Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One step back, other steps forward

First, for those following Brooke's progress minute by minute, here's the not-so-good news: last night, as he was being transferred out of the ICU to an intermediate care unit, he had a full-code arrest--high drama of the sort you might see on E.R.--sobering when it's a TV fiction, terrifying when it's someone you love. But the crash team was right here, brought him back easily, and--here's the good news--this morning he is back in the ICU just as bright-eyed as he was the day before, largely without any recollection of what happened and still completely cognitively intact. Both the surgeon and the cardiology folks agree that this doesn't indicate any problem with his heart--always a fierce, strong, athletic thing--but with the challenges to homeostasis his body is currently undergoing, but that can resolve in the future. So there's a way to protect against further arrests in the future: he's just had a pacer put in that will step in if any such lapses in heartbeat occur, and it gives him--and all the rest of us--a measure of security. At the moment he is resting comfortably and in remarkably good cheer, given all that has happened.

That's the physical news. The mental news is way more interesting--yesterday he said (mouthed, but we can lip-read) that because of all this, he is beginning to understand much more who is actually is, and this morning he said--he was talking about all the concern and love he's been shown (overwhelming and wonderful, I have to say), that this has been "transformative" for him. It's remarkable what can go on in someone who, at the moment, is mostly all head.

This is my first post to the blog, but I want to tell you how much hearing about people reading the blog and seeing your responses has meant to me, to Brooke, to the rest of the family, and perhaps to all of us. Thanks more than you can know,


PS Sorry that he just can't handle visitors today, after the pacer surgery, and we want to keep things pretty quiet for the next day or two, but I know he'll appreciate visits soon.


Gerry said...

Brooke and Peggy,

I spoke with Robert Newman at the Humanities gathering at Squatters and he suggested that is was OK for me to contact you. On April 1, 1990 in Emigration Canyon I went down on my bike and was taken to the University Hospital where I stayed for several weeks. If you would ever like to meet and talk with someone who has been through a major accident and survived, I would be pleased to meet with you.
My very best wishes to you. Gerry Nichols

Tom Huckin said...

Oh Peggy, I'm so happy at the outcome of this latest drama! We knew from a previous event that Brooke was susceptible to an arrest, but like the other they caught this one in time and have put in a safeguard against future such events. That must give both of you great peace of mind!

And to hear Brooke describe this whole experience as "transformative" -- I find that as moving as it is unsurprising, coming from Brooke.

By the way, for a brand-new blogger you ain't doin' half-bad. In fact, I'd say you're already a pro at this!

Send us more, more, more!

Hugs from both of us, Tom

Ron Barness said...

Hi Peggy... Thanks for posting and was nice to hear your voice! Your post about Brooke's transformative experience was moving. Today, I finally got Snow Lion's affairs wrapped up and I have more time. I would love to come see Brooke when it works. In the meantime, let me know if you're up for a hike. XO Ron

JanVan said...

Oh, Peggy - I'm lucky to have signed on for my very first blogging experience to hear directly from you, and with the good news about serviving the ER drama and feeling transformed. Your friends in Montana are rooting for you and Brooke. You have both transformed so many other people's lives in such positive ways. Love, Jan VanRiper

Liz von Kessler said...

staOk, Brooke, You are allowed one or maybe two set-backs - but that is all - now you have to spend your energies on healing. All of your Constable cousins are following your progress intensely. We expect you show us that spirit we know you have - so - no more set-backs, please! Remember we know you from when you were a little kid, even littler than Georgie. Love from all your Constable cousins

Shelley said...

Brooke and Peggy,

I can't tell you how grateful I am for this blog. I've been mostly out of town for the last week or so, flying around to various places, but Shelley has read me the day's news of Brooke each night I call.

I think of you both so many times during each day, marveling over your collective strength and humor and wanting to see you with my own eyes. It makes me happy to know that Brooke, of all people to be sure, has so many exquisite places he can travel to in his head. His eyes have taken in remarkable sights around the world and here at home in the wilds of Utah. That's a rich life to be drawing on now--and to add to, I hope, sometime in the near future.

So Brooke remains the inspiration he has been for me throughout my career: to be as curious outside of academia as we are moved to be inside of it.

Sending you are warmest thoughts and love,
Kathryn and Shelley

Rona said...

Dear Peggy and Brooke,

We can only repeat what others have said more eloquently (but not more feelingly): We really appreciate this blog, and are extremely grateful for the chance to stay informed about Brooke's situation. Your good spirits and courage, Brooke, during your recovery are moving and inspirational, as you always are. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you soon.

Rona and Scott

Jennifer said...

Peggy and Brooke,

That the two of you are able to find things interesting and transformative in the midst of all that is going on says so much about who you are and why you have touched so many of us. I am relieved to hear that Brooke got through last night with eyes shining. I'll look forward to another visit when you're ready.

Jen Gully

Nancy Hopkins said...

Dear Peggy,

This post should carry a warning!
It is overwhelming to read.
First one's own heart stops, then there is the eureka when all is well, then the astonishment at Brooke's spirit.

You are both totally amazing.
All my love to you both.
Thinking of you all day.


Shelley said...

I am so glad that Brooke is OK. I don't know what else to say right now--that was quite a blog post! Fran├žois sends his love and good wishes. There are candles lit all over the world for you, Brooke.

Shelley and Fran├žois

Marilyn McLaughlin said...

Dear Brooke and Peggy,
Your post tonight made me think of this poem by Pablo Neruda:

Where The Slow Fig's Purple Sloth

Where the slow fig's purple sloth
Swells, I sit and meditate the
Nature of the soul, the fig exposes,
To the blaze of afternoon, one haunch
As purple-black as Africa, a single
Leaf the rest screens, but through it , light
Burns, and for the fig's bliss
The sun dies, the sun
Has died forever-far,oh far-
For the fig's bliss thus.

The air
Is motionless in that imperial and blunt
Languor of glut, swells, and inward
The fibers relax like a sigh in that
Hot darkness, go soft, the air
Is gold.

When you
Split the fig,you will see
Lifting from the coarse and purple seed, its
Flesh like flame, purer
Than blood.

It fills
the darkening room with light.

With all the love in my heart to both of you,


wrha said...

Brooke and Peggy, I'm a first-time blog commentor, took me a while to figure out how to get in. Janie and I have been thinking of you every minute and send you all our love. Brooke, I'm in awe of how you are doing this. It is what I would have imagined and expected of you, but I'm still in awe. You have always been one of my greatest personal resources and that continues on a new scale. Thanks so much for my birthday present - I've begun reading the poems. I'm looking forward to our next hike together, whatever form it takes. I don't need to tell you to stay strong. I love you, will see you soon.


Caroline said...

Dear Brooke and Peggy,
I was so sorry to hear the news of Brooke's accident and I am holding you both in the light, as we Quakers would say.
Most sincerely,
Caroline Kueneman

Chriss Meecham said...

Dear Peggy,
I just returned from an extended stay in the DC area. My little grandson is being treated for a brain tumor. He's had quite the ride since his birth four years ago, but I can tell you, his sweet spirit and the pure kindness of others have 'transformed' our whole family. I know that this terrible accident, that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, will be transformative for you as well -- just because of the people you are and the love that surrounds you. Know that my thoughts are with you.
Chriss Meecham

Steve said...

Dear Brooke and Peggy (11/26 12:15 pm EST),

I hope you are feeling better today and the new pacemaker is doing its job. I just spoke to Mike at your house, so I am filled in on the latest.

Love, Steve Adams

Marilyn McLaughlin said...

Opps........author correction...Its from Island of Summer by Robert Penn Warren. Just a part of a longer,beautiful poem...the more I read it, the more it makes me think of you.
Big Hugs and Love

Karen McCreary said...

Brooke and Peggy,

I'm so grateful for this blog so I can keep up
and feel closer. We at the ACLU are sending you
our very best wishes for strength and healing.


Karen McCreary

Dulany said...

Dear Brooke & Peggy,
Sending love and prayers from New Jersey and Vermont to both of you and to Lisa. We are following progress and praying daily for Brooke's strengthening and recovery.

With love,
Dulany, David & Victoria Gibson
Lydia (Gibson), Taylor & Lucia Carr

Anonymous said...

Dear Peggy and Brooke,
This is just a message of peace and love for you both on Thanksgiving. Tatiana and I know how much you mean to each other and want you to know that our thoughts are with you constantly. Thanks for all you have done for us and for the courage you continue to show us. Warmly, Wayne & Tatiana