost from 3 weeks in bed. With a physical therapist on each side and a walker to steady him, he was able to walk about 40 paces before he was all tuckered out. He was also upgraded from applesauce to his first "real" meal of soup and grilled cheese! Today marked a first - he didn't have the severe headache that had plagued him. God does heal the body quickly and the healing is certainly underway in Jeff. Because he is gaining strength so quickly, the doctors decided it was safe to move him closer to home! Tomorrow afternoon he and Helen will board an air ambulance flight for Baltimore and Pud will start the 18 hour drive home. Please keep all of them in your prayers for a safe journey. We will update you tomorrow evening with Jeff's new location as soon as they arrive and are settled in. Expect that to be no earlier than 10 pm ET. Thanks again for your donations. While we don't have the air ambulance bill paid we have an excellent start. The Shepard family thanks you from the bottom of their hearts!
Update Wednesday evening 8.20.08
First, thank you to each of you who have contributed to helping Jeff get closer to home. I will have an update on donations tomorrow evening.
Now for the update -- "Today was full of miracles," said Jeff's mom. Jeff took a few more steps with the help of his parents. He was able to sit up a bit longer than yesterday and able to feed himself. These activities in and of themselves are exhausting but are great big strides toward recovery. The doctors said that if he continues to progress like this tomorrow, he may be ready to head to Baltimore as early as Friday! The family would like to stress that Jeff has not fully recovered. He still has a long road ahead of him. But, with the help of his family, friends and the racing community, Jeff will recover. We know of several fund-raising efforts planned in PA this weekend. And the All Stars have something planned for their next race as well. Thank you to everyone who is pitching in to help the Shepard family.
Update Tuesday evening 8.19.08
Since the headache did not subside last night, the doctors resorted to a sedative. The good side of this decision is that it allowed Jeff to get a good, restful night sleep. This also allowed his parents to get some much needed rest. Today was a good day with Jeff making more progress. Besides ice chips he also had some applesauce and with the help of the physical therapist took two steps - significant in his recovery! He also spoke just a few short sentences on the phone to his car owner who had returned home over the weekend.
Jeff will continue his days of physical, speech and occupational therapy until he is strong enough for the transfer to the hospital in Baltimore. It is beyond our understanding as to why insurance does not cover an air ambulance transport, but they will not so with the help of the racing community we will get Jeff closer to home. Thank you for your support.
Update Monday evening 8.18.08
The roller coaster ride continues. Jeff's great morning was given way to an awful evening. He as a terrible headache. The nurses have packed his head in ice and tried three different drugs. So far nothing has alleviated the pain. It is the family's understanding that the stimuli of the morning can lead to these horrific headaches in the evening. If this is the case, Jeff may have to deal with this for many evenings. Please pray that they will find a way to provide him with some comfort. Please also pray that Jeff's parents are able to get a little needed rest. Hopefully tomorrow evening we will have more good news for everyone.
Update Monday morning 8.18.08
Great news to report! Jeff's day yesterday showed small steps toward improvement as more passive physical therapy was done. Then, at 4 am this morning he woke up, opened his eyes and said he would like to sit in the chair. Jeff's parents were with him and were happy to oblige! Shortly there after he was eating ice chips and drinking a little Coke and just a little bit ago he was cleared to eat a real meal (Jeff removed the feeding tube himself)! The fact that he woke up and is now talking is fantastic. The doctors will assess his progress and we hope to have even more good news to share this evening. Thank you to everyone for your prayers. Please continue to keep Jeff and his family in your prayers. Some of family and the friends that were in Des Moines had to returned home. this past weekend. Jeff parents are remaining at his side 24/7.
Update Saturday Evening 8.16.08
I apologize for the late entry - we were at a race and foundation event tonight.
Jeff's day was pretty much the same as yesterday. He did spend a little more time in the chair today. He was able to use a symbol board to help him communicate with others. Each improvement is small but significant.
Update Friday Evening 8.15.08
Jeff continued to improve today. Each improvement is small but also monumental. Today, for the first time, he was sat up in a chair. He can not stand on his own yet but sitting - if just for a little bit- was a good start. Jeff is not able to speak yet, he is using nonverbal communication to answer questions. And just this evening he was moved out of the ICU unit he was in to a slightly lower level of care. Please continue to pray for Jeff's recovery as well as for the family and friends that are staying with him 24/7. They are not getting much sleep and are sounding very weary. Many have asked how they can best contribute to Jeff's recovery. The Steve King Foundation is collecting donations and passing them along to the family. By doing this through the foundation, your contributions are tax deductible. There are two ways to contribute:
1. Donate on-line by going to the
www.SteveKingFoundation.org and clicking the donate button 2. Mailing a check to:
Steve King Foundation
24583 NW 208 Rd
Jetmore, KS 67854
Please put "Jeff Shepard" in the memo line to ensure properly processing of your contribution. Thank you.
Update Thursday Evening 8.14.08
More good news to report. Jeff had another good day! He is still in serious condition and the doctors have indicated that he will remain in ICU for some time. His passive physical, speech and occupational therapy went well today and the CAT scan was unchanged, which is a very good sign.
The family wishes to thank all of you for your prayers, support and e-cards they have received through the hospital. (http://www.ihsdesmoines.org/body.cfm?id=171). It is in tough times like these that we must lean on each other, and the racing community has been so supportive - thank you!
Update Wednesday Evening 8.13.08
"This has been the best day yet!" said Jeff's mom, Helen.While Jeff is still in serious condition and will remain in ICU, he had a good day! Even with his severe headache and fever, he is using sign language to communicate. (I can't image how bad one's head must throb with that combination!) Today, passive speech and occupation therapy was added to his routine and he responded well. Another CAT scan will be performed tomorrow. Thumbs up Jeff!
Update Tuesday Evening 8.12.08
Today was a bit better. Jeff remains in serious but stable condition and still in intensive care. He is opening his eyes on command and today they started passive physical therapy to keep him in sprint car-ready form! Please continue to pray for strength and energy for his family as they remain at his side 24/7.
Update Monday Evening 8.11.09
The 72 hour critical mark has passed. Jeff is still in serious but stable condition. He is still in intensive care and at this point we do not have an estimate as to when he might be able to leave the ICU. He is at Iowa Methodist Hospital. Some of you have asked about other injuries. There are no broken bones and only a few bruises; the most serious injury is the head trauma. His family is taking shift to be at his bedside around the clock.
Update Sunday Evening, 8.10.09
Jeff's condition is still serious but showing improvement. With head trauma, the 72 hour mark after the accident is a significant point. The family awaits this mile marker tonight and will hopefully know more tomorrow.