Rather than answer questions via email or text (thanks everyone for asking. Jamie and I very much appreciate it), I thought I'd try a one-to-many approach to the communication loop.
Wednesday I was in Atlanta and got a message from Jamie that her mother was in the hospital. I'd just finished presenting, and so as soon as the next presenter was done, I was up and moving, made my apologies and split.*
Judy is Jamie's mother. About five years ago she had an issue with bleeding around her brain. It came and went, and she hasn't had any issues in the interim.
Apparently sometime Tuesday evening Judy developed a serious headache, bad enough that my father-in-law, Dick, took her to the ER in San Marcos. The San Marcos ER transferred Judy to St. David's hospital here in Austin (about 30-odd minutes away if you're not a local). She began losing the ability to speak, but her motor abilities all seemed largely unimpared.
The scans indicate that Judy had a patch of blood that had formed around the speech center of her brain. It was also clearly making Judy terribly uncomfortable. Fortunately, St. David's has some top-notch facilities, doctors and staff. She was extremely well cared for Wednesday and Wednesday night, and in the morning on Thursday, she received one more scan that suggested it was time to operate.
This afternoon Judy had surgery. The surgeon believes they've found the source of the bleeding, which was a clot, and that there are no immediate signs of a tumor, which was a possibility.
We still don't know everything, and obviously even a top-notch neurosurgeon has to be careful with what they choose to do, so we expect a long stay in the hospital with a lot of testing and observation ahead of us. And, after that, I expect a significant amount of evaluation and recovery.
As many of you know, Jamie has a long history of health-related issues, and (for good or ill), it's basically made our extended families pretty good at dealing with hospitals, doctors, etc... It's almost always been Jamie in the hospital bed, so it's been a change of pace for her to be on the care and maintenance portion of the equation, but she's moved into action-mode with the rest of us. Those of you who've dealt with hospitals know what I mean, I think, by the "okay, what has to happen, and what's the best way to get this all done with the resources I've got" thinking take takes over in an emergency.
Doug, Jamie's brother, flew in this afternoon from Berkeley, and my office has been great about working with me on all this. Co-Worker Kristi took over for me on a few details without skipping a beat, which is always appreciated.
So, anyway. When I left Doug with Judy this evening, she was resting under sedation, and very stable. She's under terrific care, and (so far) I feel very confident in her doctors.
I don't plan to turn the site into the Judy Medical Journal, but if you want to follow along, you can check for Twitter updates at: @judyupdates
By the way, we do appreciate the outpouring of support we've received. You guys are the best.
If you're local, please text me or Jamie before you try to swing by to visit. Judy is in the ICU, and it's not exactly set up for receiving visitors Nor do I know if Judy would want a parade of folks to come by right now. But maybe in a few days.
We're still finding our footing with all this, so please understand if we can't immediately think of a way you can help.
Let me tell you what a world of difference it is today receiving messages from folks who want to help or come by from the very bleak time in Arizona where Jamie and I were terribly separated from folks who genuinely did want to help, but simply couldn't, due to distance and other factors. I think I prefer living back in a city where I spend all afternoon and evening responding to texts, tweets, calls and emails from concerned friends offering beds nearby the hospital, food, support and seeing if they can just come by and entertain.
Friends and family, local and distant, you are the best. Thank you.
*Delta Airlines gets a gold star. Not only had they pulled me out of line on my outgoing flight to re-assign me to an exit row (I'm 6'5" if you've never met me, and airline travel is not my favorite thing due to leg space), but when I was moving my flight home, I wound up in a seat in first class. And I'd been worried I'd have to sit in the middle.
Then, checking in, the guy at the counter and I had a conversation about worrying about your parents and in-laws. It was an odd and entirely human moment that took me by complete surprise - given the usual experience I have at the airport.