Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cadillac Ride to the mountains

This is Lisa, Brooke's sister, for those I've not yet met. Blogging is a whole new experience for me, but like so many other things I might have closed my mind to just a few short weeks ago, I am jumping in with abandon. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support by Brooke's friends and by family members since this terrible event and it has been a great source of strength for all of us.
Brooke had a very good day after feeling low for the past few. We can only just imagine all the thoughts going through his mind. He's needed some encouragement, though, and after a good night's sleep (finally), he woke up asking if he might be able to be wheeled out to see the world outside. He was placed in a cardiac chair, otherwise known as The Cadillac, and carted out to a part of the hospital with great picture windows on either side, surrounded by his team of nurses pulling ventilators and heart monitors. His eyes, always so expressive, were serene as he drank in the beauty of the mountains he loves so well. This kind of story, which 2 weeks ago would have seemed so abstract to me.... someone else's small victory in the face of tragedy.... someone else's story.... has taken on a very new and wonderful meaning.
We hope that soon he will be moved to the intermediate care unit and, from there, to the Rehabilitation Center here. In the meantime, keep praying, sending cosmic energy, rubbing your magic talismen, whatever you do, for Brookie.


harriett said...

Ray and I were thrilled to here you could get out of the SICU to see your mountains. We are in Portland in the rain and fog, but we have 2 beautiful grandsons born on the 26th to Katy and Shelley. Ray is headed home tomorrow and will be in to see you next week. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day. We thought of you when we prowled around Powell's book store - what a readers paradise. Love to you and Peggy, from Harriett and Ray

daisy said...

Brookie... What a treat for you to get out of the room without a view. That view is breathtaking as my annual trek to Utah has made me a great lover of your mountain ranges out there. Many friends and family appreciate this blog. Staying in close touch with Lisa and Mark. Wish we could be closer so we might visit. We love you and all and hope that you can make another Cadillac ride tomorrow. Much Love Daisy and Gavin

John said...


I just happened to look you up and was distressed to hear of your accident. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Earlier today someone asked me why I had made certain choices in my life. I told him that a key factor was a remarkable teacher I had in college some 30 years ago, Brooke Hopkins. It does not surprise me that Peggy had to start a blog to contain a tidal wave of well-wishers. Behind that wave is another, and another - a whole teaming ocean full!

I cannot begin to estimate the number of lives you have enriched. A whole generation of your students have themselves become teachers and now pass the torch you lit.

None of us really understand the effect we have on those around us. After all these years your light still shines for me, and I cannot think of you and Peggy without smiling. I just wanted to say thanks.

Yet another grateful student,

John Cartan

Kathy said...

Brooke, I'm with John Cartan--what he said can't be said better. You have all my good thoughts and best wishes. Gratefully, Kathy Fagan

Stacey Katz said...

Dear Peggy, Lisa and Sara,
Your posts have been incredible. Thank you so much for keeping us all in the loop. Brooke: I'm sending you lots and lots of positive energy from Boston (am on sabbatical this semester, and, unlike you, the city lights are my mountains). Take good care, and hang in there. Once that swelling goes down, hopefully you will start making a lot of progress.
Best wishes,

Steve Adams said...

Dear Brooke (Sunday, 11/30, 5:10 pm EST),

I just got home from visiting my brother, Dick, in Vermont and he asked me to tell you how sorry he was to hear about your accident.

I saw Mom last week and she also said how sorry she was and to send you her best wishes. At 95 she remembers you well, in particular her visit to Park City about 5 years ago when she saw you. I am heartened to hear yesterday's report that your spirits are picking up a bit.

Hope they can move you out of IC soon.

All The Best, Steve

Dr. Lou's Blog said...

Amazing moment for all. Today I was lucky enough to accompany Brooke, his sister Lisa, friend Ron, three ICU staff, the ventilator and some other technical monitors on a trip in the Pink Cadillac outside the hospital into the sun.

Brooke was wheeled into the parking lot at the hospital glowing in the sun for about fifteen minutes. The storm had cleared and the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island were visible.

I had brought along a C harp and proceeded to play Amazing Grace followed by some gospel tunes. Brooke loved it and I promised to be a regular during his recovery.

Music can say a lot when words fail.

Peter and Judith von Sivers said...

Dearest Brooke -- this Blog-arrangement is such a blessing! It's the first thing I read in the morning (Peter always asks me "have you cranked up your machine yet?" He's so precious that he lets me get the news first!)& the last thing we read at night. Thank you, thank you, THANK you SO MUCH Peggy, Sara & Lisa!! It's so difficult not knowing from minute to minute how Brooke is feeling, & much worse not to be able to DO anything substantial to HELP all of you! This Blog fills a bit of that huge, frustrating gap.

Your Cadillac ride to the mountains sounded like an ideal change from bed, Brooke,(even though it's now LONG enough for you, PLUS being RED! -- 2 weeks of bed is about 13 days too many for someone as extraordinary in every way as you). I wish we could fill pages & chapters of this BLOG with all the prodigiously wonderful qualities & virtues we think you possess, dearest friend, but perhaps you feel our thoughts wafting out from Big Red, up the hills, past the Univ. & into the ICU (which you're leaving today Lisa told me!!! Quelle joie!) And with Peggy's permission we will be coming to visit you tomorrow or Tues. in the "Intermediate Care Unit" on the 5th floor. You ARE making progress!

This is much too long. Sorry. I wasn't sure how often we should write, given the throngs of other friends who are also writing, but I could read only so much about all the distressing (the most neutral word I can think of), plaguy (better, without being TOO graphic) things your doctors & your body were doing to you not to finally write again & share just a tiny portion of the love & concern we feel for you -- you are constantly in our minds, as I'm sure you know, & "tiny" tends to expand uncontrollably once I start writing. Thus, I'll cease -- except for one more thing!

Lisa, you were so kind to talk to me at such length this morning when I know how exhausted you must be. You were very calm & tender & reassuring to someone you had never even MET before! thank you -- it gave me great solace which I immediately passed on to Peter. Hope you & your family have a safe, unremarkable trip home.

& now I SHALL cease & promise never EVER to go on like this again (on the Blog, at least).

With so much love from both of us to you, Brooke, & to courageous Peggy, & to all your wonderful family members. Hope to see you soon, even if for just 3 1/2 minutes. xxxooo

Peter & Judith

Lauren B. Davis said...

Hello all,

In case Lisa Wheeler isn't reading this first -- this is Lauren and Ron Davis (friends of Lisa and Mark's) from Princeton. We are following Brooke's progress and send good thoughts your way. This morning at Trinity Church Brooke's name was on the prayer list, as well. I can't imagine the anguish and worry you're all going through.

I just got off the phone with Barbara Johnson (Christopher Reeve's mum) and she said she'd be more than happy to talk with any of you if you think she might be of help. I can't think of anyone who has more experience in a similar situation. Please get in touch if you'd like me to put you in touch -- anytime, whenever -- and I'll pass along her phone number.

Love to you all. Lauren (and Ron)

gdick said...

Tell Brooke that I'll visit tomorrow and read some more of that China diary. Couldn't be there today.
It's always great to see you. I loved to see you smile yesterday when you took that first trip out of ICU room 9


Anonymous said...

Brooke-Ginger and I have been thinking about you and Peggy everyday. I am thrilled to have the updates. It's funny to think that it will be 17 years ago tomorrow that I spent my 21st birthday in Salt Lake on the tail end of what would prove to be many amazing Hopkins family reunions. I am grateful for the time Pi and I got to spend with you guys two summers ago. He's well and full of life. You would be proud to know that he just had his first violin recital and having gotten to go first I hope it to be the first of many 'first chair' experiences in his life. You are a great inspiration to the three of us and we love you very much. -Grant

ffisher612 said...

Brooke and Peggy--What a monstrous thing to happen to a man of such endless vitality. Rosemary and were horrified to learn the news--indirectly from Leslie to Clif to Terrie to Rosemary to me--and I'm sorry to have taken till now to learn how to send a message to a blog. I've never done it before and my first two messages got bounced back. I hope this one gets to you. Our heads are spinning; right after learning about you we learned Rosemary's aunt had been rushed to the hospital and was close to death for several days, and Monday my oldest friend committed suicide after a long enfeebling auto-immune illness that a dozen doctors had diagnosed a dozen different ways; the funeral was yesterday and I was one of the speakers. With the three catastrophes I'm emotionally drained. For God's sake, Brooke, PLEASE get better. You and Francois and Jeff were the only colleagues who mattered to me when I was still in the department, and are the only ones now that I'm not. You were also the only chairman who made me feel I was still part of the place all those years ago when my disenchantment was total. And I treasured our exchanges of manuscripts and looked forward to doing more now that we were both retired. You've been in our thoughts constantly since the accident. Love to you both from Franklin and Rosemary.

Shelley said...

Peggy and Brooke,

We're so glad that Brooke was able to get out and see his mountains. The fact that the nurses and doctors LET him do this is a good sign, yes? You are always in our thoughts--we've been afraid to visit because we didn't want to tire you. And while I'm not a big pray-er I have been praying for Brooke, for both of you. I feel like Franklin--you MUST get better. Take all the time you want, but get better. Sorry about the down days. How could you not feel down sometimes?

We wish you more Cadillac rides, and the best of everything.

Shelley and Fran├žois.

sustainableElaine said...

Hi Brooke and Peggy,
We are waiting at the Amsterdam airport waiting to fly home. We miss the mountains too and can't wait to see them when we return. May the beauty of the mountains help you heal. Much love, Elaine and Phil Emmi

Ryan S said...

Brooke and Peggy,
I just learned about the accident. I am so sorry to hear about this, but I am grateful that things seem to be improving. Our thoughts are prayers are with you both.
Ryan and Katie Spellecy

Liz von Kessler said...

As a nurse, I have alwayss said the greatest healing comes from sitting in a window taking in the sun and scenery - it is totally re-grouding. - Hospitals can be like Star Trek and totally impersonal and stressful. Glad you got the chance. Take it every chance you get. We were not blogworthy for a few days - it blogged us off when we were trying to say Happy Thanksgiving - so the Constable clan just blew some good thoughts over from NYC and missed Lisa, Mark and Izzy - but were glad the Hopkins cousins were together. Love to you all from all Constables

Dave I said...

Last week I came by to see Brooke, having failed to check the blog first. When I was turned away, it scared the hell out of me, but I returned to the blog and saw the notice re Brooke needing a few days rest. I was so relieved! Now the Cadillac tour--great news.

Peggy--if you are putting together any "teams" to help out as Brooke rehabs, please count me in.

Dave Iannucci

Patricia said...

Lou and Brooke look great. It makes me very happy to see Brooke outside. Brooke, just seeing a picture of you makes me feel good. I have experienced the healing powers of Lou's Amazing Grace, so keep on playing that mouth harp.

love to all of you,

Anonymous said...

Dear Brooke and Peggy,
If you're getting readers signed up, add my name to the list. Also, I've got my barber-on-the-go kit ready if you're getting shaggy and would like a trim.

Marilyn McLaughlin said...

Hi Brooke ,
I couldn't stop staring at the picture of you, feeling you feeling the sun on your face, the fresh air against your skin... taking it all in- delicate, still and powerful. I wanted to just break through the photograph to get closer. I do wish I could come visit, but it will have to wait a bit. My dad had a cardiac arrest on Sunday,the prognosis is not good, so I am off to New York. I am constantly amazed at the fragility of this life and so inspired by your ability to dig down deep and continue to search for meaning. Sending more and more love to you again....