Justin Imhof Updates
UPDATED! December 2, 2010
Thanks to Justins family for bringing this info into the spotlight as let me tell you, he is a young man in need of support!
Today, I made the trek to the UCSD Medical Center in the Hillcrest area of San Diego to see Justin. The only way I know him is via hearing his accident story via the Baja Racing News.com coverage of the Baja 1000 2010 event. As I made my way into the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit), I asked for Justin and was met by a very nice nurse, telling me that Justin had moved down on the worry list, and up to another floor to MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) on the 9th floor. She said it with a smile and I asked if that was a good sign...she smiled brighter and shook her head yes.
I made my way upstairs and found a hallway full of 6 people and noticed someone hanging onto a BFG Tires hoodie...I knew I was in the right place. Justin's Grandmother as well as his close friend from childhood, also named Justin, were there with a few other friends. The update they gave was Justin had been taken off the breathing machine as not only was he breathing on his own, but was chewing through the breathing tube non-stop. He chewed so aggressively, he actually pushed a tooth right out of his lower jaw. Maybe it was already loose from the crash, but hey, he's going for it on jaw action! Because they took him off the machine, but they still want to ensure he keeps breathing even if he starts choking, they did do a tracheotomy (sp) where they put a hole in his throat and insert an airway tube. Because he was off the breathing machine and stabilized a bit more, that was the reason for the downgrade in the level of ICU he is in. That's good news but still, he's got a long way to go.
Justin's buddy, Justin, also told me that after the crash, they did a helmet inspection and although the exterior of the helmet was scratched up pretty good, the interior of the helmet still had good integrity and form...basically, the helmet did its job to withstand the hit intact. Still, the doctors wanted to ensure the pressure inside his skull remained at a safe level, so they cut open a small hole just above the hairline on the right side of his face. Things went well enough there that they did not need to put in a shunt to relieve pressure over time and already, the hole is closed over, stitched, and healing.
At this point, we (I brought along a close friend, Eileen) went in and found him there, skin color looking great, gripping a motorcycle grip in his left hand! AWESOME! I took time to introduce myself and told him a number of you were supporting him from all over the place. The entire time I was talking, he was gripping my hand (I took the grip out and put my hand in its place) and changing firmness from time to time, all the way from totally lax to a mild grip. His jaw had movement from time to time, almost like small and rapid yawns, but without the breaths that go with it as he's breathing from the treach-tube. He also had some minor changes in arm positions. Now, I will say that I have been around others in this situation as well as being in this position for a short time in the past, so I know that motions are not indicative of anything worth cheering about...HOWEVER, we'd rather see these motions than have no movement at all.
I spent maybe 10 to 12 minutes filling him in on the basics from the Baja Racing News.com well-wishers, as well as telling him the obvious...that we ALL want to ride with him soon so pull back on that twist throttle, get his weight to the back on that bike, and haul ass through these whoops and rejoin his friends and family. Everything positive and forward looking, and the entire time reinforcing that he was the one with the power to pull thru this!
So, that's where we stand as of today, Wednesday, December 2, 2010. Great looking kid, clearly full of talent, needing a few miracles to pull out of this. Help us out here people and support him and his family where you can and let's help him help himself through this set of very deep whoops!
UCSD Medical Center - Hillcrest
Attn: Justin Imhof - ICU
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103
BTW, here is a link for driving directions: http://health.ucsd.edu/locations/hillcrest-driving.htm
There is a charge for parking of a couple bucks per hour.