Several folks have written and called asking for a bit of an update about Simon Lovell. Simon has been living in his own flat for a while by now, doing well, adjusting to his new lifestyle and surroundings, and so forth.
Simon recently paid a pleasant and enjoyable visit to the Magic Circle, and was delighted to receive a Life Membership. Simon sounds great on the phone, just like his old self.
Magic is more or less on the backburner for now; Simon has been focusing on his decoupage artwork which I understand is quite good.
Simon's health is generally good, although it does appear he is looking at a hip replacement within a year. That's the only thing he isn't exactly looking forward to at the moment. Simon says hello to everyone.
Simon has asked me if you could send out a message ....
"Hi to all my friends in USA who have helped me enormously during my bad times this past year. I am totally grateful to everybody for all the support they all gave me and I wish each and every one all my best wishes for a happy, peaceful and successful festive season.
Greatest regards Simon."
It sounds like Simon is doing extremely well and on the right track!
"Dear Randy - a brief update.
Simon doing very well in his new apartment. Cooking for himself and keeping his place in a tidy clean state- even doing dusting and polishing of his new furniture. He had his first care plan meeting with a hospital member from the Linden Centre at the apartment who inspected the place and interviewed him at length. She advised that she was fully satisfied with his progress so far and no further meetings will be necessary for three months.
I'll keep in touch. Tony"
After a lengthy conversation with Simon's father, Tony, it appears that things are dramatically better.
There was a formal meeting with Simon's lead doctor, his assistants, with both Tony and Simon present. The doctors are thrilled with Simon's progress. According to all of Simon's attending physicians, there is no reason at the moment why Simon cannot lead a full, happy, productive, and independent life. The outlook could not be better.
Simon's physical condition has improved, his prior memory problems are no longer a significant issue, Simon is thrilled with his new apartment, and busy furnishing it. He and his Dad just picked up and installed a large new flat-screen.
Simon is going to the clinic periodically for follow-up check-ups, so there is no lapse in top-notch care. Tony Lovell is thrilled for Simon, I am as well, and everyone should be. Perhaps more importantly, the doctors that have been treating Simon for the last several months are as well . . . it has been a very strong recovery, and they of course have seen all the extremes over the years.
Thanks to everyone for their good thoughts and support. In the case of Simon, it has really paid off.
Simon was discharged from hospital yesterday 4th November at 3pm and has now safely moved into his apartment. We have bought all new furniture and it is looking really good. We still have things to buy - TV etc but he is absolutely over the moon with it. It is in a quiet cul de sac overlooking his old school playing fields and only 15 minutes down the road from me.
I was allowed to speak to the lead doctor with Simon present and his report was most encouraging. Simon will be monitored for some time to come but I think all is going to be OK. I'll keep you updated.
Dear Randy -
Great news!!! I have got Simon a small apartment close to me. He and I are going to inspect it tomorrow and measure up for curtains and furniture etc.
It is going to be ideal close to shops and bus routes into Chelmsford. As soon as it ready for Simon to move into he will be discharged from hospital. I hope all is going to be well and he will cope with the change to his life. I'll keep you in touch with the situation.
Simon, by now, has been through several months of isolated, maximum security treatment. There isn't much to say based on fact, for apparently the U.K. has very aggressive patient confidentiality laws. Simon has not given permission to doctors to discuss his prognosis with anyone, including his father, so nothing other than speculation is out there.
As heartbreaking as it is to say, if I was told several weeks ago that Simon would not be released for several years, I wouldn't have been surprised. It is a serious situation . . . and Simon previously has exhibited no interest in getting out, magic, the internet, nothing.
However, the outlook is much more positive than that. Assuming state-approved sheltered housing is lined up, Simon could be released into his own apartment within a month or two. That is a huge step, for Simon has not been allowed out of the facility for more than a few hours to date and even then, it is only under the supervision of his father.
The way his father, Tony, phrases it is 'there is a small flickering light at the end of a very, very long tunnel.' So, it looks like Simon could indeed be released in 1 – 3 months, but it is anything but clear what he wants to do when that happens. It will be up to Simon and how exactly things might work out is anyone's guess. Keep your fingers crossed.
Visiting with Tony Lovell, there is little truly new to report about Simon. Simon's put on some healthy weight, Tony continues to be quite impressed with the facilities and staff.
Simon is still approved for three outings per week with his Dad, they are going out tomorrow as a matter of fact. The rest of it still looks to be a fairly long path towards recovery, just not a "quick fix" situation. In a letter I received a while back by post from Simon . . . well, he still has his sense of humor, to say the least! Some of it would handily exceed a "PG-13" rating.
Dear Randy - Just to advise that all Simon's 32 boxes have arrived safe and sound at my house and are now stored in the garage. They were cleared without charge by UK Customs the other day. So all is well.
Simon is Ok and doing quite well. I have had him out several times and he handled himself well. His laptop is now working to UK standards and he is attempting to clear 78 pages of e-mails !!! but this is taking
some time. I can tell you that David and Richie, apart from your goodself have done a gigantic task in packing up all of the effects and getting them shipped to UK.
Without all of you I do not know what we
could have done and Simon and I are eternally grateful for everything. I have no idea how long they are going to be in my garage- perhaps Simon
will auction off some of the things at least but we will have to wait and see...
In general, Simon is doing well, although some days are better than others.
Tony Lovell writes, " Simon is OK but definitely not as good as he has been... I will be taking him out on Monday for a run round and do some shopping so that should help him."
For those that have asked, the medical facility where Simon resides does not allow any visitors, excepting immediate family.
However, Tony Lovell can bring Simon to his house for a visit with friends. It would have to be scheduled in advance, but that is doable. For a visit of that nature, please contact Tony Lovell directly.
Dear Randy - To advise you that the cheque has arrived safely. I shall pay it into my bank tomorrow and once cleared will open a bank account for Simon with the money.
We are very very grateful for this and Simon
in particular is deeply touched by everything. Can you please publish to everybody exactly how totally we thank you and them all for all they have done for Simon . . .
It is time to say “THANK YOU” to the tremendous group of individuals that are above first class, and have gone above and beyond to help Simon Lovell. That certainly includes everyone that has donated here, but there are a few that need to be mentioned and applauded for all kinds of reasons, and very good reasons at that. In no particular order, they are . . .
The Magic Circle, Eric DeCamps, Dan Harlan, Norm and Lupe Nielsen, Father Cyprian, Milt Larsen, Jeff Hobson, Belinda Sinclair, Kate August, Sandy Marshall, Gordon Astley, Paul Critelli, Jim Patton, Hottrix, Rob & Mandy, Carl Mercurio, Steve Brooks, Keith Fields, Marien Hopman, Carol Shelley, Andrew Pinard, Rich Marotta, and many more. Extra-special thanks to long-time friends Harrison Carroll and Tom Gagnon.
Simon continues to improve, albeit quite slowly. Simon is being a bit more cooperative, eating better, and so forth. Also, the doctors have approved short day trips for Simon, so Dad can spring him for a few hours and they can grab a bite, go shopping, or enjoy the British countryside for a bit. Another small, but quite positive step.
Wonderful sentiments from Simon's friends here, from all over the world.
Tony Lovell met with Simon's lead doctor earlier today, a doctor who was quite skeptical that much progress could be made.
However, Simon has improved, and now this same doctor has a brighter, more hopeful view of the situation. I don't want to overstate that, however, for it remains a long path. Yet, things are improving and headed in the right direction.
The Magic Circle has reinstated Simon Lovell's membership, something that has really brightened Simon's eyes, according to his father. Over the last couple of days, Simon has been improving, but in a very small "baby-step" manner of progress. Simon is also happy that his library and tools of the trade are on their way back to him.
Tony Lovell has been working with British Social Services, and it sounds like when Simon is ready (far off into the future) . . . there won't be much problem getting Simon set up with his own flat, a "warden-assisted" affair that will be ideally suited both to offering Simon privacy and independence, yet also conducive to follow-up care and support.
As Tony Lovell puts it, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but is a very, very long and slow tunnel to navigate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 50% of American suffer from mental illness at some time during their lives. If you are reading this and are not mentally ill, things aren't looking so good for the person sitting next to you.
Simon's issues are quite dire and if they were not, there would have been no fund-raiser in the first place, certainly not by me anyway. The symptoms have been consistent: memory problems, apathy, irritability, and resistiveness. Simon's recent move to the U.K. has been a dramatic change of itself, but after a week of non-responsiveness, Tony Lovell reports that Simon is having more lucid, articulate segments and has become better aware of his surroundings and circumstances.
Simon should take some solace in that he need not have a "guilt trip" about being a sudden financial burden to his Dad, and he should also take some comfort in knowing that already no less than 188 separate donors think so highly of him they have already contributed to his fund. Despite the current problems, Simon has made quite an impact, and he should take some pride in knowing this.
Magic has been a huge part of his life, and knowing that his magic collection is secure in the process of being shipped over to him should also give him something to look forward to.
Simon's father, Tony Lovell, has been bowled over: astonished, surprised, delighted, and humbled at the outpouring of affection and good wishes for his only son, Simon. This has all been quite helpful to Tony Lovell as well, thanks to you.
Thanks to 185 generous people who think highly of Simon, progress has been made. So far, it has been airfare for Simon and his escort to get back to the U.K., more efficient than his Dad and sister both flying to the U.S. to fetch him.
Simon's landlord has been paid and Simon's large and heavy pile of books and goodies have been removed and stored, in preparation for shipment to the U.K.
Simon is enrolled in the British NHS, which helps stop the financial hemorrhage to his father. Simon is in a very impressive custodial care center, where Tony Lovell is quite impressed by both the facilities and staff.
Simon himself is not responding well at all to treatment thus far, so the road ahead is going to be a very, very, very long one, according to his doctors. The situation presently is quite grim, indeed, but more will be known after many months of care and treatment.
Simon's father is impressed with the facility, Simon has his own room, and has access to sunshine, an outdoor garden, and he is being looked after well. So, Simon is being well-cared for in safe and professional surroundings. Simon is also not that far away from his father, so Dad can keep an eye on things.
No rapid progress is currently anticipated, though . . . perhaps a year until significant recovery looks to be possible.
Greeting cards and letters, words of good cheer and so forth are best mailed to Tony who will see that Simon gets them.
In speaking with Simon's father, Tony, the current situation is not good. In fact, it is horribly bad. Simon is at the Linden Centre mental health facility, about five miles from his father's home, where he will remain for an indefinite period of time.
It took not only the paramedics but three police squads at Tony Lovell's sleepy Chelmsford home to contain Simon, who began his yelling, screaming, howling, garden gnome brandishing tirade after his father had retired for the evening, something past 10 pm local time.
Tony Lovell went to see Simon today, Simon is at a first rate facility with his own room. According to Tony Lovell, Simon is completely down and in a very, very poor state. Tony Lovell has had a successful thirty-seven year career in law enforcement including three years of dedicated drug detail. It is apparent to Tony Lovell, now 83 years young, that he cannot possibly deal with Simon at home.
Whatever damage there is to Simon's mind is unknown, suffice it to say that he is out of control. After the assessment at Linden Centre, contingent on the findings, long-term assisted care scenarios will be explored. Whatever the future brings is only speculative; it is unknowable at the present time. Clearly, despite Simon's total of six hospital admissions at a total of three different hospitals in two different countries, there has been no improvement whatsoever. Simon, if anything, is worse off than ever.
Hindsight shows that whatever the myriad of Simon's problems are, the doctors got it quite wrong, for he was in no condition to be released from hospital care, although he was released three times. Currently, he is a place where he poses no threat to himself or others. As for the rest, it is essentially starting from scratch, for Simon is not at all in control of himself and the full extent of his problems is loudly unknown.
Simon is back in the U.K. with his father. According to Tony Lovell,
"Simon has arrived safely. All Ok but there is a long road ahead for both Simon and me. I am concerned about Simon and his appearance. As you say he is skeletal. We are going to the doctor on Monday - first steps in the road to recovery. Simon has promised that he will be totally honest with the doctor especially about his bad habits."
Simon has not been at his father's house for twenty years; Tony Lovell has not seen Simon for at least ten years when he came to the states to visit Simon.
Tony Lovell has already taken steps to integrate Simon into the British healthcare system with his first doctor's appointment scheduled for July 15th. Tony Lovell expects to be reunited with his only son Thursday at one in the afternoon or thereabouts.
Tony Lovell reminded me again earlier today how very, very deeply grateful he is for the tremendous support.
Simon will be essentially starting from scratch; physically, mentally, emotionally. As to how much damage has been done from a very unhealthy lifestyle and to the extent he will recover is unknown, but will become more apparent by the end of this year.
Of course, the extent to which Simon takes ownership of the situation and starts living healthy has a lot to do with the result. Simon may not want to live like a Boy Scout, but if he wants to regain health and functionality, he is going to have to.
Now, he will finally be in an environment that offers the best platform for him to rejoin reality, thanks to everyone here.
Speaking with Simon a short while ago, it looks like he is indeed going to be released Wednesday afternoon (tomorrow), then straight off to the airport for an evening flight to the U.K. to meet up with his father.
Simon's spirits are notably upbeat: Belinda Sinclair recently paid him a nice visit, presenting him with a deck of cards that had a "cute baby straightjacket" around it.
Simon is still a bit concerned about some of his possessions: Sidney the Semi-Psychic Water-Dousing Crow, the Mysterious Floating Orb of Zanzibar, and various groups of dancing mice. In other words, the usual stuff.
Thanks to everyone that showed they cared. It took only two days, with the support of 127 people, to hit 100% of the target.
Updates will happen on a regular basis as more information and progress becomes available. That won't be shared on Facebook or twitter by me, but everyone who has helped will get them directly. This is the last "shared" update on social media.
Simon has a very long way to go towards recovery, that much was quite clear from our conversation earlier today. The several co-mingled issues have never been diagnosed, much less treated in their totality.
However, it appears that Simon will be reunited with his father in the U.K. within the next several days, and he will have the very best opportunity and the very best environment possible to allow for progress and recovery.
This page will be left up indefinitely as testimony to your generous and loving efforts.
"Please post a message from me deeply thanking everybody from the bottom of my heart for their deeply appreciated great generousity. I will never forget all the total kindness being shown to my poor son.
Everything now in hand for his return to UK with Jeff and after that- insertion into the NHS for all necessary further treatment.
I have already discussed the situation with my doctor here who is brilliant and Simon is going to be taken great care of. I think we can relaxed slightly in that things are coming together and there should be better
things to come. I'll keep in touch and will never forget everything you are doing.
I'd like to thank the many extremely important, valued friends who have taken the time to spread the word. So far, that has been 295 "shares" via FB, Twitter, and so forth.
I've never done one of these fundraisers before and I hope I never have to again. For those that have asked, Simon is completely financially embarrassed; it is an "underwater" situation. He owns no property or even a car to liquidate.
Nevertheless, this all about strategic use of funding for Simon's benefit, but this is all going to Tony Lovell, Simon's father, who will use this to offset what may well be a very long process.
When the first money order goes out to Tony Lovell, likely next week, I'll photograph and post an image of it prior to mailing.
This will be quite a lot of work for 83 years young Tony Lovell and Simon's sister, Sue. Please try to keep them in your prayers, for their stress in this situation likely exceeds Simon's.
A small portion of a letter just in from Simon's father Tony Lovell:
Dear Randy - What can I say. I am absolutely amazed that you have raised so much money for Simon so soon. Incredible!!!. I promise faithfully
that whatever is sent will be used exclusively on Simon, any extra medical treatment and general welfare for him.
My details are as
follows:- 10, Audley Road, Great Leighs, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 1RS
Naturally, the true thanks go out to those who care about Simon and have expressed their support. If you'd like to mail a card or letter full of good cheer to Tony Lovell and the Lovell family, it might be best to use Tony's home address in the U.K.
Simon has no computer where he is at and no personal phone, so the "area" or community phone by the nurse's station is what he is limited to.
Simon is at Elmhurst General Hospital, 718 334 3675, and sometimes it can take a while to get through to him. The phone audio quality sounds like the classic two tin cans and a thread array.
Today, July 4, I read every single public comment made here to Simon in their entirety, and further mentioned every single public contributor. Simon wanted everyone to know that he is very, very deeply touched and extremely appreciative of all the kindnesses and generosities already expressed.
Simon isn't at all happy about where he is at, to say the least, but he is aware of his current situation and also quite aware that he may be released sometime next week. His recollection of the last couple of weeks is a fog, but his general awareness is quite good.
Most involved in the magic community are quite familiar with Simon Lovell, through his several books, DVD's, radio and television appearances, his countless magic convention appearances on both sides of the Atlantic, and his long-running one-man off-broadway show "Strange & Unusual Hobbies."
Back in October, 2013, Simon suffered a severe multiple break to his right femur, requiring surgical implantation of titanium rods and some 2-1/2 months of hospital care. Simon has not been able to function (or work) much since that time, and recently has been admitted to hospitals five times over the last few weeks. Presently, he is still hospitalized for a variety of quite serious conditions. Simon is not healthy physically, mentally, or spiritually.
Simon's eighty-three years young father, Tony Lovell, who lives in the U.K., has been working to bring Simon home to live with him for recovery, for an extended time. Tony Lovell lives alone near Chelmsford, in the East of England. Tony Lovell and his daughter have been working towards setting up proper continuing medical care for Simon, and Tony Lovell is further trying to absorb all the literal baggage and costs . . . paying for Simon's return, storage and shipping of his personal effects, and so forth. There is essentially nothing left for Simon in the United States, sadly, in terms of work, tangible assets, or even a suitable place to live.
Father Tony and his daughter Sue (who is a career matron nurse) are going to have their hands full, to say the least. Retired Constable Tony Lovell is going to have to put his career law enforcement skills to work once again, this time working to restore his only son's health. Simon is not capable of much function at present and is clearly incapable of managing his own affairs.
Every single nickel of the net proceeds from this little fundraiser will go strictly to Simon's father, Tony Lovell, who will use them properly and wisely toward Simon's recovery. Tony is the type of person that would not ask for help personally, but Simon has a long road ahead. This isn't a quick process measurable in days, more like many months to a couple of years.
This road does not include alcohol or fun to be sure, and Simon will be accompanying his father to church, and will be experiencing a healthy lifestyle and continuous medical treatment for the first time in years, if he has indeed ever had it. Simon looks to be headed to the U.K. shortly, perhaps as soon as next week. At this extremely serious point, having his father look after him is Simon's best chance at recovery, perhaps his only chance.
Your expressions of love, support, generosity and good-will be a huge help and greatly appreciated by the Lovell Family. Tony Lovell has promised everyone regular updates as to Simon's progress.
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