Monthly Archives: June 2013


Yesterday wasn’t a very positive day as Russ didn’t wake at all and was sedated again as he required an endoscopy on his lungs.  It seems to be a small step forward and a tinier one back each day and is very frustrating for everyone waiting for him to come to the surface.

I gather today has been another step forward as Russ was definitely responding to stimuli and had his eyes opened and attempted a couple of smiles.

Tomorrow he is having a tracheotomy fitted to assist his badly damaged lungs with breathing as it’s anticipated that the ventilator down his trachea will no longer be tolerated as he draws near to full consciousness.   For this procedure he will need to be sedated again and this in turn might cause another couple of days of drowsiness.

On a positive Dani is drawing alot of strength from everyone’s visits.  My other sister Sam and her husband Billy were out over the weekend as was the stalwart that is Dan White and his lovely family and also the great Dr Gerry!  Russ’s parent’s Bob and Di continue their vigil along with my mum Jenni.  Today Dani and mum have taken Amber to the zoo in Toulon between visits to the hospital, Amber is coping amazingly but I know she will really be looking forward to seeing Lily when they fly back to London on Thursday.

The lovely Chrissie Marty has just sent the below this evening which is really encouraging!

OMG! It was so lovely to see everyone. Dani, as you know is just amazing!

I had prepared myself for the worst before seeing Russ, and was pleasantly surprised. He was sleeping when Dani, Amber and I went in and woke up straight away. Dani left Amber and I chatting to him. Amber’s just wonderful. She plays with his hair and chats away. Then I started teasing Russ about something, and suddenly he smiled, rolled his eyes and opened his mouth a little, obviously wanting to tease me back as he usually does. He then frowned with frustration. I said, ‘hold that thought’ and he smiled. Then your mum came in and he smiled at her, and while we were joking about something he actually made an attempt to laugh. It felt like he was just as much a part of the conversation. It was lovely!
I held his hand the whole time and Amber and I stroked his forehead whenever he frowned, which relaxed his brow.

Another day and another wait.

Not much to report today.
Dani and Russ’s very good friend Dr Gerry has been visiting Russ. There is no change really, Russ very sleepy and not inclined to wake up. Gerry feels it is going to be a very, very long process. The main concern is that he hasn’t yet woken up and there doesn’t appear to be any obvious explanation. The MRI, EEG and scans haven’t shown up any problem so it remains a mystery. We wait and hope. Maybe he is just being stubborn Russ!  At the moment we will stay satisfied by the knowledge that his tests have all been good. xxxx

28th June…Good news :)

Dear All
Russ had his MRI scan today but wasn't back on the ward till 1.00. Larry and Sarah had arrived to see Russ before they left for Cannes. They brought Amber a gift of a hand puppet that was a fluffy tigress. Dani, Amber, Larry and Sarah went to visit Russ. Russ smiled at Amber ( and the puppet)and then at Dani. When Larry said he was leaving and said " see you in a little while" Russ looked very upset and frowned. Bob and Di went to see Russ afterwards and he gave Di three smiles. Dani, Russ and Bob are going to talk to a doctor at 5.15PM. So better news today and fingers crossed. It really is a roller coaster isn't it?
Love to you all as always.
Jenni xxx

Following on from the above, I have just had a message from my mum and Dani to say that after Dani, Di and Bob's meeting with the doctors to discuss the results of Russ's brain MRI, it seems that there is no atrophy(damage) to Russ's brain.  
This is clearly a HUGE relief and a massive step forward on the road to recovery!!!
Russ is still being intubated as he is not yet in a fully conscious state.  He is due to have a tracheotomy on Monday as he will be expected to be all most 'up to the surface' and his lungs still need some help with breathing. He is still at risk of infection and he does have to stay very still to avoid rupturing his lungs again with his repairing lungs but fingers crossed onward and upwards.

Thanks as always for your positive thoughts and well wishes, I am sure that you have transferred some good energies all the way to France! :)

Lots of love



Just incase you were considering visiting I thought I would put some tips on here regarding hotels and transport.


Easy Jet fly to Marseille (MRS) from LGW
BA fly to Marseille from LHR
Ryan Air fly directly to Toulon from Stansted.

If you fly to MRS, there is a shuttle bus that collects from outside all terminals at MRS airport and takes you to Marseilles St Charles train station.  The shuttle bus runs every 15-20 mins and takes approximately 20 mins.  It costs 8E per single journey.  You can book online in advance or buy at the airport:

At Marseilles St Charles you can catch a train to Toulon.  This takes about 50 mins and they trains run almost every hour but being French are often subject to strikes (as I found out to my detriment!).  It is much better to book the train in advance as it can sometimes be full.
 It costs 15E for a single.

The train station in Toulon is in the center of the town and about 3/4 mile from the hospital, 1/4 mile from the Holiday Inn.


The most convenient hotel to stay at is:
Holiday Inn
1 Avenue Rageot De La Touche  
Toulon ,    

Hotel Kyriad
Presige Toulon
Port de la Seyne-sue mer
Just along the quay is a little ferry that runs 10mins and 40 mins past each hour which takes you to the main quay in Toulon

Hôtel Amirauté 4, rue Adolphe Guiol, 83000 Toulon
Hôtel Amirauté is situated in the centre of Toulon, near Place de la Liberté and the harbour. It offers free Wi-Fi access and air-conditioned accommodation equipped with satellite TV.
Guest rooms at the Amiraute have a work desk and a fixed phone line with free calls to 18 destinations, including the USA, the United Kingdom, China and Canada.
A full breakfast buffet is served each morning at the Newhotel Amiraute. The hotel also provides a 24-hour reception.
double room : 70€ (approx £59) per room per night

Alba-Flora Hôtel 3 Avenue des Plantades, 83210 Solliès-Pont  
The Alba-Flora Hotel is located halfway between Toulon and Hyères just 20 minutes from the sea and the airport. All guestrooms are equipped with bathroom with bath and shower, air-conditioning and TV with Canal+. Non- smoking rooms are available upon request.
Enjoy traditional and regional cuisine with a Provençal touch in the hotel’s restaurant. It welcomes you every day in the summer and on week days the rest of the year. The Alba-Flora also offers a swimming pool, a bar/lounge, banquet facilities and free on-site parking.
double room : 66€ (approx £56) per room per night until the 11 July  they may stay longer, but would need to change of room for that.
Please note that this is a current quotation and could be subject to change at the time of booking. The images shown are for guidance purposes only. You may stay in a room which is different from the examples shown.

Will update later regarding Russ once the new has come through from France.

Lots of love xxxxx

Waking up!

The latest today from Russ's mother in law, Jenni:

Dear all
Well, Russ is now nearly in a sitting position, so much more upright. He is no
longer on Dialysis. He seemed tired this morning but did open his eyes a little
and apparently when Larry and Sarah went into the ward, his eyes opened wide and
he turned his head.
He remains looking comfortable and now his room is brightly decorated with some
beautiful pictures that Amber has done.
So if there is any news later I shall update you.
Love to you all
Jenni x

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