Tuesday, May 31, 2011


An old friend in a business suit appeared by my bedside in the stroke unit. "I built this hospital," he told me. We had lost touch. He is a VP in hospital administration now, but he started his medical career in physical therapy working with – get this – stroke patients. "Anything you need, honey, you just let me know. My office is right downstairs."

From that point forward it felt like doctors became more accessible and nurses became more attentive. Most importantly, here was someone who knew me and what I was made of.

He was my first crush in seventh grade. By high school we were acting together in plays. We took ballet classes and college-level French courses together. "You have a long, hard road ahead of you, Marcie. But if anyone can do it, you can."

His words became a beacon once I started to face the naysayers and statistics. As I reflected on how lucky I was to have such an advocate (and worried about the many who don't), a vision from long ago came to me: A scalpel piercing a sheep's eyeball – liquid squirting out, the rubbery, chicken-skin look of cartilage.

I phoned my friend. "Were you my lab partner in biology class? And did you agree to dissect the sheep's eyeball if I would write the report?"

"That was me, honey."

My hero.

Paul and I get into character for a one-act version of Sweeney Todd. (1982)


  1. Hi Marce
    more blogging please, it's so rich hearing an articulate writer like youself addressing this traumatic issue. I feel as if I'm preparing for my own...ouch, what's next for me?
    love joe x

  2. It's easy rain on a parade, much harder to be supportive. We live in a great country, but the tendency for negative speech seems to be ingrained culturally. It takes a lot of strength to lift a person up but not much at all to bring them down.

    And statistics abound with various interpretations attached to their meaning. We are the one starfish being thrown back into the ocean and not the multitudes dying on the beach. We are individuals and, as such, can accomplish much if we set our minds to it.

    Should a man's reach exceed his grasp?

    I think if we don't reach for the stars we will never know how long our arms really are.


    (Blogger is not letting me sign in and post under my own name today.)

  3. Amazing. Really makes something horribly incomprehensible like your situation feel like it has a purpose. Wishing you many more "lucky" moments as you find out what this new purpose is. Keep up the good work.

    Routing for you. Jodi

  4. Now that I finally figured out how to comment, I wanted to come back to this post because I tried to post once, but was unsuccessful...

    How great to hear that Paul was there for you. Every patient in a hospital needs an advocate, but to have one in hospital administration who happens to be an old friend is just incredible.

    It's not surprising to hear that Paul helped and encouraged you -- he always was a nice guy!