Jay Schiff, Nadine Leeds, Karen MacLeod

Jay, Nadine and Karen (photos below) have been friends since 1971. Unfortunately, circumstances due to Karen's divorce, forced her to move from Southern New Jersey to Maryland in 2001. Nadine has known Jay since Nadine's childhood.

Jay has had severe head trauma. He fell down some 8 steps of 16, with a piece of furniture falling with/on him, while moving into another home for himself and Nadine. Jay lost his footing, and tumbled.

Nadine had asked him not to help with heavy lifting, but Jay insisted. Now Nadine feels extremely guilty about this accident, and believes it her fault.

Apparently Jay had been non-responsive, and LESS responsive than the day he was taken into the hospital. That first day he tried to disconnect himself from the medical equipment.

Only recently Nadine says, Jay partially opens his eyes, and moves slightly. She visits him daily, if only to sit and hold his hand.

Jay's on life support (as of August 18, 2004), with a breathing tube, hooked up to all kinds of monitors, though there is hope the medical professionals at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. may be able to soon put in a feeding tube and trach tube, removing Jay from the ventilator.

Nadine's wish is for prayers for "the best outcome for Jay." We both agreed that if he can not be a contributing person to life around him, he would rather leave this plane. He doesn't want to be a burden to others, nor would he want to be a vegetable or unable to participate in life.

Jay's sister, Jenny, is coming up from Florida to be with Nadine for a short time.

Jay will be 90 in March --- It was 10 years ago (at age 79) when Jay had a pedestrian accident with a tour bus. We almost lost him then, with severe injuries to legs, pelvis and lower body. After months of therapy, there was no sign that Jay ever 'met up with the bus,' although one leg was reconstructed with plates and pins.

This current injury seems much more severe, as with the bus accident, Jay's head was not damaged.

Update as of September 10, 2004: Jay was tansferred to Lincoln Specialty Care in Vineland on Tuesday, September 7. Since then he has started to come around, moving his arms and legs, and opening his eyes. He even answers yes and no questions by shaking his head. Next week they will evaluate him to see what kind of physical therapy he can do.

Update from Jay's sister, Jenny -- October 13, 2004: Jay is able to keep his eyes open sometimes. He has only one tube inserted in him and that is the intravenous feeding tube. He has been moved to a nursing home in Vineland.

He still does not recognize family and friends but he is very much improved. Now I dare to pray that he gets well and will be able to enjoy living again.

I'm sending this message to all the wonderful people who supported me in my worries and prayed for Jay and will continue to pray for him, I hope. He still has a lot more to accomplish before he'll be able to return to his new home with Nadine in Vineland, N.J.

Update -- December 27, 2004: I received a phone call from Nadine at about 9:15 this morning. She told me that Jay ate a whole bowl of oatmeal without assistance, so he's beginning to be able to feed himself.

He then spoke to me. Said hello, and that he missed and loved me. I told him that when he is feeling better, I would take the train to New Jersey to see him. Jay then mentioned he had not seen me in a long time, and that I lived in Maryland. By that time he was tired, so handed the phone back to Nadine.

At least at times his mental functions seem like they're working. I'm pretty certain, since he mentioned Maryland, that he was aware that it was me on the other end of the phone.

I'm not ready to stand up and cheer, as I know he has had many setbacks -- but this phone "conversation" was longer and more coherent than the last one.

Update -- January 24, 2005: Jay passed away late last night after a series of strokes. He is at peace.

This is a link to Jay's COMPANION IN ZEOR tribute page.

Jay Schiff and Nadine Leeds -- 2003

Karen MacLeod with her former therapy horse, Frosty -- 1997