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12 July 2009 @ 09:03 pm
A very nice weekend apart from the life-threatening medical crisis  
Word count: 11182 | Since last entry: 1253

Spent the weekend in Seattle, visiting with scarlettina. We had several very nice meals with her, including her birthday brunch with jackwilliambell, varina8, and others. We had tons of fun playing with Sophie the new kitten and Spanky the not-so-new cat -- it was like LoLCats Live! 24/7 and my jeans are covered with little kitten-claw snags -- and although my allergies did act up it was never a serious problem. We attended the Clarion West party in honor of matociquala at marykaykare's; always nice to see Bear, however briefly, as well as many Seattleite friends (both old and new, permanent and temporary). We went to a steampunk swap meet where I scored a fabulous floor-length leather coat and we ran into alicebentley, philfoglio, kajafoglio, jerrykaufman, and Suzle WINOLJ, followed by a fine lunch with the latter two. We had a nice walk around Fremont and visited Cleopenguin in her new home. And we bopped down to Kent for an excellent Chinese dinner and a game of Apples to Apples with akirlu and hal_obrien.

But the main event of the weekend, and dominant emotional note, was markbourne's heart valve replacement. The plan was to hang out with e_bourne at the hospital on Friday and then attend the Clarion West party after Mark came out of the operating room.

It didn't work out like that.

The operation went smoothly until they went to take Mark off the heart-lung machine and close him up, at which point his heart did not start up as it should have. Since then Mark's situation has been a continuous medical crisis and a hell of waiting for those who love him. The details can be found in e_bourne and scarlettina's LJs, but at last report his chest had still not been closed (they don't want to do that until they are 100% sure everything is working properly in there) and he's still in critical condition. The good news is that he's been unconscious this whole time and when he wakes up he won't remember any of this.

The model I've been using is that one's social support system resembles the roots of a tree, with the weight traveling down the trunk and being spread out to successively smaller and more distant roots, putting less and less weight on each smaller root until it eventually vanishes into the ground. The weight of this crisis falls on Elizabeth, of course, and I think Janna's in second position (she and Mark are Evil Twins and share a birthday, which happened to be the day of the surgery); I viewed my role as supporting them (especially Janna) with my physical presence, stupid attempts at levity and light conversation, and occasional errands. It didn't feel like much but I hope it helped. I then turned around and depended on Kate and our Seattle friends, and so on. I thought I was handling it well until I showed up at the Clarion West party and EBear commented that I looked wrecked.

Anyway. Home now. Managed to write at least 500 words every day, if by "at least 500" you mean "well, anything more than 250 as long as it's a good-faith effort". Haven't yet written today but there's still an hour or two before bedtime; I expect to complete a first draft this week with a week to cut it back to 10,000 words before the next critique group deadline. All in all things are going well.

I'm still worried sick about Mark, of course, but I know that he's in good health, is in one of the best cardiac units anywhere, and has the best circle of friends one could hope for.

 
 
 
joycemochajoycemocha on July 13th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Hugs. You've been a great friend and done what friends should--and must--do for each other. Take care of yourself, though.
it's a great life, if you don't weakenmatociquala on July 13th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
<3
farmgirl1146farmgirl1146 on July 13th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
The model I've been using is that one's social support system resembles the roots of a tree, with the weight traveling down the trunk and being spread out to successively smaller and more distant roots, putting less and less weight on each smaller root until it eventually vanishes into the ground.
An excellent analogy that explains in part why I have been sending messages of support. This is a small community, and what affects one usually does affect us all. At the same time, I have been where Elizabeth is however with an aunt. That was about 13 years ago, and she is alive still. We have a lot of heart disease in my family, and I found that just hearing about Mark's circumstance tapped a well of empathy. Thank you for your posts.
chiefwireheadchiefwirehead on July 13th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I understand that kind of wreckage.
Do make sure you get enough sleep.
It doesn't matter that there are roots if the trunk cracks.
scarlettinascarlettina on July 13th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
There's no doubt that your presence made a difference this weekend: to me, to Elizabeth, and to Kate. You were wonderful and it was wonderful to see you. I wish there had been more joy in the weekend. I know Mark would have loved to see you both. But I was glad to have you as guests and grateful for your company. And it had been too long. We'll do something like this again and it will be under circumstances more conducive to 100% goodness.
csinman on July 13th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I like the root system metaphor. It really does make things easier on people close to the trunk if the filaments collect even the littlest bit of water/nutrients/etc. and pass them on.

You're a very good filament, David. (You can quote me on that.)
Eleri Hamiltoneleri on July 13th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
thinking many good thoughts for Mark. It's been ages since we've seen him, but I remember him fondly
Will Martinairporter on July 13th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
It didn't feel like much but I hope it helped.

Running errands? Working to take one's mind off of the strife, a very little bit, with levity and caring? It's perhaps not much to you, lovely man, but I'd bet it was fantastically helpful for them.

Having someone around to cry with in a crisis is great, but having someone around to help take care of things is perfect - you don't have to sweat the little things, 'cause there's a good friend there.
Nancynancymcc on July 13th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
"Steampunk swap meet" ooooooh.

And I share with all your commenters the human experience that "a little" help and support has a lot of significance to the recipients. You rock!
ex_camillea on July 13th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
..."if by "at least 500" you mean "well, anything more than 250 as long as it's a good-faith effort". "

I think that's fair.