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Richard T. news

I write in the hope that the TIG will forgive me for postings about RT on a
regular basis. I would like to scale exposure back a little once Richard is
out of CCU and in acute/skilled nursing care.

It is now Sunday, two weeks to the day since Richard Terpilowski's riding
accident. He still appears to be in a profound coma, and has not yet
awoken, despite some encouraging signs last week. Every day which goes by
at this stage increases the odds against an early and complete recovery for

Richard's intra-cranial pressure has been normalized sufficiently for the
ICP monitor to be removed from its position, rather awkwardly jutting out
of the top of his head. On Saturday, I also noticed that either Nursing or
Occupational Therapy had placed resting hand splints to avoid hand
contracture. The lung infection was still present, however, and visitors
were being asked to wear face masks and gloves, to prevent exposure to the
On Saturday also, my wife and I met with Sabina, Joe and Anna Terpilowski,
Richard's mother, father and sister, at the hospital, and gave them a
printout of the messages which had been left on the RT message page,
together with some news about the Trust Fund. Richard's parents in
particular were very heartened by the messages of support, and took away
the printout to read at home, for later return to Richard's room. I already
had read aloud each and every one of the messages to Richard during my
brief visit.

Sunday: proved to be an important day for Richard for two reasons: firstly,
an attempt was made to "wean" him off the ventilator, by switching it off
for a few minutes at a time. Second, Richard's brother Ian, up until now
the family spokesman, flew back to the U.K., for the time being, to attend
to his job and also his wife and small child, Richard's nephew. With almost
literally the weight of the world on his shoulders, Ian has been coping
magnificently, meeting with doctors, sorting out RT's affairs, and trying
to provide the environment for the best chance of his brother's recovery,
despite having never visited the U.S. before. I know he left LA both
physically and emotionally exhausted, but deeply thankful for the support
he has received while out here.

Once Terps is breathing on his own, unaided, a medical assessor from
Northridge Hopsital will review his case for admission into acute care
there. I attended a brief patient conference with Sabina, Joe and Anna, and
Richard's primary physician at Holy Cross; and it appears his physical
condition has been downgraded from "Critical" to "Acute", where it remains,
primarily as a result of pneumonia and infection. He should be breathing on
his own by Monday or Tuesday, and the Northridge admission assessment
should happen Tuesday or Wednesday, April 22nd or 23rd; but obviously,
without some sign of awakening, no actual rehabilitation can take place.

When I saw him on Sunday, he had had some sedatives, as his blood pressure
had begun to rise with the weaning of the ventilator. I did a quick check
for purposeful responses, but none were forthcoming.

So here we are. Two weeks into this with no immediate sign of recovery. I
pray daily that RT's brain and personality are still hidden deep down
there, and that his mind has just gone out for a lunchtime walk somewhere.
I feel we will all be happier once he is moved to Northridge. It is
currently around a 40-mile round trip for his parents and sister, and the
CCU restrictions on visiting times and number of visitors is getting all of
us down, I believe. What Terps needs now is a lot of stimuli, some loud
music and a lot of visitors. I'm hoping he will be pulled out of it by a
couple of clinking empty beer glasses, just long enough to say "your round"
or something equally funny.

May I again repeat my appeal to all TIGers to support the "Richard
Terpilowski Trust Fund", set up expressly to help his parents stay in
California, close to their son, for the duration of his recouperation? Even
if you are not able to contribute financially to the fund, please take the
time to leave a message on the RT message page on the TIG web site. It
means a very great deal to Richard's family to know how much interest and
support has been generated, and the high regard in which Terps is held,
literally around the world.

Finally, whatever your faith, keep a part of your prayers for our friend;
modern medicine has done what it can, the rest is up to Richard and
whatever help our faith brings.

God Bless

Mike Orton

| "I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind,      |
|   which is the proper judge of the man."                |
|         Seneca. 8 B.C.- 65 A.D.                         |

thanks to SMA Video NYC, and Kevin Shaw of Kanvas Film & Video
for support of the TIG in 1997.
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