Monday, January 30, 2006

Nuns pray a lot. And the ones I've met here pray well. Today they helped me pray for two dear friends that most of you reading this have heard me tell tales of -- if you don't know them directly: Mike MacHarg and Jess Myhre.

Mike took a serious fall Friday night but is in remarkably stable condition (considering a C1-C2 verterbral fracture that didn't result in paralysis, and broken arms, ribs, pelvis and who knows what else) in intensive care. His improvement has been steady and now he's squeezing hands, scribbling notes, and apparently even arching an eyebrow at the mention of sponge baths and nurses.

Jess went in today for her second brain surgery -- the first just before I left put a shunt in her brain to alleviate the high pressure caused by hydroencaphaly. Today's was to replace the valve because she had developed equally-serious low pressure complications. Perhaps by now she is again showing one of the early signs that the first surgery had not altered her celebrated personality: in response to some teasing, she raised a single well-chosen finger.

Both of these beloved people are surrounded by amazing networks of friends and families -- Mike in San Francisco and Jess in Saint Paul. Knowing this offers me great comfort, but sharpens my desire to be among them: to be there adjusting pillows, reading aloud from David Sedaris or Bailey White, and taking dictation for each of their "When-all-this-is-over" To Do list.

But I'm not there, and likely can't be until July. Of course plenty will be needed then too -- but that feels like a paltry response to the palpable urges to at least try to make these tough situations better. This sense of impotence is shared, I have on good authority, even by those who are in constant cell phone contact with the latest news. And the sense of waiting to help make things better is probably strongest among those who sit by the bedsides and pace the hospital halls.

And so I breathe myself to sleep at night with this: solidarity with everyone else who madly loves these two. And the hope that comes from knowing, as well, the unrepentant strength that is so evident in both Mike and Jess. And for both those things -- and for the prayers of nuns who will never meet either of these dear friends: gratitude.

Good night.


Post a Comment

<< Home