Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Logan Update

I haven't disappeared. As anyone who's had a child knows, the first few months are exhausting, even when he or she is healthy--and I'm not even the one who has to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse (though my time will come, once we introduce the bottle).

Logan's doing pretty well. He's still small, but the doctors don't want him gaining weight very fast. He's wearing an apnea monitor, but it's only gone off once, and we think maybe it wasn't on right, so we hope that will go away soon. And he's on a half-dozen medications that have to be administered around the clock, but there again, we're hoping those will be reduced soon. Shannon has it tougher than I do, and not just with the nursing; because of the risk of infection, we've been instructed to keep him away from stores and crowds as much as possible, so she basically has to stay home all day long with a non-speaking, ravenous little human as her only human contact until Evan and I come home.

Evan's been a good little guy. He's handled the introduction of the baby as well as could be expected. He's very fond of Logan--maybe a little too fond at times, because he gets right up in Logan's face, and I can almost see the daycare germs coming out of his mouth onto the baby. But he's very gentle, more gentle than anyone could expect a three-year-old boy to be.

When I look at Logan, who, but for the scar and the medicines and the monitor and doctor and nurse visits and all the precautions we have to take, otherwise looks and acts like a normal baby, I'm nothing short of amazed at what the doctors have been able to accomplish. It's not so much a miracle as decades and decades of research and hard work, plus the skill and handiwork or particular medical professionals here in Columbia--not a miracle, but the result is the same.

During the three-plus weeks Logan was in the hospital, both the surgeon and cardiologist saw him every day (with a few exceptions when one was out of town), often multiple times, and they were constantly in touch by phone with the nurses. They always ask if we have any questions, and the surgeon is available by e-mail (he even offered to field questions from Shannon's sister, who's a doctor). And the nurses were very attentive and friendly. From what I've read, one might receive excellent care at a large city hospital, but not the same level of personal care.

We're already looking ahead to Logan's next surgery. The cardiologist said that we'll have to make decisions around Logan's third month, with the surgery likely occurring no later than six months of age. I very much respect these doctors, but I'm already seeking out additional opinions; I'm not going to make permanent decisions about Logan's heart (decisions that will affect him the rest of his life) without consulting with as many experts as I can find. When I have some more spare moments I will explain in more details Logan's condition and the possible surgeries and consequences.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Creation

Before I ended Spectral City, my protagonist had taken up reading Gore Vidal's novel Creation. I felt compelled to add that to the blog because I was reading it myself, and it's damn good. (The link to the Jerry Clower autobiography was entirely for humor).

Probably 20 or more years ago I'd bought it in a paperback swap store I was in while my mom was loading up on a new batch of Harlequin Romances. I never read it, but somehow it survived various purges until I was back in Birmingham and turned it up in a box. I read a few pages and was immediately hooked.

I started reading it before Logan was born, and it proved the perfect antidote to concerns and troubles about having a second child (and this was before we knew about his heart condition). I used to turn to comic books for escapism (having spent ten years in college, it's been a slow process to think of reading novels as something other than work), but the damn things have gotten too expensive to justify ten minutes of diversion. (Lileks has a good post today about comics (thanks for the heads-up, Will) that's similar to my sentiment, though I was always primarily a DC fan).

In some ways Creation reads like a fantasy novel (minus, or mostly minus, the magic), and anyone who enjoys that genre, especially those books with dozens of characters and events that basically require a photographic memory or an accompanying guide to keep track of everything, will feel right at home here. Personally, I don't read much of that stuff; LOTR and the DC and Marvel universes supplied quite enough useless information for me. But while the 5th century B.C. Persian Empire is sufficiently removed from my life as to evoke a fantasy world worthy of Tolkien, it also introduced or brought to life actual historical figures and concepts, and I personally find that far more interesting and rewarding than an entirely fabricated world.

The fictional narrator, Cyrus Spitama, is the grandson of Zoroaster, and when the novel opens he is an old blind man and Persian ambassador to Pericles' Athens. He recounts to Democrites his entire life, from witnessing his grandfather's death to his childhood in the Persian court and friendship with Xerxes, to his travels to India and Cathay, where he encounters, among others, Gautama Siddhartha and Confucius. Spitama is at times cynical and bitter (constantly criticizing the Greeks, which I found great fun), but always inquisitive, and his discussions with political and religious figures of the day are fascinating. Vidal may have fudged dates here and there to make it possible for Spitama to have encountered everyone, and many now think that Zoroaster may have lived as far back as 1000 B.C. rather than the 6th century, but this is fiction, not history.

It's not a perfect novel, but it was engrossing enough that I didn't care. I haven't enjoyed a book so much since . . . hell, I don't know when. War and Peace? (No, it's not as good as that). In any case, years. I was so distressed about finishing the book that I immediately when out and bought Julian (which I'll write about soon), and that also helped to keep me from obsessing every second about congenital heart defects. Creation is the very best kind of historical fiction: the kind that shows you history in a different way and encourages you to read more. If it sounds interesting, go pick up a copy. Me, I'm heading into Herodotus.

Tired

Very, very tired.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Good Weekend

Logan did very well this past weekend. The rather cumbersome (and we hope temporary) apnea monitor he wears when sleeping didn't go off once (well, except when people screwed it up). He's also taking a rather staggering variety of medicines around the clock, and we hope he can start coming off some of them possibly as soon as the end of this week. But otherwise he's feeding, sleeping, pooping and peeing just like a normal baby.

I've been intending to write more, about the doctors and nurses and some other things, but I've been too exhaused in the evenings (though not as much as my wife, who has to nurse several times throughout the night), and this weekend was spent entertaining my son (more on this soon) and working with my in-laws to make our yard look like decent people own it. We planted tomatoes, and I'm afraid that just like last year, as soon as they're in the ground the rain will stop and we'll have drought conditions for months. If last year repeats itself, I may never plant tomatoes again, and I'll have to either frequent the farmers' markets or endure the horrid stuff that grocery stores pass off as tomatoes.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Home

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Logan Update

Right now the plan is for Logan to come home tomorrow. We have our fingers crossed. He continues to make progress. The nasal tubes are out, he's off oxygen, and he's nursing very well. Except for the monitor on his foot and IV on his hand, he looks and acts very much like a normal baby.

On another note, I may have finally figured out the right approach for a novelization of Irate Savant. I've been trying to do this for some time, but have run into numerous obstacles and dilemmas that to this point I have been unable to solve. But the other night, an approach just sprang into my mind, and I think it will work. I probably just needed to get away from the material completely, and having a son born with serious heart defects proved to be a total distraction--though I would not recommend that as a method.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Elevation

We've been spending a lot of time in elevators the past several weeks, and I can't recall a single day when all of this hospital's elevators were working.

It's a variation of the old saw about putting a man on the moon: how can an institution be able to repair newborn hearts, but not be able to fix elevators?

What's so hard about elevators? They go up. They go down. The doors open. The doors close.

I don't mean to pick on the repair people. For all I know, they haven't had a maintenance budget for years and are forced to scavenge in the basement for whatever they can cobble together in order to jury-rig a fix. Maybe the elevators that are working are running on old bicycle, sewing machine, and calculator parts.

Of course, elevators probably wear out fairly quickly, what with the lazy able-bodied types who can't be bothered to take the stairs to go up or down a single floor.

But I still don't get it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

I'd been waiting until Logan had all of his tubes removed before posting a picture, but it's been almost three weeks now, and at least he has the ventilator out. He's a little on the skinny side, but otherwise he's looking pretty good.

He continues to make progress; his signs remain good, he's warming up to the idea of nursing, and I'm guessing that by Tuesday he'll be able to crank his crying up to 11.

Obviously we would have preferred to spend Mother's Day in some other way than in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). On the other hand, we have a happy, healthy three-year-old plus an infant who, thanks to modern medicine, stands a good chance of surviving. Members of my wife Shannon's great extended family have been dropping by all weekend long, often with food in tow (and no day that includes blackberry pie ever be that bad).

Shannon has been incredible throughout this ordeal, as has her mother, who's been here almost the entire time since Logan was born (my mother is unfortunately recovering from surgery herself, but she's been almost militant about her therapy so she can get up here as soon as possible). I knew my wife was tough, but I had no idea how much.

To some degree one is toughened by spending day after day in the PICU, where it becomes clear that there are so many babies and children with as many or more complications and far worse prospects than Logan. A few weeks ago I couldn't have imagined writing that, but it's true. We've had the pleasure of meeting the mothers and fathers of several of those children, and the way they seem to handle these difficulties is amazing. While they obviously would have preferred that their children had been born healthy, they intensively love them as they are and are willing to do anything to keep them safe, comfortable, and happy--a very tall order in some cases.

And then there are those whose children don't make it. We've run into a few of them as well. Many of them have endured weeks, months, or years tending to their children only to lose them. As I'm rather anti-social anyway, my initial impulse is to avoid becoming too familiar with the other families, because it's hard enough to deal with your own child's situation without also becoming involved in another's, but as the days pass you can't help it--despite the fact that in an instant what is so often a place of miracles can turn into a house of horrors. I don't know how the doctors and nurses--many of them parents as well--bear it day after day, but I greatly admire their skills and dedication.

Today was my wife's day, and I can't speak for her. But at least from my perspective, what had initially seemed like a terrible holiday for her to have to endure at this time turned out not so terrible after all, and instead a good deal more special.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Good Day

The nurses extubated Logan this morning, and he is doing well so far. My wife and I each got to hold him several times for extended periods, which he seemed to like quite a bit. He also got his first taste of a pacifier, which he also liked. His crying is either silent or very hoarse right now, but he's working on it.

Fictions and Nonfictions

I'm finding nonfiction--or more accurately, truth-telling, as the two are only occasionally overlapping genres--quite hard.

I haven't quite figured out how to treat certain aspects of Logan's situation here. What do I write about my wife, and our extended families? What do I write about Logan's doctors, nurses, the hospital?

Memoir would be easier, I think; though it may be a case of thinking the grass is greener, I would think that I'd feel freer to discuss particular details with some distance. I'm more hesitant to get into everything while it's actually happening. And that's why, at least until I work all that out, there's likely to be a great deal of focus on interiority on this blog.

But it's also hard because I've never really done this kind of writing before. I've always wanted to make stuff up, or at least improve upon reality.

The last time I wrote even autobiographical fiction was in graduate school at Auburn. In my early twenties at the time, I really didn't have a damn thing to write about except the typical high school stuff--somewhere between Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Catcher in the Rye (sans the irony). But Elly Welt saw something promising, I suppose, and agreed to be my thesis director. She pushed me, sometimes gently, sometimes less so--led me to the right books and movies, offered praise when I needed it, yelled at me when I needed that too. I was (and am) a stubborn bastard, so it was hard getting through to me, but gradually I started finding the story, and the book started to take shape.

In my second year a new writing professor whom I shall not name joined the faculty. I was excited: another writer--and a well-published one, too. Elly was pleased too; she may have thought I'd annoy her less with someone else to talk to. She passed along some chapters of mine and someone arranged a meeting.

I no sooner sit down in New Writing Professor's office than I start getting slammed. I don't remember too many details, but I remember several very clearly. Too many characters. Yeah, I'd been struggling with that. But then she scrunches up her face and says, "I just kept asking myself, 'Why am I reading this?' No one wants to read about kids in high school."

Well.

I mumbled some responses and left with my tail between my legs.

So what I had--what I'd been working on for three years--was crap. And I had nothing else.

Oh, to have been but a few years wiser. No one wants to read about kids in high school? Were students using their copies of A Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace for toilet paper? In some instances, probably yes, but in most instances, no.

What about all the movies? Ferris Bueller's Day Off--and almost anything else by John Hughes. Grease. Back to the Future. Say Anything. Heathers. Porky's, for Christ's sake. (And the genre is not exactly dying off.) Or TV shows: Happy Days. Freaks and Geeks. My So-Called Life (was that out then, or later)?

Was Fast Times of the same order as Ulysses? No. Was I the next James Joyce? No. Hey, winning the Nobel Prize would be great and all, but I wasn't holding my breath. As Elly told me several times, "Don't try to write the Great American Novel. Just try to write the best novel you can." That was my plan.

NWP might have replied that it was fine if I wanted to wallow in such lowbrow material, but college was not the place to learn that sort of writing. Which would have been fine--if we'd been at fucking Oxford.

She might have said that I would never publish in this or that literary journal--to which my reply would have been, "Thank God!" The only people who read that stuff are the editors and writers trying to get published in them.

I went into her office expecting to learn something. The part about having too many characters--that was a good point. What else was I doing wrong? What was I doing right? I wanted criticism; after several years in Elly's workshops, I had gotten pretty good at dealing with it. I knew I had a lot to learn, I knew I could be a lot better, and I wanted to learn how. What I didn't expect to hear that my subject matter was somehow unworthy--which was absurd on its face. Hey, so high school stories aren't your bag. That's okay. I don't like stories about unicorns. But you're supposed to be teaching writing, not imposing your own tastes.

Elly was none too pleased when she learned of this conversation. I was her student, after all, and we'd been working on this material for more than a year, so she took it as something of an insult that I'd basically been told that what I had was crap. Never one to mince words herself, she nevertheless understood how someone could damage a young writer with the wrong feedback. Rather than give me hell, which she was quite good at when I needed it, she offered encouragement, and I found my way back to the writing. I wasn't some ninny who was going to let a single person's remarks ruin me.

But I got hold of NWP's book. Paid for it, even (damn, I just remembered that; I should have checked it out of the library). I wanted to see what the Great Author had actually written.

She could turn a phrase. Nice imagery. Not a bad writer at all. But I also immediately saw where she was coming from, and what type of subject matter she valued.

Derisively--and, in my opinion, deservedly--called "Kmart fiction," this subgenre of literary fiction could be described as focusing on supposedly ordinary, working-class people, while being written by and for the upper-middles who read the New Yorker (and enter MFA programs). Rarely does anything happen, and at the end we often find the protagonist staring blankly out the window of his or her trailer. As best as I can tell, one derives pleasure from reading this sort of thing in one of two ways: the feeling that one is somehow connecting with the working class without actually having to mix with them, and the satisfaction that one is reading something that must surely possess "significance," of the sort that only the sophisticated and initiated are able to glean (i.e., the author is the swindler, the reader the emperor, and I the little boy who cries, "But he has nothing on at all!").

Perhaps the most ironic thing about the term Kmart fiction is that there's basically zero chance of ever finding the stuff in a Kmart. Unlike the readers, the subjects of this particular subgenre apparently prefer stories in which something actually happens.

(Am I being nastily hypocritical, trashing a subject matter after I just got all huffy about someone trashing mine? Perhaps. But remember, I was the student, and she the teacher, a much different dynamic than adult to adult. And I will acknowledge that, as with any subject matter, there are writers of great quality who rise above any attempt to pigeonhole--Bobbie Ann Mason being just one example. But yes, I'm having fun being nasty, too.)

I made no secret of my displeasure at NWP's comments--so much so that she came and found me one day and asked me to go for a walk.

As we took our little stroll about the charming campus nestled in the Loveliest Village on the Plains, she explained that she thought I was a very good writer, that her comments were not intended to discourage me in any way, she just had problems with what I was writing, blah blah blah blah.

I can't evaluate her sincerity. But she didn't have to talk to me, so I appreciated that. But I kept my distance the rest of my time at Auburn. I finished the thesis, and shortly afterward moved on to the LSU.

I never really returned to such autobiographical fiction. I still think--in fact, I know--there's a story there. And I did revisit some of that story on Irate Savant (for those readers, it was the stuff about the Gnat and his mother). But since then I've always felt that I hadn't personally experienced much worth writing about.

Maybe NWP did me a favor. I did try to stretch my abilities beyond my own admittedly narrow experiences. Of course, I'm not published, at least not in book form. And that old story is sitting there, waiting.

But if I didn't before, I now have experiences to write about. And all things considered, I'd rather be making stuff up.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ronald McDonald House Charities

I would guess that most anyone reading this is family with Ronald McDonald House Charities, but most of you have not ever needed to take advantage of their services.

Fortunately we have excellent medical facilities in town, so we have not had to avail ourselves of the Ronald McDonald House, which, for a small donation or even for free, offers temporary residence for families who have to travel long distances to get medical help.

But we've spent time in the Ronald McDonald Room. I think hospitals have made efforts to improve their waiting rooms, but Ronald McDonald Rooms (this one, at least) are on an entirely different level, offering comfortable chairs, pleasant colors, snacks, a refrigerator, a shower and bathroom, and toys--all maintained by corporate and individual donations and volunteers. It makes a big difference, believe me.

RMHC does a lot more too, including their Care Mobile program and a scholarship program.

There's a lot of misery in the world, and a lot of deserving charities out there. But the next time you see one of those canisters at McDonald's, or one of those pop-tab collection boxes, consider contributing. Or donate here.

Evan

This morning on the way to school Evan asked if Mommy and Mee-Maw were going to the hospital.

I said yes, and that Logan was doing better and we hoped he would be able to come home soon.

"Is he sick?" Evan asked.

"Well, his heart is sick," I said. "But the doctors are working on it to make it better."

"How is it sick?" he asked.

Evan is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, so I tried an analogy. "You know how your trains travel on tracks? Logan's blood is kind of like trains, and his heart is like a train track. Imagine if Thomas needed to get to the chocolate factory to pick up chocolate, but the tracks were messed up and he wasn't able to get there. What the doctors are doing is trying to fix the tracks in Logan's heart so that Thomas will be able to go to the chocolate factory. Does that make sense?"

Evan said it did. I thought it was a pretty darn good analogy, but I don't know if he could really understand it.

"Well," Evan said after a moment, "if Logan comes home and gets sick again, then he can stay in Daddy or Evan's tummy this time."

I said that was a very nice gesture.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Work

I went back to work today. Very strange. At times it was easy to fall into the normal routine; at other times I found it hard to be there.

I guess I will somehow adapt to the new normal. But I'm not fond of the new normal.

Throughout the day a lot of very kind and genuinely concerned co-workers asked me how Logan is doing.

I greatly appreciate the concern. But I sometimes want to respond by saying, "He has a terrible heart defect, we don't yet know how he's going to end up, and our lives have been turned completely upside down."

Instead I say he's making progress. It's true. And I don't want to be a jackass.

Saving Little Hearts

My brother, a TV news director in Knoxville, TN, passed along the website of an organization called Saving Little Hearts, based in Knoxville.

From their mission statement: "Saving Little Hearts is dedicated to helping children with congenital heart defects and their families by providing financial and emotional assistance and educational information. Saving Little Hearts also strives to provide enriching, educational and fun experiences for these children which will help them build friendships and confidence."

Interesting thing I learned on their homepage (I'm learning all sorts of things these days): "More children are affected by congenital heart defects than any other birth defect."

If anyone knows of any other worthy organizations/websites dedicated to children with heart defects, family support, etc., let me know and I will add them to the list I'll be building.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Thanks

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and thoughts. It means a great deal to me. One of the reasons I enjoyed writing Irate Savant so much was because of a sense of community--a bizarre community, but a community nonetheless.

A special word of thanks to my pal Will Collier, who is exceedingly generous in both words and deeds. Irate Savant wouldn't have picked up half of its regular readership without those links on Vodkapundit. In addition to being generosity, Will is also very honest and ethical, and I think he may have been a tad torn about linking to the Savant without revealing that he knew the author. But anonymity was crucial to pulling off the project, and if you look closely at Will's words, you'll see he never actually denied knowing the writer.

As he said on his post today, we've known each other for scarily close to 20 years, since we were undergraduates at Auburn. We disagree on a fair amount politically (though we agree on a fair amount too) but only rarely talk about politics--usually only when I harass him into doing so. Our shared passion for the important things, like H.P. Lovecraft, Battlestar Galactica, and Auburn football easily overrides any differences regarding such petty concerns as world affairs. In any case, the blogosphere and world at large could use more Will Colliers.

And while I don't personally know Stephen Green, he's all right in my book too. Thanks to both of you for the links.

P.S. I'm also glad that in his post today Will mentioned our writing professor at Auburn, Elly Welt. Elly is an outstanding author and teacher who taught me much of what I know about writing--and would have taught me much more had I not been so damned hardheaded. Her excellent novel Berlin Wild is unjustly out of print, but I urge you to find a used copy. I hate to reduce the meaning of the book by describing it in this way, but it does offer a view of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust you've likely never seen before. And there's much more, too. Read it and pass it on.

Logan Update

Two days ago Logan went off the ventilator and seemed to do well, but the next morning I received a call while my wife and I were receiving our CPR training (yes, scary) informing me that he didn't appear to be quite up to breathing on his own yet and was having to go back on.

Yesterday evening he looked pretty good, though, and seemed more alert than he has so far.

The doctors seem happy with his echocardiograms, too, though it's too early to tell how his heart will develop, which will then determine what kind of surgeries he will require in the future.

If all goes well, the doctors will try to take him off the ventilator again in the next few days. If he continues to respond well, we'll be on the path to taking him home.

Initially we were asking them all the time when they thought he might be ready. We've stopped that. It'll happen when it happens, and we'll be happy whenever that is.

Quote

From my three-year-old son, Evan:

"When baby Logan comes home, Mommy can hold baby Logan, and Dad can hold baby Evan, and that would be wonderful. Then we could switch, and that would be cute."

I know, I know: kids say the darndest things. But it's true.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Prayer for Infinite Earths

When I was younger and my head was filled with concepts like Earth-1, Earth-2, and various other mirror universes, I concocted my own private mythology—not one I actually believed, but rather one that provided some entertainment and a means of coping with the seemingly all-important travails of adolescence.

It was constructed around the notion that I could travel to parallel universes—but unlike the Flash, who needed his Cosmic Treadmill to perform this trick, I could do it merely through proper concentration. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), my rather extraordinary ability was nevertheless circumscribed: I couldn’t travel to any parallel Earth significantly different from my own, where the Beatles never broke up, or Hitler stuck to painting, or Mr. Spock had a beard. Rather, I could only “shift” onto an Earth with just the slightest differences—where, say, a girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day on “my” Earth instead found me incredibly charming.

It was a selfish, megalomaniacal notion: if I could shift onto another Earth, then I was likely trading places with my doppelganger, and leaving behind my friends and family for almost-but-not-quite-identical versions. Not very nice, though to an adolescent and teenager, a small consideration (and sometimes even a desirable one).

Like many myths, mine gradually grew more sophisticated. If I anticipated events enough in advance, I could steer myself into the desired universe. But the anticipation was essential—and here again, being a pessimist and worrier, I had constructed an ideal mythology for myself. Bad things only tended to happen if I had lost myself in the moment, failing to spend time worrying about them and then shifting out of harm’s way. Viewed in that light, the idea was perhaps less selfish (though just as megalomaniacal); perhaps I wasn’t so much shifting myself out of bad situations as much as I was steering myself and my Earth toward my preferred outcomes. (It has potential, I think, for a story; parallel universes have been explored again and again, but not so much on that kind of micro level. If I’m mistaken, let me know.)

I later learned it was a near-universal form of magical thinking, albeit filtered through comic book superhero universes. And, in a way, a form of prayer.

If I’d known more about the Many-Worlds Interpretation, the idea might have become still more sophisticated, but after I time I forgot about my little musings. When tragedy strikes, however, one turns to mythologies both shared and personal. It all came back shortly after 9/11. I had started a new job just days before, making a great deal more money than I had been, and thus I was so pleased with myself and my new situation that I had temporarily neglected my worrying. Then, once it happened, I was stuck in this reality. The best I could do was shift myself into a universe where nothing worse happened.

Then my son Logan was born. Within minutes of his birth I realized something was very wrong, and by the end of the day we learned that he had several heart complications, the primary one being Transposition of the Great Vessels, meaning that his aorta and pulmonary valve were reversed.

Certainly there are those who have had it much worse than we have—after all, Logan is alive, seems to be slowly progressing, and we have hope that he will be able to live a full and productive life. But such an experience with a newborn is still a special horror.

It was not a good first night. Nurses would hourly check my wife’s vital signs, so if I had actually fallen asleep I would wake up and everything would hit me.

I felt totally helpless. And guilty. How had I contributed to this happening? Was it some kind of karma, some sort of punishment for doing something wrong, or not doing something right, or just that I was due for something bad to happen?

Lying there, half delirious, I desperately wished I would go to sleep, wake up, and it would all have been some terrible dream.

And then at some point I remembered my old mythology. Maybe I just hadn’t worried enough. I’d worried plenty, of course (I can’t help it)—but really only about having a new addition to the family, how we would manage it with both of us working, how my older son would deal with no longer being the center of attention. I’d taken Logan’s health too much for granted—and that’s what got me.

So now I spend a lot of time revisiting those old silly notions. If the Many-Worlds Interpretation is true, then there exists (or will exist—I don’t pretend to fully grasp it) a universe in which Logan’s heart develops in just the right way, and his aorta and pulmonary valve will be able to be transposed, and he will have a mostly normal heart and live a more or less normal life.

Since I can’t do much else regarding his little body right now, I’m busy trying to steer reality in that direction.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ad Hoc Existence

On April 26, 2006, my son Logan was born with several serious heart defects. This blog is a chronicle of our family's experiences as we struggle with this situation. My primary purpose is personal: I'm writing to cope. But I also hope to use Ad Hoc Existence to reach out to professionals and other families experienced with these types of problems, and eventually even serve as an information resource.