by Bob Gardner Sorry I am a little late getting this out. But even though I work as a computer programmer, I have been having problems with my computer. Last week was an awesome week for Chris and his family. Got to visit them again on...

by Bob Gardner

Sorry I am a little late getting this out. But even though I work as a computer programmer, I have been having problems with my computer.

Last week was an awesome week for Chris and his family. Got to visit them again on Sunday. He did not speak yesterday, but he sure had a healthy appetite - he ate about 3/4 of both his lunch and dinner. He sure likes mashed potatoes and applesauce.

Would suggest if you want to read his mom's notes on a regular basis that you check out www.trickleracing.com or www.starnursery.com. They both post the same messages.. Sometimes one gets it posted before the other.

Also am enclosing a copy of a story that was mailed out to a bunch of racing newspapers today about Chris. And since I am the author of the story below, feel free to pass it along to anyone you like.

LAS VEGAS (Nov 3). The medical condition of stock car driver Chris Trickle continues to improve. Chris has now spoken audible words and obeyed simple commands for several consecutive days and appears to have rediscovered food. More importantly, doctors no longer consider him to be in a coma.

The personable 25 year old Las Vegas native, who finished fourth in last year's NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour point standings, was the victim of a drive-by shooting in his hometown on February 9. Trickle was hospitalized in Las Vegas for more than two months after he was shot. Two surgeries were necessary to remove the bullet which was lodged in his brain. In April he was transferred to a facility in California; the hospital is world renowned for their outstanding and aggressive treatment of serious brain injuries. Two additional operations in May and July were necessary to implant shunts to drain spinal fluid from his brain.

Trickle's family and friends and maintained a constant vigil at his bedside. Barb, his mother, has been living in a motorhome at the hospital. Chuck, his father, has been shuttling back and forth between Las Vegas and the hospital while running the family business. Jennifer, Chris' girl friend, also has been a constant support. Visitors continue to stream in and out of Chris' room.

Since being transferred to the California facility, his vital signs have remained good for the most part and he has been undergoing daily physical therapy. All along doctors have said that they need to see consistent behaviors from Chris. Though there were occasional positive signs, the behaviors did not start to become more consistent until recently. Among other things he has been able to hold himself up on an exercise mat for periods as long as six minutes. He has been opening his eyes for several months though. He started talking occasionally in late August and was able to swallow fluids and soft foods on his own in September. But since October 24 he has spoken nearly every day and is eating regular meals though the food must be pureed.

A lot of his speaking has been single words. But he has told his mom, dad, and girl friend on difference occasions that he loves hem. His speech has not been totally clear but the words are clearly intelligible. "It seems mostly like he was answering 'yes' or 'yeah' to questions so we told him it was all right to say 'no', Barb Trickle notes. "So he immediately told the next therapist 'No' when she asked him to do something! We have to put the spoon or cup in his hand and guide the food, but he's quickly learning to help a bit. He has been so enthusiastic about eating that we have had many people from the unit coming in to watch."

Though significant progress is being made, there are still days where Chris does not talk of respond to requests. On November 2, there was no visible or audible reaction when he was wheeled out of the hospital to view his Southwest Tour car. So the behaviors are not yet constant.

Chris Trickle obviously still has a long way to go before he fully recovers. But the sobs of grief and sorrow from the past nine months are now turning into tears of joy. Several fund raising efforts to assist the family have gone on since the tragedy. People who wish to support Chris and his family can do so through the Chris Trickle Medical Fund, Account 0150798189, c/o Citibank, 4065 South Jones, Las Vegas, Nevada 89103.

God speed Chris Trickle. God speed.

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