Ann’s Update: 3 Jan 2011

Dear Friends,

Finally, we have the really great news we’ve been waiting for!  Sasha’s left foot has been encased in a wound vac. for five days, and yesterday, on the fifth day, the vascular surgeon, a terrific man named Dr. Parrett, took the vacuum off and examined the graft site.  He said it had taken, hooray and Amen.  Until now, we had not been able to dismiss completely the possibility of amputation, but this tells us that (at least, for the foreseeable future), the foot will remain with the rest of Sasha’s bod.  And, thank heaven, Sasha can come home on Wednesday!

This particular hospital experience has not been without problems.  We never did get a private room, due to the patient overload, but for the most part, the other room-mates have been nice people, so that isn’t a complaint. The nurses are mostly very nice and pleasant and helpful, with a few inevitable exceptions, who made things a bit difficult for our caregivers, probably not realizing that we have a really good relationship with our three caregivers and that they tell us everything that goes on when we aren’t there.  Including what certain nurses say about a lot of things in our absence that they did not — and would not — say when we’re there.  A lot of funny stuff, nit-picky stuff, goes on in hospitals as it does everywhere else, but small things get magnified in the minds of patients and their families, because we’re all helpless without good nurses, and there’s a lot of anxiety running around inside us when someone we love is sick and we can’t make them well by ourselves.

All of this rescuing of Sasha’s foot would not have happened without our new primary care physician (also known as the “family doctor”), who knew the right surgeons to send us to, and spends more time with us every time he visits than any other doctor I’ve ever known.  Not fifteen minutes, but usually a full hour!  He was introduced to us by a dear friend, an addiction and pain specialist named Howard (I’ll write his full name when he gives me permission), when our long-time family doctor left to open a clinic in New Orleans.  This new doctor, Paul Abramson, is a member of The Tribe, and living proof that the universe is occasionally kind and compassionate, despite what might be described as overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  The only negative (which we are going to accept willingly) is that his office is in San Francisco, a near-hour’s drive from our home. Dr. Paul has empathy, intelligence, humor, and loves challenges.  And Sasha’s foot has been quite a challenge, witness the fact that the doctors in the Wound Care Center, where we took Sasha for many months, simply did not see the point of trying to avoid amputation, and thought we were wasting time and money in trying to keep his body intact. A certain lack of imagination, one might say.  They are good doctors, but imaginative they are not.  So I’m saying here, in front of God and all the Little Gods, that we are immensely grateful to Dr. Howard, who led us to Dr. Paul, who led us to Dr. Parrett, who led us to a successful skin graft.

Now, we are going to have to raise enough money to pay for round-the-clock caregivers for Sasha, for what may be years, since that magnificent mind has lost its ability to remember anything that didn’t happen many years ago.  Arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, is the cause, and the only bright spot in this rather sad picture is that Sasha’s true personality — optimistic, pun-loving, people-loving and chemistry-loving — is intact and shining brightly (unless he’s in pain, and we hope that will be an infrequent problem from here on), and when he moves back to the lab, with Paul, our chemist friend and Sasha’s co-author on the Shulgin Index, he’ll be happy again, because he still remembers most of his chemistry, and we hope that will continue for a long, long time.

And the Shulgin Index is off to the printer, thanks mainly to Wendy, my wonderful daughter, who said (something like), “No more!  No more!  It’s finished.  We are sending it out into the big, wide world NOW!”  At which point all the exhausted co-authors (Paul Daley and Tania Manning) cried out in unison (sort of): “Free At Last!  Free At Last!  Thank Wendy Awlmighty, Free At Last!”

Love and Blessings —   Ann

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