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posted 7/17/2009 6:02:16 PM |
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This will be my last update here. If anyone still wants to know how he's doing please send me your email address and I'll put you on the list.

Dear Friends of Art,

Several of you have asked about Art's condition. I apologize for not writing sooner. Our "committee" of health care surrogates led by Leo Lewkowitz has been trying to solve constantly changing administrative problems in Art's care, and I've been waiting for a respite when things seemed clearer to report.

Unfortunately, one thing which is not changing is Art's medical condition. He is still on a ventilator for breathing, a stomach tube for feeding, dialysis for kidney function and doesn't seem to respond to people, even though his eyes are open and he is technically conscious. The medical staff has expressed a fear that he lost much of his brain function when he was without oxygen for two minutes earlier in his hospital stay.

There are some small possible positive signs. Granted that he is attached to various pieces of equipment, his physical condition is stable with their help. In fact, since he is stable, the hospital intends to discharge him to a long-term care facility able to deal with his multiple needs. Yesterday, on behalf of the committee, I toured the 5 nursing homes in the greater NY area with this capability, so we could express our preferences on Art's behalf. Although quality of care was, of course, primary, we also considered ease of access for visitors. The two highest on our list are, respectively, at a stop on the LIRR 40 minutes from Penn Station and the last stop of the fabled A Train (subway) out in Rockaway. Far as these may seem, the other choices were even more inaccessible. The hospital's ultimate choice will take our suggestions into account, but also have to go with the availability of a bed. In that regard, I can at least report that all of the choices have positive aspects, including the necessary equipment, bright, clean surroundings and cheerful, caring personnel. But I think the best is clearly Woodmere, also in Rockaway beach area.

Other positive signs are these: 1. Leo, visiting, noted that Art smiled when receiving care to alleviate some discomfort. 2. The hospital ran a CAT scan of Art's brain and did not detect damage. They say an MRI would be more conclusive, but can't perform one because of all Art's mechanical attachments. Their best hope is that cognitive function will return as poisons are eliminated from his system 3. Kathleen McGann suggested that it would help to have Art's beloved classical music playing by his bedside. Directly after receiving this suggestion, I heard that the noted neurolgist Oliver Sachs says that the musical part of the brain still functions even when the cognitive part is gone. Leo arranged to get the music playing. 4. As well as Leo, Flo Fox, the third member of our committee, and Bob Griss have also visited, so the medical staff is now well aware that Art has a support group and they seem to respond to our personal interest with a personal interest of their own. I regret to say I ran out of time for a visit at the end of yesterday's excursion, but it's good that all of us who can keep trying. (Since a discharge is planned, it would be well to check before going to Mt Sinai.)

Another whole set of problems, which Leo has been working on, involve Art's practical affairs, since he didn't leave any power of attorney to deal with them. There are a lot of complications because of this which will take a while to resolve. We'll tell you more when it becomes clearer. The one thing that would help now is to let us know if any of you know any way to get in touch with Art's somewhat estranged sister, who would have the legal authority to deal with these problems. It would also help if anyone knows the name of his bank or if he has had any lawyer.

Perhaps the biggest positive element in this whole sad situation is the realization for all of us that, even in such misery, we are not alone. I've been touched, and I'm sure Art is, at some level of his unconscious being, by knowing he has such a circle of caring and competent friends. I pray that I may one day be able to provide you happier news, but it makes a difference to have such friends under all conditions, both sad and joyful.

The renumbering in the Subject box above reflects that this now the fourth report in what it appears will be a longer series. Next will be V, which I hope to send quickly when Art is transferred.

Thanks and best wishes to all, Peter

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Jul 17 @ 6:30PM  
well then this means the address is no longer valid?? Or should we wait?? Unfortunately I am just now able to afford a card to send. I hope I find a job soon, so humiliating to admit not being able to buy a card. Even if you don't want to go thru here I would like to be kept updated.

Jul 17 @ 7:04PM  
I don't know if it was my suggestion that they got, or someone else'swho knew his love, but I'm glad he's hearing his favorite music.

Thanks for the update, you have my e-mail or if you don't or other half does.


Jul 17 @ 7:08PM  
It was by your suggestion that one of his friends went and visited him and had the nurse tune the tv onto classical music.

As for cards, any cards sent will be forwarded so go ahead and send it to him. It will be at least another week or so before he is moved.

Jul 17 @ 8:07PM  
Wow.... I am incredibly sorry to hear this about him... I really don't know him very well but I do remember some of his blogs and comments....

I know he is missed around here and everyone is praying for this man.... He is definitely in my thoughts as is Friends giving the updates!!

Kudo to you Sundance!!


Jul 17 @ 9:53PM  
I think that you have my address yes? I do wanna know how he is doing.

Still praying for the big miracle.

Jul 19 @ 12:50AM  
Did you send me an address to send cards to? I didn't get it if you did. You already have my email addy so yes please send me updates when you get them. I'm still praying for him.

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