Stephen Murray Updates

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All of the messages below are from bmxtalk.com where Stephen’s family posts updates on his condition.

You can donate money to help Stephen and his family at stephenmurrayfamilyfund.com where there is a link directly to the Pay Pal account for Stephen.

For the original 6/29 story on Stephen’s injury click here.

July 20, 2007 –

Stephen arrived in Denver on Tuesday morning after a comfortable flight with no hiccups. He sweethearted his favorite nurse from Shock Trauma to travel with him to relieve his anxiety for the five-hour journey. Although we were all pleased to leave the shock trauma unit in Baltimore it was very emotional for the family as we had become attached to each and everyone member of the staff who worked there. They are a fantastic team—dedicated and committed and they saved our souls and our sanity.

The first two days in Craig have been really hectic. After settling Stephen in, he has had every test he previously had in Blatimore plus more. The whole atmosphere is different. There is no sense of "life and death" situations, but more a sense of optimism and looking forward to the future.

Stephen has already had a whole tour of the hospital ,had physio and occupational therapy but I think the most relaxing part was when he had his first shower for nearly four weeks and he fell asleep!. The weeks ahead will be filled with lots of hard work and a determination to succeed.

Once again we would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support, we are sorry that we can’t reply to every message but be assured that without your support and the support of the medical team in Baltimore and now in Craig hospital we would never have been able to have coped in the same way.

Thank you all,
The Family

July 8, 2007 –

First of all, Stephen and his family would like to send thanks out to everyone around the World who have sent messages and well wishes, it is a source of inspiration for all of them. They would like to send out special thanks to the medical team at the Dew Tour and the Paramedics in the Ambulance who gave Stephen mouth to mouth and CPR. It is hard to put into words their gratitude.They cannot thank them enough.

Today has been a better day. The pneumonia is now in remission and his temperature has dropped for the first time to under 100 and is now at 99.7. He still remains on the ventilator but they are slowly weening him off and we remain optimistic.

Today, Stephen has been in the wheelchair twice for 2 hours each time, which is tough because it’s very uncomfortable and hard to get used to because it makes him dizzy. This morning a DVD with well wishes from riders who attended Red Bull Elevation in Whistler, Canada arrived and Stephen was stoked to see it although he was disappointed that there was no footage of the actual contest. He has asked to see footage of the crash from Baltimore. The fact that he wants to see it and know what happened is a sign of how mentally strong he is.

Tomorrow Cynthia and I are flying to Denver to see Craig Rehab Centre, which is predominately for Athletes like Stephen. The average age there is 33 and they are known for aggressive Rehab therapy. Also we are looking at Shepherd in Atlanta Georgia later in the week. Where he has his Rehab is vital to his recovery and so we feel we should visit each facility before making a decision.

Melissa will be at Stephen’s bedside whilst we travel. Jeff and Stephen’s Granddad arrive on Monday a couple of hours before we return. Thank you once again for all your love and support.

Keep it coming.

July 3, 2007 –

Unfortunately Stephen has developed pneumonia as a side effect of his injury. The hospital assures us that this is commonly associated with spinal chord injuries so we’re confident that with antibiotics they can get this under control. As a result of this he has really high temperatures and sleeps for most of the day. He’s also suffering from bad nightmares as a side effect of one of the sleeping aids they are giving him so they are changing this. Poor kid has all this to deal with alongside his broken neck. This has knocked his breathing ability back quite a bit so we are no further forward with getting him off the ventilator and he is still in intensive care.

He’ll eventually come through this though and hopefully we can start thinking of the best rehab facility for him to go to. We have a meeting with the Christopher Reeve foundation on Thursday who have kindly offered their support and guidance.

Updates to follow. – Murrays

From July 2, 2007 –

Stephens had a bit of an up and down time over past few days. There are lots of complications associated with such an injury and these are the main concerns at the moment, as opposed to just thinking about letting the bones in his neck heal. Things like fevers, high temperature, breathing complications (his lungs still aren’t working efficiently for him to breathe on his own so he’s still on the life support machine/respirator), O2 and CO2 levels in his blood, avoiding pneumonia etc. etc.

Yesterday his breathing showed some signs of improvement and he was able to breathe on his own with the respirator machine still working, but mainly as back up. Today, the machine has been turned back up as he took a bit of a backwards step, but we have come to terms with the fact that there isn’t always going to be positive news. It’s definitely a rollercoaster!

He slept most of today but did manage a huge smile when i read him out a message from Andy Ruffell!

Thanks for all the support, it really is overwhelming. -Murrays

From June 30, 2007 –

Stephen’s tracheotomy operation went well and has made him more comfortable. He now has the respirator breathing for him via a tube into his throat and a feed tube into his stomach rather than everything going into his mouth. This has meant he is able to communicate better and we can understand most of what he is trying to say. Although no sounds comes out when he speaks, we are optimistic that with time and speech therapy, his voice should slowly but hopefully improve.

The doctors and surgeons have said that being so fit and healthy has been a major help to him in both sustaining the shock of the injury and in his ability to recover.

Yesterday he was put into a wheelchair by the side of his bed for 2 hours which gave him a huge lift.

His next goal is to gradually wean himself off the respirator and to hopefully breath for himself in the future. Whether this is possible we aren’t sure but should he overcome this it would be a great aid in his recovery. This is more of a mid-term goal than an immediate one.

We hope that with some improvement to his breathing he will be moved out of intensive care and down the corridor to a slightly lesser dependent unit within the next week. That will be another big step.

His spirits are strong and he is so determined to overcome this, it gives us all hope.

We want everyone to know that we really appreciate everyones support. Some of the things people have said, have done, and are doing is overwhelming. Unfortunately we haven’t had the time to reply to everyone at the moment, but Stephen has said that he will reply to each and every person that has contacted him over the last week to show their support.

He is in the University of Maryland Shock and Trauma Unit Hospital, widely regarded as one of the best Spinal Chord injury hospitals in the world. Can you believe he injured himself 300 yards from here! — Murrays

From June 27, 2007 –

Stephen came through his operation yesterday and the doctors were happy with the way it all went. Having this operation was the next big step that needed to happen. It was a big one at 7 hours but during that time they managed to stabilize his neck some more by pinning and plating the posterior side of his 3,4 and 5th cervical vertebrae. During this op, they also found he has fractured his T4 (4th thoracic vertebrae) and decided the best way for this to heal was to use a body brace.

There are a few further complications. He has a lot of crap on his lungs which is affecting his breathing. Because he is lying down his lungs are flat and this enables all the crap to build on his lungs and increase the risk of him catching pneumonia.

He also has a stomach infection cause by his body being immune to regular antibiotics, so he is now on IV antibiotics for the next 5 days which should clear it up.

He also has trapped air in his neck and upper torso following the surgery which they are trying to get rid of. This is again affecting his ability to breath.

Increasing his ability to breath on his own is now their primary concern.

Hopefully later today they will sit him up in bed (as long as x rays come back to confirm the surgery has given sufficient support to his neck). Tomorrow they intend to put him in a wheelchair for at least 2 hours a day. This will be a big benefit to him as he wont be staring at the ceiling all the time and due to to gravity this will help to disperse some of the crap and prevent the build up in his lungs.

On a light hearted note, grotbags (paul roberts) saw him yesterday and asked him whether he should go to whistler for red bull elevation to commentate this weekend. Stephen was desperately trying to say something and when we finally figured out what he was saying, he told paul to "have fun". Amazing.

We have been getting lots of questions regarding how authentic or official the ‘Stephen Murray Fund’ is. This is something that Aaron Cooke has kindly set up to initially provide some help financially, and is at this time the official way to donate. Other people (in particular Steve Mateus and Kimarie that we know of) are busy trying to set up a non profit tax free charity so the donations received will be tax free. This should hopefully be set up by early next week and as we know, we’ll let you know.

As you can see there is so much going in the background we aren’t even aware of. The support is unbelievable and very much appreciated.

One of stephens quotes from an interview he has done in the past is this:

"When you think there is nothing left, reach within and dig deeper", "Believe in Yourself".

This is what we are doing and we definitely believe in him. He is strong! – Murrays

From June 28, 2007 –

Yesterday was quite a big day for everyone. The general surgeon arrived to discuss his tracheotomy operation which should hopefully be a temporary measure rather than a permanent fixture (amazing). This procedure takes the respirator out of his mouth and into his throat relieving pressure off his voicebox. They will also take out the feed tube from his mouth and insert this into his stomach. This leaves his mouth free and should be a lot more comfortable for him. It should also enable him to mouth words over the coming weeks, something which has been really frustrating for him. They hope to do this today.

Today, they also plan to operate to put a filter into his vena cava vein to prevent the build up of blood clots along with an MRI to check on the status of his neck.

Quote of the day came from the director of the neurotrauma team.

"He’s not going to end up like Christopher Reeves"

This, as you can imagine, was a massive boost for everyone. There are plenty of rumors still flying round that he’ll be riding by xmas, he’s gonna be able to walk etc. etc. The only thing to listen to is this blog/update. He has sustained a life altering injury and we have come to terms with the fact that he may never walk again. The most we could ever hope for at this moment is for some use of his upper body and the ability to breath on his own in the future.

He did also manage to tell my mam "happy birthday" for today!

Last night his friends from england, scott edgworth and marco delisola flew in which put a smile on his face.

The comments on this site (and others) and emails we have received are so comforting to us, and they will be even more comforting to Stephen over the coming weeks when we are able to read them out to him. – Murrays

Author

Staff Writer

Date

July 20, 2007