Simon definitely alive – photo evidence

I went to see Simon in the Howard ward at St Thomas’s this morning. Eila and Ursula were there when I arrived. Simon had an operation last night to screw a metal plate into his collar bone to fix the two loose ends together. He was in quite a bit of pain he said, but he wasn’t moaning or groaning. Very brave. His left leg is also in that plastic splint because his knee is a bit messed up. The quacks will be operating on that next. He may have to move to Guy’s hospital for that because they’re better at knee stuff there.

After Ursula and Eila left Sara the nice nurse came in and said that Simon needed an X-ray so they could check that the operation was OK. Sara said that the porters were a bit busy. First she asked if Simon could walk down! Simon said he could. That would have been very slow and probably even more painful. Then she asked if I could take him down in the wheel chair. She also said that it was easier to tow the wheel chair backwards. You can see the steering wheels on the chair are at the back. How stupid, and designed to humiliate and
confuse patients like a lot of things in hospital. We managed to get Simon going forwards the whole way. We eventually found X-ray near A&E after wandering around various corridors. While Simon was being X-rayed I nipped out for a quick fag. There was one poor smoker there in his pathetic hospital gown (does up at the back so your arse shows)- another hospital humiliation device.

Simon’s room is on the top floor and has a great view across the river to the houses of parliament. Archie is coming to visit him this afternoon. He’s going to be in one hospital or another for a while. But he’s in pretty good spirits and, like everyone says, should make a full recovery unless he gets MRSA or something.

Simon is a lert

I just spoke to Simon who sounded on very good form and, most importantly, as alert as a yurt. Good! He had Giles Rowe with him who was probably distracting him when he said goodbye calling me Jim, just a slip I thought. Bionic Sime.

Update on Simon

From: Jim Keeling []
Sent: 10 February 2007 20:06
Subject: Simon

All bros

You have probably now all heard about Simon’s skiing accident.  I was chatting to Paul just now and he came up with the brilliantly modern idea that I should use email to keep you all posted as to what I know.

By way of background, he was on a ski trip with the British Venture Capital Association in St Anton.  As they run two such trips and I went on the one a few weeks earlier, I can picture the resort and know the form quite well as to what would have been going on – good hotel, about 30 people, dividing into groups of 4-8 each day with guides, Simon probably the best skier there.  Simon and his team would have been off piste, whenever the weather permitted.  The trip is organised by a specialist corporate ski business and the girl in charge on site for this trip, Kate, who I have not met, was skiing with Simon when the accident happened.  I have spoken to Kate several times since and also to a couple of doctors at the hospital.

To the accident – as relayed to me by Kate who was at the scene.  Friday about 3.30pm their time, skiing in the trees and then onto a steep bit of open snow above a ravine.  Guide tells them to side step and Simon as, in Kate’s words, “easily the best skier in the group” gets permission from the guide (good boy) to ski, but then crosses his skis, presumably falls and goes over the edge.  Guide and rest of group shout to him but there is no reply as, they assume, he was unconscious.  1.5 hours later a rescue helicopter winches him out of the ravine on a rope and Kate and the rest of the group are relieved to see he is holding his head high – so is conscious etc.  They say he fell “150 metres”.

He was flown to the best hospital in the area for this sort of accident.  Rather comically, a police helicopter turned up after the rescue helcipopter to check I’m not sure what – a sign of the times.

Kate I think went with him on Friday evening and certainly returned to the hospital this morning to deal with the doctors, take him kit etc.  They got hold of Ursula at about 7pm and she passed the message to Mum and Dad and me.  She has also been in touch with various others including Harry, Archie and Sarah.  Ursula did not manage to speak to a doc immediately as they were not available when she called, but by chance I got through to one at the hospital who made it clear that they do not think there is any permanent damage.

I spoke to another doc and Kate, who were together with Simon, this morning and the prognosis is as follows:

- He has a hairline facture in his skull, which is not a problem as it will get better in due course (sounds a bit like Arthur’s a year or so ago).
- He has broken or maybe cracked or maybe very badly bruised three or four ribs, which is also not a problem, though painful
- He had some bleeding in his skull, which I think would have been a problem if it had continued but had stopped and was expected this morning to remain stopped, so should not be a problem.
- He has cracked his “fifth vertebra” (yesterday’s doctor’s description), or his cervical spine (today’s doctor’s description).  This is I think more serious, but he is NOT paralysed in any way.  A more specialist doc will examine him on Monday to decide if he needs an operation, but it sounded to me as though this was more of a precaution than because an op is likely.
- On the basis, I think, that there is not an op, he is likely to be in hospital for a week before being fit to fly back.
- He is not able to sit up at the moment and his face is quite bashed up.  He is lucid at times, but then forgets what he has said.  The doc said he will be much more compos mentis tomorrow.

He is absolutely exhausted, sleeping a lot and, I guess, up to his eyeballs in pain-killers.  Maybe as a result, he said this morning to Ursula that he did not want telephone calls or anyone to go out there to be with him for the moment.  It may be that Ursula decides to over-rule the latter, but I should think it is best not to call him for the moment.

The hospital details are:
Room 216
6800 Feldkirch
Caringasse 47
(You may want to check that if you are sending him anything as things may have been lost in translation - tel:  00 43 55 22303)

Do call if you want any more details.  If I hear of any big change in the prognosis, I will try to do another email.  If any of you think the email addresses I have used for any of the bros are wrong, pls forward this with the right address.

With lots of love

Posted on Jim's behalf by George
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OK Simon you are banned from skiing

Just joking Simon. But really, how old are you? Seriously Mum phoned me while I was out digging stuff with a tractor and told me that Simon had skied over a cliff. That was yesterday (9th Feb). He's now in an Austrian hospital with cracked skull, cracked ribs and neck vertebrae and stuff. Tom says he can move all his extremeties. Thank god. How many lives have you got left now Simon? Hey, get well soon and may be you should try that jet pack thing it might be safer. (Simon sent me that link a couple of weeks ago.) I left a message for Ursula. What a nightmare it must be - to have such an irresponsible husband. How are Harry and Archie bearing up. Comments please, including S's health updates and nothing soppy!

Tom's post

Some sporting news from Somerset. Recently the children's school has held cross-country races for the pupils aged seven or more, which includes Imogen, Edward and Arthur. The Keelings did very well, with Arthur coming in third and only beaten by two unbeatable athletes who ALWAYS win. He had come sixth in the same race last year.

Edward came first in his race and as a result was made captain of the cross-country team for a race against another school. That took place today and he won that race as well.

Imogen's race included her year and the year above her. She was the fastest girl out of both years. She finished seventh, only being beaten by older pupils and one of her contemporaries, so next year looks promising for her!

I notice that some of you put photos on the blog. Is the 'photo albums' tab at the top of this page the right place to start for going about that task?

Caterpillar Convoy and Logs

I tried the URL for Gohome, it is great Lizzie. Thanks. It was terrific to see lots of you at Simon's party nearly two weeks ago. Opps I forgot to write a thank you letter - Thanks Simon and Ursula. Since then I've moved Trev's and my stuff to Jacobs, partied in London for the weekend and got back to Spain last Monday where I've been recovering. A couple of days ago I saw this creature about 50cm long crawling across the path outside the gate here. I nearly ran away, but I was brave and took a picture. Click on it to get a better view. What is it?

I have sent it into New Scientist for an explanation.

Here's a picture of the field I've been taming with the tractor. There was a pile of old timber in it that I had to chop up. I reckon there are 200 logs in the pile, that should keep the home fires for a bit. Next week I'll have to put them into more permanent storage.

Michael and family are away for a few days so I have been in charge here. I have to feed and walk two large dogs among my other duties. Imagine - me looking after dogs - who'd a thought it?

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