Last week’s Jules update

First of all, as many of you have pointed out, we once again owe a deep and sincere thank you to Jules’ parents.

Obviously this is good news, at a few levels. Being closer to home, to friends and family, is immensely important.

Knowing that Jules is breathing on his own is also very good news. Not so much prognostically; rather because it’s one less open door to potentially life-threatening infections.

The press release also says that the “medically induced coma” has been ended. Remember, ALL patients with severe head injury are anesthetised. This is to allow them to be ventilated by a respirator, and to better control many of the patient’s parameters during the first crucial days.

During the acute phase (roughly speaking from ICU admission until the intracranial pressure/brain swelling was brought under control) if the intracranial pressure rises too high, and the usual means fail to bring it down, this anesthesia (itself a medically induced coma) is deepened significantly, as a last-ditch effort to control the pressure. This was done, as you remember, for Michael Schumacher. It was also almost certainly carried out for Jules. This deep anesthetic is usually only used for a few days up to a week or two (rarely more). Then the background “routine” anesthetic is also slowly weaned. The speed of this process depends on the patient’s circumstances and how withdrawal of sedation is tolerated. This was presumably done prior to Jules being transferred back to Nice.

But he is still unconscious.

The fact that Jules is no longer being sedated, is no longer receiving anesthetic drugs to maintain a state of PHARMACOLOGIC coma, but remains unconscious at almost two months post injury, is obviously of great concern. But his is perfectly compatible with the clinical course of a patient with severe diffuse axonal injury who was unconscious on hospital admission.

While statistically the situation is fairly dire, statistics are just that – numbers. Let’s wait, support the Bianchis in any way we can, and constantly hope things get better.

Sorry for the delay in posting this. Lots of things going on, and just could not find time to write.

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Congratulations Lewis

Congratulations, Champ. As happy as YOU are, believe it or not, tons of us are almost as happy. Double world champion. Insane.

I’m not a sports blogger, and I’m not going to start writing about stuff I don’t master. But right now, I feel the need to put into words some of why people are just so happy you won the World Championship.

How about an anecdote first? Sid and I were both following your karting exploits with a lot of interest. We’d both decided that you were well on your way to being a World Champion even then. Anyway, we’re at the Nurburgring, and they’re racing (the race Johnny Herbert won), and it’s bucketing down with rain. Cars are skating off left and right. I can feel Sid is on edge, and I’m as sure as hell we’re gonna have to go out at some point, for something.

Herbie comes on the radio. He says Max is on the phone, and needs to talk to Sid. Could we please park below race control, and could Sid please come upstairs and take the call.

Talk about a WTF moment.

We get to the tower using the internal roads. I tell Sid (I’d only just started working with him) sorry, Dude, but if there’s an accident while you’re talking to Max, I’m going to it without you.

Sid comes back downstairs and gets in the car, shaking his head. You, Lewis, were racing somewhere in France (as I remember, this was 17 years ago I think), and were wearing a wrist brace. Some turd of a French Chief Medical Officer had (for obvious political reasons – this was an important race for the karting championship, and I think a French kid was in with a shot) decided you couldn’t drive. Max, also clearly concerned about French treachery, got in touch with Sid. Who promptly read the riot act to the CMO. This has NOTHING to do with my point, but I love the story.

Long story short, Champ – it’s your humanity that I love, and it’s precisely that humanity that makes me think that you’re unstoppable now.

Let’s forget about your driving. What has fascinated me, and what I think makes you so special to so many of us, has been watching you struggle. With the celebrity. And the wealth. But not just that of course. Watching how powerfully your inner struggles impacted your driving. Questions about who you were, how to live. Who are your friends. All the stuff that NORMAL young adults struggle with.

This is not voyeurism, Lewis. I guess because of the racing, because of WHY you’re in our lives, we’re INTERESTED. You should know that for me, it’s been a privilege.

And now, this season, it’s come to a head. We could SEE it – see you struggle with how to deal with things. Not on track. Off. Of course.

You’ve hashtagged a lot of your tweets this season with “#blessed”. I thought it interesting, and now I realise it was the first clue of what was going on.

Then, before the race Sunday, just a snippet of conversation with Gaëtan, the Belgian TV commentator. You said that it was a joy to be there, that it was “the coolest thing ever”. Right there, I knew that barring mechanical failures you’d already won.

Lewis, to be able to face that kind of challenge, and that kind of pressure, and still FEEL the joy of being there, is a staggering achievement. It’s not “maturity” in the usual sense of the word. For me, it’s an example of where your personal path has taken you. You have learned, despite the temptations and the work, a lesson that many men never learn.

With your talent, Lewis, and the strength of really feeling #blessed, you’ve harnessed something incredibly powerful. Lewis the driver has impressed me for almost 20 years. Now you’ve given me a curiously fatherly joy at watching you become the person you’ve become. Congratulations, Champ.

We have a date, Tuesday 11 November, 5 PM UTC

I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) this coming Tuesday, 11 November.

Pretty sure all you have to do is navigate to http://www.reddit.com/r/formula1. I guess you’ll have to set up a (free and hassle-less) account, which is simple and should be two-step secure.

Starting at 17h, 5 PM Coordinated Universal. That’s 5 PM in the UK, 6 PM on the Continent, 11 AM Eastern time, and god knows what time elsewhere.

You all know how much I LOVE interaction with fans and readers and followers, and how much I love the diversity and passion of your questions. This will be another way to interact with you, and I am really really excited.

Talk it up, pass on the word, and most important, come on over and ask me anything you want.

See you Tuesday!