This is one of those posts that I have been working on in my head, on and off, for the last three days, but have not managed to get typed up until now. I’m in a hotel outside of Boston with the boys. We had planned to spend the weekend playing in the hotel pool, visiting a favorite used book store, hanging around in the hotel room playing games (them) and making great progress on a crochet shawl (me) while Neil did his usual thing at Readercon.
Only Neil didn’t do his usual thing at Readercon this year. Instead, he had a serious heart attack the first night we were there. They call this particular type of attack “the widowmaker” because, well, I am sure you can guess why. These days, modern medicine being what it is, many fewer widows are being made, and I am grateful for that. An angioplasty and two stents later, Neil is still with us and feeling more and more his old self with each passing day.
Yesterday he left the Cardiac Care Unit for a regular hospital room, where they will monitor his vitals every four hours instead of on a constant basis, as they had been since the wee hours of Friday morning. They plan to keep him until Wednesday, and we will be allowed to travel back home on Thursday. In the meantime, the boys and I are “roughing it” in the fancy hotel down the street. This hotel is crazy expensive. (Thank goodness for their special hospital stay rate, or we’d probably be sleeping in the van.)
Our Readercon friends have been so supportive, between setting up, manning, and tearing down Neil’s Clarkesworld booth, offering to keep an eye on the kids while I spend an hour or two with Neil, filling up two posters with get-well wishes, visiting Neil in the hospital… if something terrible like this has to happen while away from home, it couldn’t happen in a better environment, really. I’m grateful for everything good that’s come our way this weekend.
Apart from that, we’ve had so much moral support from afar, via Facebook and Twitter, and many offers of help from our neighbors back home. It’s really quite overwhelming, to be honest. I have a hard time knowing how to say thank you without becoming a total sloppy, teary disaster.
The bad news is that there is enough damage to his heart that he will require frequent monitoring over the next six months, and strict diet, exercise, and medication regimines. The good news is that the worst should be behind us. His youthfulness (at almost 46 years old) is in his favor, and he should be able to heal. That’s very good news, in my book.
Some scenes from our weekend:
The first full day. He slept a lot.
We came back to our hotel room to find the boys’ pokemon plushies all tucked in. Two days in a row.
Saturday, Neil felt better enough to be silly with the kids.
Saturday night we distracted ourselves in the hotel with our friends’ toddlers, while they went off to visit Neil. For future reference, an endless stash of pokemon plushies comes in very handy when babysitting little girls who like to hug things.
Neil has been insisting that we continue to vacation without him. While I mostly think he’s crazy, I do believe that there is some merit to keeping the boys distracted now and then. So we went to the hotel pool, and I asked Aidan to snap a picture to prove that we’d been there.
And then he turned the camera on himself. Note to self: don’t let the 12-year-old borrow the DSLR anymore.
We’ve completely lost our apetites for eating out (Neil’s heart attack started within an hour of downing a burger and fries at the hotel pub). So we hit the supermarket and are having most of our meals picnic-style on the hotel floor. With carrots.
Last night we visited Neil in his new private room, and the boys were fascinated with his three days’-worth of stubble.
Neil has asked me to bring him a razor today 🙂
Readercon is over, and everyone but us has left. Neil’s father is flying up in the next few days, and then we all should be coming home on Thursday. I’m looking forward to that.
I don’t know if I’ll have time to update again, or even reply to comments, before we return home, but if you’d like to keep an eye on what’s going on, I’ve been pretty regular about posting instagram photos on Twitter. You can follow me there. Or follow Neil there, too. He’s been tweeting now and then. Apparently the hospital is boring. (I say, GOOD! A boring hospital stay is the best kind of hospital stay. No more excitement, please!)
P.S. To any bad guys who happen to read my feed: please don’t rob me, now that you know my house is empty. Thank you.