An April Fool and a Gray May

Howdy, y’all. I’m really relieved that April is OVER. It was rough for everyone…for me, for Patrick, for Bam, for Mom and Dad. On a larger scale, it was awful for the world at large too. Scientists wept over the Great Barrier Reef, of which 50% died off this winter (did anybody else even notice this horrific news?!?). The Zika virus emerged as a devastating biological threat. Music legends died with alarming frequency (David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince) . In the grander scheme of things, I am glad we survived. However, it was exceptionally stressful. 

Patrick had a bout of pneumonia up in Nashville. I’m still pondering whether to post my fevered recollections of that week. Mostly I just want to forget it even happened. So, you may or may not get a more in depth account of it all. I will pause to thank everyone at the Loews Vanderbilt hotel and St. Thomas Midtown Hospital. We could not have managed without you. 

Not only did Patrick end up in the hospital, but Bam also had to go in for pacemaker surgery. If Bam were a prize fighter, she’d be heavy-weight champion of the world. On a daily basis, she endures chronic nerve pain down her back and neuropathy in her leg, congestive heart failure, lymphadema, low blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, shortness of breath, and continues to be mindful of lung cancer after undergoing radiation treatment last fall. She doesn’t quit. Her pulmonologist told my mom that Bam has a better outlook on life, and a more positive, resilient spirit, than patients half her age, with half her ailments. She’s back home now and healing quite well. Her mental fortitude isn’t just impressive, it’s phenomenal. 

By late April, we were all frazzled like chickens in a wind tunnel (I wish I had a clever animation of this). A long weekend of rejuvenating events have brought me back from the edge. Coco took me to the Santigold concert at the Tabernacle. My feet were cursing me for wearing new platform sandals. Fashion be damned, I can’t do this anymore! We stayed long enough to hear Santi sing “Creator”. Love her voice! The next evening, after waiting nearly four hours for a tow truck to pick up my power steering-disabled car, I managed to get cleaned up and run over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the Yacht Rock Prince Purple Rain tribute night. Saturday night found me back at the Clermont, enjoying an all-Prince tribute. Kirsten Dunst even showed up. She’s prettier in person, delightfully personable and down to Earth (I didn’t actually talk to her since I figured she wanted to chill and just be a normal human for a night). 

Update: May days haven’t been any easier. Papa had a massive heart attack on Cinco de Mayo. He thought it was just severe indigestion until the pain started radiating down his arm. It’s an absolute miracle, a blessing, a Halleluhah moment, that he is alive. He barely slept after he was admitted. None of us have really rested peacefully since early April. First Patrick, then Bam, now Papa. We are rallying around both Bam and Papa. All of the cousins stayed with Bam on and off during the day, and she has a nightly dedicated caregiver. Mom, her cousin, her brothers, their wives, and Dad have been taking turns with Papa in the hospital. A wonderful family friend even flew to Atlanta from DC to stay with him and help Mom. Additional update: Papa has now entered a rehab center! He’s on the mend and we hope to get home home in the coming months, maybe weeks. 

So often, when catastrophes strike someone I love, I get a feeling about the outcome. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a premonition. Rather, I either have a peace about it or I’m devastatingly worried. Two years ago, when my mom was hospitalized, I just knew that it would be okay. I had a deep-seated feeling that if she made it through emergency surgery, she’d recover. More recently, I was so worried about Patrick battling pneumonia, especially before we knew what it was. He has only been that sick once before, when he was five. I prayed a lot, for the doctors to figure it out, for them to heal him. I’m still praying a lot over his recovery. When Bam went in for her pacemaker, I felt certain that she would be alright. She has an iron will to live. For Papa, I have been terrified. This was, as like everything else, solely in God’s hands, only this time, I didn’t even get a slight whim about how it might turn out. I’m feeling better, after being with him, and seeing how incredibly strong his will is too. It’s not the same confidence I sometimes experience, but looking back on this month and a half, I can’t help but feel that all of our prayers have been answered. And our lives have been blessed. That is overwhelmingly apparent. 

Anyway, lots of earth-shaking events lately. That’s why I have been incognito, hermit-esque and blog silent these past few weeks. As a family, we came together and have navigated this difficult time as best we could. And my friends have been so kind and supportive. I love you all and appreciate all the love, prayers and encouragement! 

(How I looked after things settled down a bit…)

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