Wednesday, November 20, 2002

There but for the grace
I've been distracted.

Regular readers will know (and if you don't know, just scroll down) that I'm in the process of recovering from a heart attack and stroke. Previously, in the hospital and immediately after being released, I was optimistic that I would recover fully.

I have become somewhat less secure in this assumption lately, for no good reason. This, too, is probably apparent from my last medical update. I am not thinking as clearly, as sharply as I think I was, but this could simply be because I am not required to, not yet having returned to the daily grind (due mostly to my eyesight).

I do still realize how lucky I am, and it is premature to draw any conclusions regarding the completeness of my recovery, but I also realize that I am in no sense a medical miracle. Nobody owes me a full recovery. Brain damage is a tricky thing.

What happened once could happen again: What was blithe ignorance is now uncertainty. Having one heart attack or stroke increases the risk of another. I've had two each.

But nothing had shaken me so much as the events of last Friday morning.

A good friend of mine, Thomas Fuller (all of you who know me in the Real World know him), had a heart attack while driving his youngest son to school. He wasn't as fortunate as I was. He lost consciousness immediately. He has not awakened. He is not expected to awaken. His body is alive, but...

I can't say it. I won't. I find, old cynic that I am, that I still believe in miracles. It's horribly unfair that he should leave us just as he's beginning to achieve the creative success he's always deserved.

The last conversation we had was about my close call. His doctors had warned him that he must lose weight and change his habits. My experience, he said, would serve as an example. See what happens?

On Thursday they turn off the machines, and we will see what happens.

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