Month: January 2016

01.30.16 ward

In case you were curious, this is what a bed in an organ transplant ward looks like. From the perspective of a postoperative patient not allowed to sit up (or move at all) for 6 hours. Who? Me.

I invite you to use your imagination to fill in the details about the routines, the smells, the people dying in the beds on either side.

The nurses, orderlies, patients, family members, and even (most of) the doctors were amongst the kindest people I have ever met in my life. The quality of the care I received was extraordinary.

The suffering is beyond description, and the compassion on display is beyond imagining.

This experience has been illuminating, humbling, a correction. All of my concerns and interests seem trivial, compared to what is happening every day on the transplant ward. I wish my fellow travelers on the ward a safe journey.

I really do not want to come back here.

01.29.16 biopsy

Live update from my biopsy. They won’t let me keep the core sample! But they did let me take pictures.

01.23.16 catapult

Nice words from Yuka Igarashi at Catapult about my essays.

You can read them here:

Modern Love

Space Oddity

Ashes to Ashes

01.22.16 columbia

Detail of Videbimus Lumen by Eugene Savage, 1934.

Butler Library, Columbia University.

01.17.16 mail

01.14.16 ashes

Mary with her father, Bee, and Christopher, 1971.

Years have passed but I think about Mary every day. I hear her voice and I’m still arguing with her, in my mind and in my actions. Everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, every critical choice I have made in life has been a repudiation of her choices. But without her, what am I? The depth of her addiction is reflected in the severity of my decisions, and how far I moved away from our home. 

Read more at Catapult: 

Ashes to Ashes

01.10.16 honor

We’ve been married twenty years!

The party featured hundreds of people from every aspect of our lives, dancing until dawn. We were surprised and amazed at the turnout, and the outpouring of good wishes.

It is an honor and a privilege to know you all.

01.09.16 guestbook

Some of the notes from the guest book.

01.09.16 medal

Medal celebrating twenty years of union (from Leslie Riibe).

01.09.16 gossip

Leslie sent this memory from the archives – a letter from Karen about the elopement.