The material below the line was “new” during the 2016-17 holiday season. At that time, I was on track for having this site ready for Don Everly’s eightieth birthday. Several events intervened to set me back, including a more-than-major illness (see next paragraph). “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true in an odd and very wonderful way.
On January 11, 2017, I looked up at a paramedic who asked me, “Why are you naked?” I explained that I had been going to take a shower many hours earlier, but for some reason had sat down on a chair, then slid to the floor and passed out. I had awakened, found my phone within reach, and called 911. I also explained that my insulin pump had been empty for about five hours, that I had a ferocious headache, and that I couldn’t stand up. He said he would get me up, and I said he could not do that because I was too heavy. He asked if I could hold my arms out straight, and I did so to show him I could. He grasped my hands and pulled me off the floor.
He appeared to be Superman. I said, “Don’t let me die.” He said, “I am not going to let you die.” I passed out again.
I have only a few fragmented memories of the next three days in the Intensive Care Unit, where I was apparently a dreadful patient, pulling out two PICT lines. However, I remember perfectly the remainder of the two-week hospitalization.
Somehow, through the care of a phenomenal medical team, I survived bacterial meningitis. The neurologist on call was a long-time friend of mine. He had seen two people die of the same condition in the previous two months. Both succumbed within twenty-four hours. Both were far younger than this old girl, a couple months shy of her seventieth birthday.
A couple nights after I left Intensive Care for a “regular” room, I weathered more than a dozen seizures in a four-hour period. I felt panicked at the first one, which started with my left foot shaking out of control and worked its way upward until the entire left side of my body convulsed. Medical personnel rushed in and surrounded my bed and looked dumbfounded. I kept asking them questions about what was happening. Was I having a stroke? No, I was told. A heart attack? Can’t be, a man said, pointing up at the monitor over my head. Your heart is fine. He seemed to be in charge, so I asked him what he did, and he gave me his title, and I asked him more questions. Was I having a seizure? You couldn’t be talking to me if you were seizing, he insisted. I acknowledged that I had been with other people during their seizures and could not see any sign that they understood what I said.
NOTE: The next day, specialists concurred that there is a rare type of seizure in which the victim can converse. I carried on conversations through ALL my seizures. I think the specialists were disappointed that they missed the show.
Death, blindness, deafness—all are common outcomes for what I went through. Now, six weeks after making the 911 call, I am sitting here typing this. Some of my teeth have broken, apparently owing to combining their age with the intensive antibiotics coming through the IV tubes for two weeks. I have lost some of the upper range of my hearing due to nerve damage. I am heavily medicated against seizures. Yet my brain scan is normal.
Being alive is a wonderful thing. I plan to use every precious minute I have left for good and happy things.
It will take at least another two to three weeks, I am told, to begin to feel my previous level of energy. When that comes, one of my activities will be to pick up on this site where I left off.
Both new items are chapters of The Saga of St. Phil and Devil Don. Locate them by clicking the arrowhead opposite Fiction in the main menu or by clicking on their chapter titles below.
NYC green room surprise. Margaret shows up in a green room of a New York City television studio just as Devil Don and St. Phil are facing stressful rehearsals for their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance. The Handmaidens attempt to track the elusive Margaret’s activities while keeping in touch with Devil Don as best they can. As one of them observes, “Someone should invent a telephone you can carry with you.”
Home from the hospital. A weary Margaret brings newborn St. Phil home to an efficiency apartment in Chicago. We see St. Phil on his first flight, garbed in a striped nightie, booties with the outlines of sandals knitted in, and his halo, which Margaret at first mistakes for an oversized teething ring. Meanwhile, Devil Don struggles to preserve the tools of his artistic expression (in this case, his Crayolas) from both St. Phil’s grasp and Margaret’s predatory theory of “sharing.”
Other stuff. I am doing a great deal of editing, shuffling, and re-titling of the existing nonfiction material. My target date for these revisions is January 8. None of the nonfiction articles are “new,” even though they may have been re-titled or altered to a degree.