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LATE NIGHT PHONE CALLS
15 April 2006
It's never a good thing when the telephone rings late at night.
I suppose 9 p.m. isn't that late, but when I looked at the caller I.D., I knew it couldn't be a good thing.
A couple of months ago, we heard from my good friend, Jeri's godmother, that her husband had been diagnosed with liver failure, brought on, they thought, by a bad reaction to medication he was taking.
By one of those weird quirks of fate, just the day before we had learned of another acquaintance, someone from the Lamplighters, who developed the same condition and was in a battle to overcome it. We thus knew instantly that this was something very serious.
Still it was a shock. This is the guy who exercises, who eats right, who seems to be so healthy.
It comes to all of us sooner or later...the first one of those really bad messages about lifelong friends. The telephone calls to everyone to Let Them Know. Then the sitting and waiting, because there is nothing else you can do but sit and wait and hope and, if you are into that sort of thing, to pray.
They set up a "Caring Page," for Bill. One of those on-line places where friends and family could check in for regular reports and leave supportive messages.
That was the message which was posted on Tuesday of this week. All the guestbook entries were positive, congratulating him on how well he was doing.
People with whom they go RV-ing left encouraging messages. They have traveled around the country in their RV, visiting all their grandchildren, and seeing as much of the country as they could. We met them once in Plymouth, MA. We called each other on our cell phones to try and figure out where we should meet and discovered that we were standing on opposite sides of the street from each other.
Bill is a guy like my stepfather was, someone who could build anything, fix anything, and was always helping someone. He is a guy who makes friends easily and would give you the shirt off his back, if you needed it...or he'd fix your shirt, if he could.
So when the phone rang at 9 p.m. tonight and I heard Bill's oldest son on the phone, I knew that it couldn't be good news, and it wasn't.
Bill's heart stopped twice, once for five minutes. They got it going again, but he's been in a coma ever since. The first 24 hrs are the most critical and they are going to call tomorrow and let us know how he survived the critical 24 hrs.
I watch doctor shows. I know how it goes. They get those paddles and they zap you a couple of times and miraculously the little heart thingy starts going blip-blip-blip again. For a bit of tension, you lapse into a coma and everybody bites their nails, but then you open your eyes and all is well.
Isn't that the way it always goes on television?
And if it doesn't, isn't there a Dr. House with his crack team of experts who will pull out a "save" at the last minute?
I suppose I'm just being silly. But I'm being silly because I'm worried and I don't want to believe that a friend I've known for most of my adult life is in some sort of life-threatning situation.
But all we can do is sit and wait because there's nothing else that we can do but sit and wait.
Latest update--he's off the respirator and breathing on his own,
which is a good sign, even if he's still in a coma. He's a fighter, so hold the good
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Tom, Bill, Jeri, Jeri