Sunday, November 30, 2008

Memorial Event - Update

This is a reminder that Geoffrey's memorial service is Friday, December 5th. Seating starts at 4:45PM, and the service begins at 5:00PM.

For those who are unable to attend the memorial service, Geoff's family extends their sincere gratitude to all who have sent cards and gifts, as well as donations to the Community Services Agency.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Memorial Event

Geoffrey’s memorial service is scheduled for Friday, December 5, 2008, and is intended to be a celebration of Geoff’s extraordinary life. The program will begin at 5:00PM, and will consist of brief statements by family and friends, followed by a reception, with hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar.

The memorial service will take place at Michael’s restaurant, at Shoreline Park, in Mountain View. Directions are available at the following website:

If you have an interesting story you wish to share, please let us know ahead of time, with an email to

Thursday, November 20, 2008


On the morning of November 20, Geoffrey Rau peacefully passed away at his family home in Mountain View.

Although modest about his achievements, Geoff accomplished much in his span of 29 years. Above all else, he loved to learn. He was valedictorian at Mountain View High School, graduated from Cal with bachelors degrees in Biology and English, and received a doctorate in medicine from Duke University. While enrolled at Duke, Geoff spent a year as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a result of his work at NIH, as well as prior work as a research associate at UCSF, Geoff was author or co-author on eight published scientific papers. Prior to suffering a severe brain injury in mid-October, he was a first year resident physician at UCLA.

Beyond these achievements, and most important to Geoff, were his many close friendships. His friends enjoyed his subtle wit, extraordinary loyalty, and adventurous spirit. Geoff’s adventures included running with the bulls in Pamplona, as well as other travels to Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia, two marathons, and several treks to the summits of Mt. Shasta and Yosemite’s Half Dome.

Geoff is survived by his mother, Carol Raymond, father, Walt, brother, Michael, and grandmother, Marion. Geoff is preceded in death by his half brother, Philip Rau.

A memorial service has not yet been scheduled. We will post memorial information at this blog site.

For those who wish to make a donation in Geoffrey’s name, please contact Community Services Agency, at, or 650-968-0836.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There's no place like home.

Last night, our family brought Geoffrey home from the rehabilitation center and a hospice service is now in place. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, but we know that Geoffrey would not want to live in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. The physicians and nurses expect this process to take anywhere between three days and two weeks. In the meantime, we are making every effort to keep Geoffrey comfortable.

Please feel free to pass this news on to whomever you wish. At this time, however, our family would appreciate no phone calls or visits. We just want to be together as a family.

By the way, Joel and Ann Marie set up a page to share photos of all the good times we had with Geoff. So, if you have any photos you would like to share, upload them to the following site.
password: pictures

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Transfer to Los Altos Sub-Acute

Yesterday, Geoff was transferred to the Los Altos Sub-Acute & Rehabilitation Center. He has a private room next to the nursing station.

As a family, we have consulted with five neurologists and two neurosurgeons over the course of three CT scans and two MRIs. Consistently, the prognosis has been grim. Most likely, Geoff will remain in a vegetative state and never regain consciousness. Moreover, if he did regain consciousness, he would have no chance for a meaningful recovery.

As part of the admission process at Los Altos Sub-Acute, a meeting is scheduled to review patient information with the family. Our meeting will be Friday at noon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Long Term Care Facilities

Although previously mentioned that Geoff would move to a long term care facility in Los Altos, a facility in Kentfield, CA is now being considered as well. For more information see A physician at that facility, by the name of Deborah Doherty, appears to be the best on the west coast for brain injury rehabilitation. For more on Dr. Doherty see: We plan to take a tour of the Kentfield Rehabilitation and Specialty Hospital on Thursday, and hope to learn more about Geoff's eligibility for treatment.

In regard to Geoff's current condition, he has transitioned from the critical care unit to the transitional care unit at El Camino Hospital. His condition remains stable with no substantial change in neurological function.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

With his transition from intubation to tracheostomy and gastric tube, Geoff is resting more comfortably now, and is breathing on his own. However, he fluctuates between periods of restfulness and aggitation, so he periodically receives anti-anxiety medication. Thankfully, the nursing staff has done an excellent job in meeting Geoff's needs.

In reviewing our previous updates, we realized we forgot to mention that Geoff opened his eyes last Wednesday. However, he has not yet demonstrated deliberate and repeatable responses to visual or other neurological tests. That said, Geoff has an improved physical appearance, and we hold out hope for neurological improvement as well.

Geoff's dearest friends, from both near and far, continue to provide support to Geoff and his family. In the process, we have relived old tales and learned some new ones. Thank you for your support.

Next week, probably Tuesday, we expect Geoff to transfer from El Camino Hospital to Los Altos Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Center. If you want to learn about Geoff's new home, here's a weblink:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Body, Mind, Spirit.

Optimal recovery involves healing the body, mind and spirit.

Thus far, prayers and positive energy have effectively restored Geoff's body. As of this morning, we no longer need to obtain daily chest x-rays. Geoff's lungs are no longer damaged. Furthermore, blood tests confirm that the liver and kidneys are functioning normally. To keep his muscles in shape for returning to the gym, Geoff has been receiving a constant protein and electrolyte shake drip through his feeding tube. Unless you hear otherwise, Geoff's body is ready for another marathon.

It is time to focus our prayers and positive energy on restoring Geoff's mind. At the moment, his brain is our only concern. Electronic imaging and bedside neurological evaluations suggest severe impairment. However, neurological science can be misleading, as has been shown on several occasions. In Geoff's case, a miracle is needed, meaning improvement beyond what modern medicine can reasonably predict.

While the reality we face is challenging, the family remains hopeful. Your ongoing support, through prayers, positive energy, and postings on this blog are helpful. Beyond the blogosphere, as of today, our home overflows with family and a few of Geoff's most intimate friends. Even though it is not feasible to have you all here, we still believe, on some level, Geoff is aware of your unwavering support.

In preparing for the long haul, we are taking steps to make Geoff more comfortable. His current situation, with intubation and feeding tubes running down his throat, requires sedation. A tracheostomy will be performed this week, as well as insertion of a gastric feeding line. This will allow for a "sedation vacation", so that we may have a better perspective of Geoff's mental condition and allow him to absorb our love and encouraging words.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Still waiting...

Geoff's lungs, liver and kidneys have almost fully recovered. Regarding his leg, we suspect the swelling is a result of previous tissue damage, which is steadily decreasing.

However, in dealing with oxygen deprivation, we would hope to see signs of waking within the first two days. We are now at eight days and not seeing the initial progress we had all hoped for. As time progresses, the chance for a meaningful recovery diminishes.

Now is the time for miracles...

Thank you for the continued support and messages of hope. As a family, we love discovering more about Geoff through his friends across the country. Any additional pictures or memories you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Left Leg

Geoff's lower left leg has moderate swelling, but is better than last night. Because of concerns such as blood clots, ultrasound and CT scan tests have been done. These tests indicate no circulatory problems, so the current thinking is muscle swelling due to infection. This, as well as his kidneys, liver, and lungs are all expected to continue to improve to full health.

However, neurologically, Geoff's future will remain uncertain for the next days, weeks and months. Because brain injuries take a week or more to fully reveal themselves on MRI and CT scans, we may know more next week. A major milestone will be for Geoff to open his eyes. Hopefully, that will happen soon, so that the Glasgow Coma Scale ( can be utilized to assess his condition.

A nurse named Glenn has rearranged Geoff's room, and hung greeting cards, photos, and a message from Cleo the cat, so that Geoff will be able to easily see them. Geoff's room has a nice feel. While music plays gently in the background, family and close friends continuously interact with Geoff. We talk to him, massage his hands and feet, and read to him. Some of the reading material has been unusually informative, and it will be interesting to see if Geoff remembers that one out eighteen people has a third nipple.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Neurological Consult

We spoke with Geoff's neurologist regarding the latest CT scan. First, the positive. With respect to upper brain function (personality, memories, etc.) we have reason to remain hopeful. However, the basal ganglia appears to have suffered significant damage, which may affect various aspects of motor function. The truth is, we don't know how much of the damage is irreversible. For now, all we can do is wait...

Here's what we know.

On Sunday, October 12, Geoff was found unresponsive at his home in Mountain View. Due to prolonged oxygen deprivation, he arrived at El Camino Hospital with multiple organ failure. Since his arrival, he has remained in a coma and relies on life support. Over the last few days, Geoff's lungs, liver and kidneys have been improving steadily. However, the lack of oxygen resulted in swelling and potential brain damage. Yesterday's MRI revealed that the swelling is still present, and the most significant areas of concern reside within the white matter related to motor function.

The blood work from this morning confirmed that his vital signs are getting stronger and his lungs, liver and kidneys are on the right track. We are currently awaiting the results of his latest CT scan.

Keep sending positive energy, thoughts and prayers.
We believe in miracles!

Messages for Geoff

Please leave Geoff a message through this post. As mentioned above, these messages will be read at his bedside. Although he is currently in a coma, we believe he responds to the healing power of our voices. So if you have a funny story, sappy memory, or just want to leave a few words of encouragement, please send it our way!