Here is the latest email I got from Arthur's medical surrogate, with information on how to send a card or contact him when he is well enough;
Dear Friends of Art Springer,
I appreciate your many answers to my letter about Art last week and I'm glad so many of us are concerned about him. I'm sorry to answer your individual and interesting replies in this generic fashion, but this is the most practical way to get out the information you all want.
I went down to NY from the Poconos to see Art this past Monday, and it must have been ordained - I even got a parking spot right in front of Mount Sinai and other stops went smoothly too. I found Art in the Medical ICU, unconscious and breathing through a tracheal tube almost the diameter of a garden hose, operated by a machine. He seemed to be stable: he didn't look moribund, but did seem in some discomfort or distress. His doctor told me later this happens when the breathing machine gets out of synch with the patient's own efforts to breathe. A nurse made some adjustments (not prompted by me) and Art seemed more relaxed after that.
The doctor took some time to go over the whole case history and its prognosis. At that point they felt he was past the worst of it. His infection and its fever were under control, they planned to gradually reduce the diameter of the breathing tube as a transition to breathing on his own, and they hoped to gradually awaken him this week by stopping the sedatives that keep him under. I gather from reports later in the week that this has been happening, but not yet to the point of full consciousness. He remains on dialysis for kidney problems. As of yesterday he seems to have been moved to a different section of the hospital. so I assume treatment is proceeding as planned. When Art is past the present crisis the doctor said he will still need a stay of some weeks in a rehab facility to get back his strength before he can return to his home. A hospital social worker, Nell Shanahan, assured me that the hospital would make these arrangements. His original doctor, cardiologist Samy Elmariah, continues to call me and Art's other health surrogates with thoughtful updates.
At Nell Shanahan's suggestion I also called the other two surrogates, Leo Lewkowitz and Flo Fox, so that we could establish a connection now in case we need to confer later. Leo is, I believe, first on the list of surrogates. Art was visiting Flo just before he went to the hospital: she sent him there because she was worried about his apparent condition. That probably saved his life.
While I was in New York, I also went to Art's neighborhood, concerned that his landlord might not know what was going on and wondering how that would affect the lease on his apartment. (Art had not left anyone with a power of attorney to pay bills, as far as Nell could determine.) I spoke to Mr. Espinosa, the super, who was glad to get news - he said they had all been worrying and wondering. He gave me the number of the management company. Both Nell and I talked to them and they assured us that his apartment was safely his until he can start paying his bills again (and after that, of course). They also mentioned that the apartment is big enough for a live-in care giver if one is going to be supplied.
While in the "nabe" (where I also lived years ago), I talked to the mail carrier who was also glad to know what was happening, especially as Art's mailbox runneth over. I went to the PO and put in a hold mail order for the present, but declined to take the mail on hand, given my distance from the scene. Contrary to the standard image, I found all these New Yorkers friendly, caring and helpful.
As Art recovers, I'm sure your contacts will be most appreciated. At a nurse's suggestion, I talked to him a bit when I was there, because they think even unconscious patients have some awareness of one's presence, but it will certainly make even more sense to visit, if you can, when he is able to receive visitors. As of last night he was in the RCU 9 West of Mt Sinai Hospital, 1468 Madison Ave, NYC 10029, phone 212-241-6500.
I gather that those of you who have been getting these e-mails met Art through his health care advocacy. I think you'll be glad to know that this health care advocate appears to be getting first class treatment by people who care about their patients. Thanks again for your good messages and keep holding him in the light.
Sincerely, Peter Salmon
I realize that while Arthur made many friends here, he also had those who didn't like him (to put it mildly...). As I stated in my bulletin, for those who didn't like him and feel they are unable to put that aside...please just move on past this blog. Any negative comments will be deleted. Period.
Thanks again for all the many prayers and well wishes. As you can see by the email...they are working.
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