Saturday, December 18, 2010

And sometimes there is nothing you can say or do

I thought about my friend Jay and his son, Ben, and his wife Renee when the little thrush plopped into and back out of our lives yesterday. Sometimes it's so easy. Sometimes even a stressfest like our goat, O'un, being pronounced "brain dead" seems like it was so easy ... only one week later and she was back. Not just back, her personality was back, too. When we nursed O'un back to life one blackberry leaf and knotweed sprig at a time I wondered what brain damage would like in a goat. But we never found out because O'un was exactly the same. The leader of the herd. A pushy matriarch but sensible for a goat, certainly no more stupid than before her near-death experience.

But then other times there is nothing you can say or do to heave things back into alignment. You can just wait.

Last Saturday my friend's son collapsed in front of him. An artery had burst in his brain. All week his parents have lived in a hospital netherworld and I have gone about my ordinary life of getting Ronan to school, doing a fundraiser for a Cambodian orphanage, going to another fundraiser for our river's watershed, milking O'un, doing whatever, I waited and wondered how things were going for Ben and his parents. On Friday I learned that eight hours of brain surgery on Tuesday fixed the arterial problem but Ben had yet to regain full consciousness.

Now I've been told by the friends-of-Jay grapevine that Ben has pneumonia and that they are having difficulty getting his temperature down. His parents wait helplessly there at Riverbend.
The family's friends wait helplessly wherever we are. Seven drops of water and a little snuggle time over a warm heart are not going to be enough to fix this. If there is a magic blackberry leaf for Ben, we haven't found it yet. We just wait. Tell Jay and Renee we're thinking of them and ... and ...are afraid to say anything else for how lame and helpless it all feels.

If you know Jay or have seen him play at the Art of Everything or at the Axe, he is posting any news there is to his facebook page from the hospital. Text messages or e-mail are preferred over phone calls. I don't know what else to say.

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