Family Portrait (circa, 2012)


It’s three days before my birthday, and I’m sitting in my hospital bed watching Caylee Anthony trial coverage on CNN. Prior to my stroke, I had never spent the night in a hospital. What the nurses are telling me now is that I should be thinking in terms of weeks, not days, before I am discharged.

The trial is weirdly compelling.The state of Florida is charging  Casey Marie Anthony with first-degree murder in the death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.  Casey has finally fessed up about the numerous lies she told authorities.Among the supporting players in the sideshow are Casey’s mother, who first reported Caylee missing, telling police that Casey’s car smelled like a dead body had been inside it; and Casey’s father, who, in a bizarre twist is now on the stand denying that he habitually sexually abused his daughter.Scan 6

Wedding portrait

In the name of accuracy, I should backtrack. Throughout the night I will have been awakened bi-hourly by one of two night-shift nurses to take my “vitals.” The  mortification they both profess to feel by virtue of having to disturb my sleep appears so heartfelt that I routinely reply, “I was actually not even asleep, but only engaged in quiet meditation,” or words to that effect.

Scan 13

Wedding Day (1949)

Anyway, my anticipation of seeing my nurse, whoever she may be, is heightened by the prospect that I may be asked if I would like to shower; Gabby had asked me yesterday morning. Here’s what a shower entails: an “assisted” disrobing, a delightful post-shower rubdown with what passes in hospital lingo for a “towel,”
followed by an “assisted” re-robing with a clean, starched hospital gown.

Lori comes breezing in. “Good morning, Thomas! Howya doin? (Lori was born and bred in Somerset, Kentucky. I  explain to Lori why Mr. Anthony  is on the stand, which elicits from her the observation that “A lotta strange people live in Florida, doncha  think?”

I am of the notion that lots of strange people live in every state; nonetheless, I heartily endorse her contention.

I am on the verge of speculating whether Lori might  find time in her busy schedule to assist me with a shower, when she suddenly announces, “I’ve got some great news for you, Thomas! You are going to start your physical therapy today!”

“That is great news,” I reply, but then, after one of those,  “pregnant pauses,” I slip  in a desultory, “I suppose.”

Lori turns serious. You have about a six-or-seven-month window to recover as much as possible of what you’ve lost from your stroke. That’s what all the data says..”

Of course, I already know that physical therapy is paramount to both my short-term  and long-term prognoses.Indeed, I am already aware of my limited window of recovery, during which time undamaged neurons can still forge new pathways that can at least partially accommodate parts of  my brain where tissue has been destroyed. Reflecting on the wonders of neuroscience does not dilute my desire for an assisted shower

Will I get that shower?  Well, I hate to keep you in suspense, but when it  dawned on me that mote than a month and a half has elapsed since my last post, I vowed to publish at least something post haste, as it were. So here is my modest offering (







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