Sunday, September 08, 2002

Backlogs and Bulldozers
I'm beginning to think I may never catch up from my medically-imposed separation from my computer. I guess it isn't unexpected. I mean, you try ignoring your e-mail for three weeks and see what happens. Yahoo even de-activated my e-mail address -- and I pay for that!

It's particularly frustrating to waste such little vision as I have identifying and deleting spam. I'm not in need of weight-loss drugs, "girth and length enhancers", adult download services, or Nigerian money transfers, thanks.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have wanted to refuse mail from everybody I didn't already know. (Yeah, I'm leading up to saying something unforgivably sentimental. Yeah, I know, I already did that in a previous comment. I'm gonna do it again. Deal.)

I am trying to catch up, honest I am. I want to. My reading speed is still slow, but it's increasing every day. And, remember, on top of everything else, I'm on a dialup connection. :)

But what I want you to understand is that I don't remember anything more than the occasional scrap from August 9-14 (I'm told this is just as well), and I see August 15-22 through a persistent but clearing fog. (My stay at the rehab center is, unfortunately, all too clear.) Yes, Oreta told you she read it to me, and I'm sure she did. Don't blame her that I don't remember it.

Which is to say that as I work my way through my own blog over the last month, most of it is news to me still. It impacts me twice: Once as I follow the events that Oreta describes, learning what happened to me during those lost days; and again as I see just how well cared-for I really was.

As I read what Oreta has told you, and what you've told her, I'm struck by several things.

What a marvelous, unexpected communication tool blogging turned out to be. Some of my friends and family started reading it, I know, because it was the easiest way for Oreta to keep you updated.

Glenn Reynolds left a comment? (And mentioned me several times on his page, causing several instalanches.) James Lileks mentioned me on the radio? E-mail from "SWVCTM" (of "It Can't Rain All the Time") and Natalie Solent? I shouldn't even start mentioning names, because I must stop sometime and I don't want to leave anyone out, and I know I will. For me, this was instantaneous: I have very little sense of time having passed while I was at Crawford Long. Can you imagine what it feels like to "come back" and find all this?

Hang on, I'm turning into Sally Field, and that's not where I wanted to go.

Every comment is precious to me. Not just for the get-wells, but doubly so for the encouragement and support you've offered to Oreta. She, after all, was doing all the work: I was just lying there. Thank you so much for keeping watch on her when I couldn't.

This is strong stuff, both hers and yours, and I can't read more than one posting at a time without breaking down. I am a very lucky man.

I don't know what it's like to sit by and care for a spouse who isn't all there: She, I'm sorry to say, does, now. Those of you who complemented her for her strength, yes, you're absolutely right, she's the best advocate I could ever have. And you don't know the half of it. I thought I did, but now I'm in unrestrained awe of her.

I don't think she'll mind if I tell this story on her, she's told it herself. Years ago, she was a retail manager at a bookstore in downtown Atlanta. She was, and is, a demanding boss, a fact that probably doesn't surprise you. Nor would it surprise you that she works herself as hard or harder than her employees.

She is also a small woman, at five-food-four and mumbledy-mumble pounds. One of her employees, feeling overworked by her, described her as "an itty-bitty bulldozer."

It wasn't meant to be a compliment. I don't know if she knew Oreta heard it. But shortly after, Oreta bought a matchbox-sized toy bulldozer and put it on the corner of her own desk.

It's still on her desk today.

Thank God this itty-bitty bulldozer is on my side.

Of course I'm going to recover. I mustn't disappoint her.

Damnit. Now I'm making myself cry.

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