Posted on 34 Comments

Change of plans

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.


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Posted on 34 Comments

34 thoughts on “Change of plans

  1. Thoughts and prayers with you from the blogesphere!

  2. Neil, I’m so glad you made it through that. Lisa and the boys, I send you hugs, hugs, and more hugs. And even more hugs. That’s not how you’re supposed to spend your time at a con :P.
    Seriously, you’re all in my prayers and I’m grateful this all happened in a place where you had friends and support.

    Mary Kaye

  3. Oh my, not the way to spend a weekend! I’ll keep praying for him, and for you-it’s work keeping the home (or hotel) fires burning with a sick husband. My hubby started having angina attacks while we were on a trip. He just thought he could wait a few weeks until his scheduled checkup to have it looked at. Not as long as he was married to me, he wasn’t going to do that! We did make it home, and long story short, as soon as he called his doctor he was whisked in for a stent. Thankfully only one-his family has a heavy history of heart disease. That was five years ago, and he is healthy as a horse now-he’ll be 70 in December and doesn’t look it.

    BTW-his dad was 36 when he had his first heart attack but in the 50’s they didn’t even have bypass surgery. We are so fortunate to live in these days.

    Get some rest.

  4. Oh Lisa, I am so incredibly sorry to read this post. I haven’t been checking twitter through the week, I had no idea. I hope that Neil is doing much better and that your return home is uneventful. Thoughts and get well wishes coming to your family from mine.

  5. Oh, I so sorry about your “change of plans” but I’m glad he is doing better and that the outlook is good!

  6. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so happy to hear that Neil is doing well. As I read your post, my heart leapt into my throat. What wonderful support you have had from everyone.

  7. Oh God! Lisa I’m very sad to hear about this. Thank God he’s doing better now. It must be difficult for you; being strong in front of the kids and keep going. You are a beautiful family! You are in my prayers.

  8. Oh Lisa I’m sending virtual hugs your way.. What a scary unexpected thing to have to go thru.. It sounds like you are putting on a very strong front and keeping those boys busy and upbeat. I hope you are able to “relax” a little bit too.I’m glad that Neil is doing better and out of the woods. These life lessons suck but do put things in perspective. My dad had a major heart attack 14yrs ago while out of town three hours away and apparently died twice on the table so I can relate a little to your stress but he changed his diet a little since it is hereditary on his side and walks (although not as much as we would like 🙂 and is doing great.He’s going to be 72 next month.stay strong and I hope you have a smooth uneventful trip home:)

  9. Holy cow Lisa! You have the absolute best tool in the world to get through this – a sense of humor! We are sending very good vibes to you and your family. Take care of each other and take care of yourself! Byrd

  10. Healing hugs to you and tons of healing energies to Neil. All I can say is wow…just wow. I am so glad the “widowmaker” did NOT live up to his name.

    1. You and me both!

  11. I hope he gets well soon! That is such a scary incident. You guys seem to making the best of a frightening situation, though. Great thoughts for all of you.:)

  12. Thank God he made it through. No more burgers and fries, eh?

  13. Oh my goodness, how scary!! Sending hugs to you and praying for a quick, complete and non-eventful recovery for Neil!

  14. Wow! So very scary. I’m so glad that he is now over the worst of it and that you have had such great support while away from home. I pray that his heart continues to heal and his life gets back to normal very soon.

  15. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope Neil continues to recuperate and that there will be no repeats of this scary, scary episode.

  16. My dear! I’m so sorry to hear this, and yet so amazingly impressed with you and your family for handling it with such aplomb. You are such an amazing woman to keep the kids and the man balanced and sane. I love that you can be yourselves, even in the hospital, and are just moving forward with your new lifestyle, taking it in stride. That, my dear, is success!

  17. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May you all get home soon.

  18. I was shocked and sorry to read your news. Sending prayers and best wishes for health and strength to you all. [hugs]

  19. Lisa, so sorry to hear this, and so glad that they were able to save him. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help. Sherm

  20. I’m so sorry to hear of Neal’s heart attack however so relieved to hear that he is feeling better. You take good care of yourself and your kiddos. You can call your local police station, let them know what is going on and ask that they drive by once in awhile.

  21. Lisa, if it’s any consolation, Neil picked a good town to have a heart attack in. And the diet and monitoring just might prolong his life. If someone doesn’t show symptoms, they usually find the problem by accident (cardiac event) and not everyone survives. I am so glad you are not a widow. I know women who became widows at an early age this way. Also, be thankful Neil agreed to go to the hospital. You might think this was a no brainer but you would be surprised the way these things can play out.

    My thoughts are with you all. Neil has at least three great reasons to get better. -Martha

  22. Neil looks great, and so do you, despite everything. You are right, it is a good sign when he finds the hospital boring! You and your family are in my thoughts. I know you all will be happy to get home, hopefully soon, Sarah (Fisher) Sorlien

  23. Lisa! Sarah just forwarded this to me. That’s probably a little more excitement that you were planning for in Boston! I’m glad to hear that Neil is doing better. Hopefully, he’ll have a speedy recovery and you’ll all be home safe & sound & soon. Thinking of you….


  24. Sorry to hear this! At least he recognized it! My brother just had a massive coronary in Colorado(I’m in Indiana) and he didn’t seek trmt for 3 days because there was stuff going on in the family & they thought it was exhaustion. Sounds much more promising than my brother! Hugs & prayers.

  25. How scary for you all. Glad Neil is recovering well and that you had so much help and support even away from home.

  26. Oh my mama! I am so sorry to hear/read about this and so very glad that Neil is on the ups. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. Lot’s of love from MN coming your way.

  27. Wow, prayers and good thoughts your way. Best wishes to your family and for your husband’s health.

  28. […] hoping for the kidney stone to pass on its own. Any kind of surgery would be risky this soon after a heart attack, and so the preference is to avoid that for as long as is humanly possible. It’s a large […]

  29. oh my gosh, Lisa. I am so glad to hear Neil is okay. xoxoxo

  30. […] through a week’s worth of mail when we returned from our extended stay in Burlington was such fun for me – it was like Christmas morning! One of the goodies “under the […]

  31. […] had his heart attack a year ago today. That’s not really an easy anniversary for any of us, least of all him. This morning, […]

  32. […] were no medical emergencies this year, thank […]

  33. […] for them that was a bit more heart healthy than a scone.  Since Neil’s heart attack nearly ten years ago, I’ve adapted many of my recipes to be less fatty or less salty, or both, but when it comes […]

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