Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After Thanksgiving

Update on Camryn from Her Dad

Tuesday afternoon (11.25.08)  As of three p.m. eastern time we are checked in at Frazier Rehab Center.  She will be evaluated by the staff tomorrow and then begin the therapy that they prescribe.  At this time we are looking at this situation a week at a time.  So hopefully by Monday of next week we will know how much progress has been made, and what needs to happen to facilitate going home.  Yesterday, the Neurologist made an interesting comment.  He said that if anyone had shown him Camryn's CT-Scan from last Monday, and said, this young lady is going to rehab, he would have laughed at them and said impossible.  The CT-Scan showed that 1/3 of her brain was saturated in blood.  Most people who suffer significant events like that are weeks in ICU and multiple months in therapy.  Well, we had less than a week in ICU, now lets work on therapy.


Mumbai is, to me, the latest example of how terrorism affects us beyond its violence. It makes no sense; it destroys with indifference; and it gets us literally right where we live: “if it can happen there then it could happen here.”  Thirty-something years ago I shot at by “urban terrorists” who also threatened to kill my wife and infant son. It took years and an excellent therapist to free me from the nightmares that launched. Terrorism angers me and I also have the urge to vomit whenever I hear of another incident.

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Wednesday I went grocery shopping. Tasha accompanied me. Although I have no expectations of anyone dropping by to see me during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I wanted to be prepared with all of those items that my sense of hospitality informs me I need to have on hand.

These days even a simple trip to the supermarket requires me to outfit myself as if I am going on a trek over a mountain range: three types of emergency medications to keep myself breathing (just in case); the cell phone (just in case); the portable oxygen tank, full; and my cane.

As I was leaving the house, I realized that Alex was still outside. I called the furball, had Tasha check the deck to see if he was sunning himself there, and look under the car—just in case. Knowing that Alex can (usually) take care of himself, I left with him still outside catting around.

Tasha took my camera with us and documented the safari to the supermarket:

Of course, the first item I purchased was Alex’s favorite cat food!

The trip, dur to traffic and the number of people in the supermarket, took much longer than I expected. I used up an entire precious bottle of oxygen and was feeling exhausted as I drove home. When we reached my home, Alex was on the front porch demanding to be let inside. Of course, when we entered the house the furball ran straight to the kitchen and demanded a (second) lunch. It was a tiring day for both Alex and I, so I retired for an early afternoon nap. Alex joined me as soon as he had eaten his fill. Tasha took these photographs before she left work:

Thanksgiving Day

Some time ago I made arrangements to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant with my friend and former colleague, Ann. Ann arrived to pick me up at my house about 11:00 a.m. and even brought me a Thanksgiving gift:

The meal was excellent and the conversation enchanting. I truly miss dining with two legged creatures. I have no photographs of the Thanksgiving meal. I had meant to take my camera with all of the other shit stuff I had to take with me—portable oxygen, meds, cane—I forgot the camera.

After Ann left, I noticed that she had given me another gift:

I offered Alex some turkey, but he just licked at its gravy and demanded instead ocean white fish and tuna.


  1. Nick, I've just been catching up on Camryn's story. I can only imagine what her family is going through. Thanks for telling us how she's going.

    And shopping is exhausting. But its so damn satisfying too.

  2. Hey, that Dickensons is good, whatever you purchase of theirs. A nice present indeed.

    We had Dim Sum, which we do Christmas also since our family and friends are all on the west coast.

    It was pretty empty and we asked why. Ever since the gambling casinos opened, that's where the asians go for their holiday meal, sad ; (

    Cheers to ya! ; )

  3. You look a little like Indian Jones in the second picture. :) That looks like a very useful vest, with all those pockets. I'm going to keep an eye out for one of those.

    Alex looks very content sleeping in your arms. Is that a mobile hanging above your bed? Does Alex consider it a cat toy?

  4. Thanks for the update on Camryn. It's nice to hear that she is healing faster than they would expect. I'm sure it doesn't feel fast to her family though.

    I'm glad that you, your wife, and son survived the "urban terrorist" attack. I can understand how that could affect your life still today.

    I enjoyed your pics and I agree with Thomas - you do have an Indiana Jones look going on there.

    If you and I lived closer to each other, I know one two-legged creature that would enjoy lunch with you and that fish-loving Alex.

  5. Phishez : Camryn seems to be healing well. Yes, it has been traumatic for the family, especially since her older sister has leukemia.

    Coffee Messiah: This was this first Dickensons product that I’ve ever eaten. The cranberry relish is excellent; it has a hint of orange in it.

    I believe that the gambling casinos have made changes in many people’s lives. When my mother still lived in Louisville, her primary out-of-the-home recreation became crossing the Ohio River into Indiana and spending time at the slot machines on the riverboat casino. The amazing thing to me is that she always came home a winner!

    Thomas: The Indiana Jones look is semi-intentional, although each item is important. I was wearing those hats before the Indiana Jones’ films.

    The rest is great. It hopes the meds, cell phone, glasses etc. I have one similar to it back when I was still able to explore wilderness trails. This one is about a year old: I found it at the Big and Tall men’s shop.

    Alex generally sleeps in many positions, depending upon how cold or needy of snuggling he is. He usually starts out on top of me and then works his way down to where that photo shows him. If he is really cold, he may crawl under the blanket and snuggle next to my body. When he is in what I suppose is a regressive mood, he suckles my thumb. Silly cat!

    That’s a dream catcher above my bed. Alex used to attack it, but hasn’t done so in years. I think he found it boring.

  6. Carol: Yes, Camryn does seem to be recovering remarkably fast and well. As I mentioned to Phishez, the family has had medical emergencies for years with their older daughter who ha leukemia. When I first learned of Camryn’s stroke I thought it was her sister.

    The terrorists were the Red Army Faction, better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang. They called themselves “urban guerrillas” and more than a little damage in West Germany in the 1970s.

    I would certainly enjoy sharing a meal with you, Carol. These days I have no one with whom to converse during meals—except Alex and my words to me a generally related to keeping the impulsive cat away from my food.

  7. Alex is an awesome cat. Heis totally in tune with you, animals are really spectacular that way.

    Hope Camryn continues to amaze people, and is on a quick road to recovery.

  8. Great news about Camryn and I'm so pleased you enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends. :)

  9. Cats are such a comfort, aren't they? That one on the box looks just like Red.
    That's a snazzy safari jacket you've got!

    Hope your Thanksgiving was delightful!

    Glad to hear good news about Camryn.


  10. That is good news about the little girl.

    I so like it when you share pictures of you and Alex.

  11. What lovely friends you have- fur and human .. will your children come at christmas .??Mine won't and I can't afford to go - Am sad already but a little child will be born to save the world and that will bloster me..sandy

  12. I do love the Indiana Jones look too! Dashing. I enjoy your pictures and takes on the life of Alex the cat. He is such a little personality.

    Your dinner for 2 sounds lovely. I am envious.

    Mumbai: The news has stuck in my throat for days and it makes me ill as well. I had no idea you suffered such a thing early on. What a traumatic and horrible thing, Nick. We have to find a way to defeat these people. We just have to.

    Peace and love,