Toulon France

This is St.Annes Hospital in Toulon where Russ is in Intensive Care.  St Annes is a military training hospital and specializes in the injuries that Russ sustained during his cycling accident.  We are led to believe by those in the know that he is in the best possible hands.
Russ has a sunny corner room and has a view!
The hospital is up on the hill about a mile from the centre of Toulon town.  Russ was helicoptered here last Friday from the Charente mountains where he was cycling with friends.
He is surrounded by a myriad of wires, pipes, tubes and computers feeding him intravenuos drugs, fluids and nutrients.  His bed is in the middle of the room and he has little more than a sheet covering him as it is warm and sunny there.  He looks like a sleeping action man.  The bed is an amazing device that changes the position of his legs and back by an degree every minute or so to avoid bed sores.
He has a small wound on his forehead with 3 stitches and a lot of scratches and scabs on his body. He his swollen all over and has an awful lot of bruising on his ribs and flanks.  His pallor is quite pale and grey but it is improving each day.
Yesterday Russ was still on a ventilator as his broken ribs and bruised lungs need some help.  The ventilated breathing has unfortunately given Russ pneumonia which apparently is virtually inevitable in this situation but it is being fought with antibiotics.  It is anticipated that the antibiotics will have their full effect on day 3 of the course which is tomorrow.  His heart rate and blood pressure was good yesterday which was a relieve as he had suffered from Tachycardia with his heart racing at 140bpm for the whole day on Saturday.  The Tachycardia was due to dehydration.  The doctors reduced his fluid intake to stop fluid leaking into the ruptured thoracic region.
The pneumonia has set Russ back a few days again as it is felt that whilst he is recovering from this he should stay in his induced coma for a little longer as he requires a ventilator down his Bronchial and this tube can not be tolerated by someone who is conscious.  
He is also on dialysis to assist his kidney function.
I shall send you an update later today when I hear from those remaining in France.

Update from France 24th June pm:

Today Russ had the drain on his right lung removed. They have stopped giving him muscle blockers and we noticed he was moving his head from side to side. He is still sedated and the doctors expect the antibiotics to kick in tomorrow or the next day. He is a good colour too!
Dan and Saskia brought Amber out today and it is wonderful to see mother and daughter reunited. I am sure it is a great comfort to both. They are having a swim as I speak. We are having supper with Bob and Di and Dan and Saskia.
We aren't expecting any great changes for a while but will keep you updated.

25th June 2013

Please excuse the non chronological order of this blog but I though you may wish to see the map of the route the chaps were taking on their cycling trip:

This is the scene of the accident after Russ was removed:

Message from my mum at lunchtime 25th June:

Dear all
The news today is that Russ has had the last chest drain removed and his eyes are open properly. Yesterday Amber really wanted to see Russ and so she did. She was very brave and seemed to cope very well. She made a beautiful picture to put on the wall of Russ'room and with Dani's help, has put up some lovely family photos alongside the painting. It all looks very colourful. Amber was also chatting away to Russ this morning and smoothing his arm. Now she and Dani are looking for a fishing net so she can fish off the quay.
So it's been a day of another little improvement again.
Love to you all
Jenni x
PS thank you for your lovely e mails. They mean a lot.

This evening Dani has called to say that there seems to have been a step forward in Russ's recovery;  The sedatives and muscle controlling drugs have been stopped and the first sign is that his eyes have opened.  He doesn't yet have the energy to talk but his eyes were open for a long period of this evenings visiting and  he seemed to be able to follow sounds with his eyes.....Fingers crossed that he  will keep moving forwards. xxx :)  (Apparently he looked exhausted after having followed his mums, my mums, Dani's and Ambers voices for an hour!)

26th June 2013

Not much news today other than more of the same eye movements.  Russ has been able to acknowledge questions by blinking his eyes.

The lessons we are all learning from this is 'patience'.

I like to think that whilst Russ has been in a coma he has returned to speak to his maker on the planet Krypton where he has been recharged, refreshed and sent back ready for his next challenge.

Thanks again for all your lovely emails and comments below.  xxx

19 thoughts on “Toulon France

  1. Hello Russ, I’ve continued to follow your monthly updates, and was horrified to read about yours and Wendy’s dental issues…ouch indeed. Seeing the picture of your tooth reminded me of a similar painful encounter. The dentist also gave me the tooth, which I took home. In a sort of revenge attack, I laid it on the garage floor and took a 4lb mallet to it screaming “You F***ing bastard” as I smashed it to bits. Yes I felt better for it since, like yours, it had given me 2 weeks of excruciating pain!! Please be careful with your pull ups…my stomach rolled when I read about your trappwd swollen gonads.
    Wills is currently on a two week regime of Flucloxacillin 4 times a day to keep his chest infection at bay. Sherry & I have been trained to administer the drugs via his chest Portacath at home…so far so good, he’s been to school all this week and we’ve scored him at 8/10 after having been as bad as 4/10
    Great to have spoken with you Russ, love to Wendy too. Terry, Sherry, George & William.

  2. Hi,

    Piran here Russ was the power house who pushed me down 3 Devizes Westminster races.
    Thank you for writing this blog, is is great to see the progress Russ has been making. The results from the MRI sound especially encouraging.
    My thoughts are with you all and if you can think of anything I can do to help with what ever Russ decides will be his next big challange please let me know.


  3. Hi,
    just wanted to post a little message here to tell you that we’re thinking of you all. Russ, and indeed all of you have rarely left our thoughts since we heard the news.
    The blog is great. Good to be able to keep up with his progress, which by all accounts sounds great.
    If ever there was a man who could pull thru this, my money would be on Russ!
    Be strong mate.
    Sending love and positive vibes your way.
    Jonathan, Jo, Daisy + Pearl (Midgley). xx

  4. Thanks so much for setting this up. Was a terrible shock to hear about the accident and really appreciate your efforts to keep us informed of Russ’ progress.

    Must admit to being an old (UWIST) friend who now regrets not taking the opportunity to catch up with Russ over the last few years. Probably in no small part as I continue to try to suppress memories of him jumping out of the wardrobe on my wedding night!

    As we all know, Russ leaves an indelible impression on all who get to spend any time with him. I am sure how he meets the immediate challenge and those that lie ahead will be no less remarkable or inspiring.

    Our thoughts are very much with you and the girls Dani, as well as the throng of family and friends who are clearly rallying around you. Please do let us know if there is anything at all we can do from our slightly dislocated neck of the woods.

    We look forward to hearing more of Russ’ continued recovery and to his posting on the blog himself in time.

    With our love

    Nigel, Julia, Phoebe & Maddie xxx

  5. Dear Danni,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your and Russ’ family.
    Russ, you have led me up many a mountain and your strength inspired me.
    We are all here to welcome you home when you are ready.In the meantime you keep on healing and use that inner strength you have always shown us.
    All my love Oli

  6. Russ is a demon and always has been and will be an inspiration in so many ways. I will be expecting a ticket from your Team GB allocation to see you bring home gold at the Paralympics in 2016.

    We all can’t stop thinking about you and willing you on

    The Phelops clan xxx

  7. Thank you Melissa. Our love and support to all especially Dani. My whole family has been sending positive and healing thoughts as much as we can.

    Russ Boy, keep on surprising and amazing those Doctors. You have always inspired me and no doubt everyone else here too. You are doing it again. See you soon.

    Alastair (cyclist on trip), Georgy, Florence and Sebastian xx

  8. Brilliant blog – well done!

    Russ – you’re seriously tough mentally, physically in great shape and never give up. We’re all looking fwd to your recovery.

    Dani, Amber Lily – brilliant support. The love of his girls is just what he needs.

    Everyone else – brilliant support too – and if the UWIST boys and girls are anything like a sample there are dozens of calls, texts and emails for every one you guys see…

    You’re all much loved.

    Charlie and Sarah xxx

  9. If there ever was such a compelling reason for creating a blog then this really is it.
    Well done Melissa.

    It is lovely to hear of Russ’ progress in the last few days and it is very generous of Dani and close relatives to take the time to even consider those of us on periphery- that is such an impressive & selfless act.

    All their old muckers from Cardiff (and there are loads of us) are thinking of Russ & Dani, praying for them and looking forward to receiving more positive news over the days and weeks ahead.
    Adam & Sally xxx

  10. Danni – Its such good news to hear of the progress, however small, that that amazing man of yours is making. We have been thinking of you all so much and hoping and praying that good things start to happen for you all. Chiswick is a different place without you all here and there is so much love and support being spiritually sent your way that I have no doubt it will make a difference. We know you have an amazing circle of friends and family around you all at this time – but if there is anything you need or we can do to help in any way whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to ask.
    All our love and strength Rachael and Jon Welch xxx

  11. Hello
    Me again. I know that posting comments on to BlogSpot blogs can be very difficult. Blogger only seems to like people that have either a Google or Blogger account otherwise messages often don’t get through.

    I wanted to let you know that a lot of well wishes have been posted onto the canoe clubs facebook page. In case the same people are unable to post here you might like to go and see the page itself.

    The link is

    If you scroll down to the post dated 21st June about Russ you will see the comments. We are all wishing you the very best.

  12. We are very happy to hear things are improving for Russ. Russ, you have been on our minds non-stop since the accident. We have been hoping and praying for recovery. I am sure that massive love from all of you in France, and around the world, has been very helpful. There is no limit to the goodwill and extreme well wishes for Russ and the whole family. Christina is coming down Sunday to pitch in wherever needed. Our favourite action man is deep in our thoughts and hearts. Thank you so much for setting up this blog and the information. Any way we can help, we are here. Bret.

  13. Hi
    I am one of Russ’s friends from Richmond Canoe club. Thank you for setting up this blog. I know all his many friends at the club have been deeply concerned since we heard the news and we are all thinking of him. Having supported Russ along the Devizes to Westminster canoe race several times I can only endorse both Chris and Robbie’s words – Russ is amazingly mentally tough – he will be fighting all the way.

    Much love to you – Alison x

  14. Amazing blog. THANK YOU! Russ is such a strong individual I know he is going to be fighting all the way through this – and with such terrific support from army of devoted friends and family… Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Robbie (Cyclist on the trip.)

  15. Fantastic job on the blog. Sitting here in my hotel room in Kazakhstan, it makes me feel a (small) part of Russ’ recovery.
    Great to hear of the progress. Small, but knowing his injuries, it must be a relief.
    Fingers crossed that Russ’ fighting spirit continues to edge him in the right direction.
    Thoughts with you all from the Bennfors (Caroline, Zoe, Callum, Ross and Chris)

  16. Thanks so much for doing this blog. It”s amazing to have regular news, as we have all been thinking about Russ since we heard about the accident. We are thinking about you all the time, literally willing you to get better, keep fighting, and keep getting better Russ, we will see you very very soon.
    All or love to you Danni too, and your lovely girls (not your boobs, your daughters!) It must be a great comfort to Russ to have you all there with him while he gets better.
    Our love and thoughts are with you all, Russ, Danni, amber and lily, Bob and Di, and all the family. Stay strong
    Laura and Mac xxxxxxx

  17. This is brilliant! Well done and thank you for this. It sounds like really positive news today. Everyone out there is being AMAZING especially that little Amber Bamber! Please look into Russ’ lovely eyes tomorrow and say hi from Chrissie and Bret. We can’t wait to see him soon…..typical Leo….such an attention seeker!

    Lots of bisous to you all XXxxxxx

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