Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chris Whitley - latest update

A lot has happened in the last week.

Chris got the tracheotomy tube out on Christmas Eve and was able to enjoy a somewhat pureed Christmas dinner the following day.

Having asked for his laptop, it was apparent that Chris wouldn’t want to stay put in hospital much longer and on Monday 28th he was released from hospital to trial staying at home overnight. Under this system Chris would stay at home at night, but come into the hospital during the day for necessary treatment.

In the event, Monday’s sleep was a little short and Jan had to bundle Chris back into the hospital in the wee smalls on Tuesday morning. After a little more recovery and seeing the various specialists they were given the all clear for him to be released from hospital and for any necessary care to be performed at home. At one point it looked like they were going to have to travel to west Auckland for rehabilitation but a better alternative has been found.

Since getting home, Chris has been able to (slowly) negotiate the stairs on his own, bathe, and also made a trip up and down the steep drive to retrieve the mail. Jan drove him down to the velodrome where they stayed for about an hour, walking and catching up with a few people down there.

Chris is enjoying home cooked meals again and seems very happy to be back at home in an environment where he can rehabilitate in familiar and comforting surroundings. It has yet to be confirmed how much help will be forthcoming through ACC both in rehabilitation and home help but that should be sorted in the coming days.

As indicated earlier in the blog, the easiest time for Jan would be while Chris was still in hospital. Now she will be kept very busy looking after Chris and accompanying him through the steps to come. In that regard, if you find yourselves with a bit of free time on your hands and can help out with little chores about the house please drop a line to Jan, and visitors are welcome in the afternoons.

Chris is still finding getting a good sleep challenging, but if he doesn’t get too tired through the morning and can stretch through the day without a snooze, he is better placed to have a decent sleep through the night.

He has more of his familiar look about him every day, and in spite of the fact it seemed his early recovery was drawn out, it is still a relatively short time since the accident and we can be thankful for that.

Thank you to everyone who has given their time, energy, support and good wishes over this time. I’m sure Chris hopes to be back in your circles again very soon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Honjo mudguards, part 2

After almost a year of procrastination, I made a couple of long mudguard mounting eyebolts, and a suitable spacer out of some lying-about perspex, to adjust the front mudguard line on Donna's Bob Jackson.

Lowering the guard about 5mm below the fork crown means it sits concentric with the wheel instead of higher at the front.

In this photo the eyebolt still needs to be shortened about 15mm



Monday, December 21, 2009

Chris Whitley - Monday updates

From Peter Alexander:
After battling an infection late last week that had his temperature up, Chris has had a good night last night and his lungs appear to be much better. Antibiotics go so far, but the body has to contribute a lot to the healing as well.

He was able to give one of his riders advice for training while he is away overseas, and had the room in stitches during another visit from a couple of riding colleagues. Though such visits often tire Chris out, he seems to have taken this in his stride a bit better, and a bit of laughter appears to be good medicine for him.

Chris continues to be well looked after, and was even able to get his bed turned around to check out his old stomping ground on the North Shore through the window. The medical staff are still keeping a good eye on him, and again he seems to have taken some good steps in recent days.

Jan is keeping busy around visits to the hospital, and sounded really upbeat this morning. Her strength and focus continue to be an inspiration.

...and from Liz Williams:
Chris has been moved from critical into the high dependency ward.
He still has a trach tube in his throat so can't talk, but is communicating by writing notes which are apparenly legible and make perfect sense.
The doctors have said that every day will be different, and he is expected to recover a lot faster once this lung infection has cleared up.
He was stoked with the card that everyone signed on Friday night so thanks for that.
He still gets very tired so if you're planning to visit please leave a message for Jan, or Jenny and Paul first.
Visits have to be very short, and lots of time between each one.
This is the nature of head injuries like Chris's, he really needs lots of rest!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday update

From Liz Williams:
Chris had a problem with his lungs which has led to him being transferred back to the critical ward.
He is in the best care possible, and the physios, doctors and hospital staff are working with Jan to try to get him to breathe properly.
While Jan really really appreciates everyones support, she is asking at this time for visits to be kept until he is out of the critical ward. Keep the support coming via the blog, and doing things around the track etc.
Keep tuning in to the blog for updates, keep up the positive vibes!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chris Whitley - Wednesday Update

From Peter Alexander:

Chris is settling into the routine of recovery. The doctors are keen to see him clear the rest of the phlegm in his lungs which has been present from day one, and he gets physio in the mornings and occasional scans to see how things are progressing. There is a suggestion that in coming days he might be popped onto a stationary bike to test his legs as well.

He still has a feeding tube but is able to feed himself a little as well, and those of us with any experience of hospital food will realise this is not just a physical achievement, but also a mental one!

From here on he will have his good days and bad days and for us it is important to respect his rest time, and balance this with his need for a bit of company and stimulation. He needs those little workouts and then his recovery time, just like any good training program.

He tried to temp me into playing Frisbee with the plastic lid from his plate yesterday, which is another indication that even when tired and feeling the weight of his injuries that the spark is burning inside willing and waiting for the rest of him to catch up.

He has come a long way in a few days, and surprised a few of the medical staff along the way – our hope is that he continues to do that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chris Whitley update - Sunday Afternoon

Chris is now in the Neurological ward in Auckland Hospital (out of Critical Care) and is progressing well. He is awake for long periods and while he has no recollection of anything since the accident his mid-term memory appears just fine.

He restarted a discussion we were having about something a week ago and seems to have lost none of his wit. At one point earlier in the day he had Jan and Jenny Vahry in hysterics, and it makes you wonder how long it will be before he is asking to go home.

His body is regaining more of its normal function, but it will be a little while before he is stable on his feet.

There is no doubt that his good level of fitness prior to the accident and his determined personality has contributed to his speedy recovery, but there is still a way to go.

Jan is doing well, and will now be trying to get as much rest as possible before Chris determines that he really does want to go home.

Many thanks have to go out to Jenny, Chris’ daughter, and Jan’s sisters for their support at this time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chris Whitley - Saturday update #2

From Peter Alexander:

Chris has continued to improve through the day, and has been responding well to questions from the medical staff and family visitors. At one point he commented he was “wired for sound”, so wanted to know what all his tubes and wires were, and the personality we know and love continues to peek through in these exchanges.

He continues to sleep a lot, but is awake more often and. He is co-operating with the medical staff and understands he needs to take time to heal, and that the best is being done for him.

He is being assessed for moving from to a ward soon so that is an indication of his progress. Once on the ward he will be more accessible for visitors, but shouldn’t be inundated.

Jan will have family around her over the coming week, but she and Chris will appreciate our support in the coming weeks as Chris goes through his various stages of recovery.

Let's keep this quiet...

Donna was away for a few days, so I took the opportunity to replace the broken SKS mudguards on her Long Haul Trucker with a pair or Velo Orange Zeppelins.
So far she hasn't noticed.
Intended for 650B wheels which are larger than the 26" on the Long Haul Trucker, the Zeppelins need some extra effort to get a good mudguard line, which I achieved on the back wheel with this custom stainless bracket, and a less elegant plastic block behind the chainstay bridge.

At present the front guard is too far from the tyre at the front, but it won't be hard to make up a long eyebolt and spacer to put it right.

Saturday update

From Liz Williams:

Chris is making good progress today, he opened his eyes for a bit and recognised Jan, squeezed her hand etc.
His breathing tube was removed and he told the nurse to piss off, which is good.
I think the prognosis is that he is going to be fine, it's just a matter of time, lots of time. Jan is good, but ...please refrain from calling the house, give her space etc, but if you could leave messages here, or email him on
Jan has been very grateful for everyone's support so keep it up. He's not ready for visitors yet but maybe by Tuesday arvo.
If you know the Vahrys, ring them before going up there, or call the house and leave a message after Monday arvo

Friday, December 11, 2009

Some more news about Chris

From Peter Alexander:

"He came off his bike after clipping a roundabout (no other road users involved).
He barely had enough time to pick himself up off the road and move to the side and there were three emergency personnel on hand who happened to be travelling behind.
He has broken his left collarbone and has road rash down the left side of his body, and has suffered a significant knock on the head.
Chris was sedated overnight and intubated and ventilated to assist his breathing.
He had the sedation removed late this morning and is expected to wake up soon as the sedation wears off, and has been rousing intermittently through the early afternoon.
The specialist visited early this afternoon and was able to rouse Chris enough that he could respond to simple instructions.
Jan has been with him most of the day and will stay nearby the hospital for the short term."

Chris Whitley

This morning I heard that Chris Whitley is in a coma in Auckland Hospital after falling off his bike yesterday.
I will update this page as i get updates of his condition.