[Susannah writes] Things people should know about me:
- I am wearing my eggplant hat, made by Marla Emery. I have dubbed it my engraftment hat; the green tendrils may become permanent. [She pauses, and comments: “People won't think my brain is back, will they?”]
- One of the most beautiful and kindest things that Ethan has ever said about me was that even when I wasn't really there, I was still nice to people. I am totally heartened that with my rationality stripped away, I was still trying to be kind to others. That's pretty cool.
- I need desperately to put one of those vacation-responders on my email. But what should it say? All suggestions will be considered.
- It is so lovely to be back in my own narrative present—that's what it feels like. My body is slowly starting to follow suit: I'm resuming eating, drinking, walking.
- I would like to give a shout out (a sing out?) for the most wonderful singing Valentine ever: to Becky Stratton and the amazing singing women of Middlebury. Their valentine brought me to tears, and I've made everyone listen to it. As with the eggplant hat, the nurses want to know if they can more where that came from.
- Finally, the chain of prayer on my wall now includes Britain Yearly Meeting and Cuba Yearly Meeting. Which is kind of terrifying. Thanks to Maria Armenia Yi, Marigold Best, Grandpa George Watson and others for the personal messages grounding those august bodies of prayer.
Susannah has recovered from what seems to have been a steroid-related confusion. Meanwhile, all of her numbers are significantly improved, and we are currently looking at a discharge date of the 19th, though that might change. Nicole Martin and I have been super-cleaning the apartment in preparation.
This is not to say that we're entirely out of the woods. Susannah is still at high risk for infections, graft-vs.-host disease, and other complications, many of which can be very serious. And in fact, the deep confusion she experienced is not really a run-of-the-mill part of this treatment. So our relief at seeing her recover from that is kind of an emotional red herring. There is a lot of work yet to be done. All the same, it is an amazing thing to see someone harrow that space.
I don't like the idea of miracles. By that I mean, I don't like the idea of specific miracles, the “Lo, then God parted the SUVs and gave His faithful free on-street parking” type. It grates at my intellectual desire for explanations. It also gives me a kind of ethical qualm...if we see a bone marrow transplant as a miracle, aren't we snubbing the thousands of people who have devoted their lives to the work that makes it possible?
But I do believe in the general miracle; I am in awe of that. Death and stasis and entropy seem so compelling. Bad tends to go to worse. In contrast, the riot of living and thinking—more life, as the old blessing goes—feels almost like a sucker bet. If I'd never seen a human brain and someone showed me one, slimy tofu mushroom blob that it is, I wouldn't sit through the pitch. Obviously something like that couldn't do more than drip and ooze, let alone write a sonata. If they then told me that this brain thing had stopped working properly...well, forget it, there's no way it could recover. Right?
And yet the whole world is full of life and thought, and it persists tenaciously all the same. That is the miracle.