Hi Everyone! A thousand apologies for my long silence, but I really do have a good excuse.
Last November we were in New York as part of the East Coast leg of our “Self-Directed, Self-Financed Book Tour”. I got to talk about Morning by Morning at the acclaimed Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem. My long-time hero, Prof. Derrick Bell introduced me, we finally got to meet Sharita Hunt, the woman who wrote that exciting article for us in Black Issues Book Review, and Wendy Urquart, my sister from Wellesley came to hear me! We ended a perfect evening with dinner with Cruz Russell, a longtime friend and classmate of CMadison’s from Dartmouth. By the time we finally got to the hotel for the evening we were exhausted but exhilarated. Little did we know that we were just beginning a terrifying chapter in our lives.
Somehow, CMadison had stepped on a nail. When we returned to Columbus, we immediately went to the doctor who recommended a 2-day hospitalization for IV antibiotics. C has been a diabetic for about 9 years, so infections always are a concern. He was admitted on November 24, 2003 and almost immediately, he seemed to deteriorate. But it wasn’t until he suffered acute renal failure and congestive heart failure that the doctors realized he was having an allergic reaction to some of the antibiotics. CMadison was in the hospital for 40 days and 40 nights! It was the start of an intense time of testing for all of us!
For 2 weeks he was in ICU, unconscious and on a respirator, a ventilator and dialysis. I was told to prepare myself for the possibility that he might not survive, and that if he did, he might have irreversible brain damage due to the congestive heart failure. Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough angst, I also was told (in the hallway no less!) that he needed to have his leg amputated, because there was gaseous gangrene on the x-ray.
Thankfully, I had a lot of support throughout this ordeal. Our pastor, Dr. Eugene Lundy, was a cardiologist before he became our pastor; so he was able to pray and give much needed second opinions! I also had the support of CMadison’s sister, Barbara, and her husband, Harvard. Yes, that is his real name! Both are physicians as well, so I had tons of professional assistance at my disposal. I also had the love, the prayers, and the support of my biological family and my church family. But most of all, I had the support and practical assistance of Charles, Damon and Evan. Damon took over our business, and Charles ran the house while I sat by their father’s bedside.
When Evan came home for Christmas, he stepped right up with his brothers – despite the disappointment of finding out we were unable to send him back for the second semester of his senior year. This was a blow to all of us, as Evan is an honors candidate at Amherst, but the catastrophic implications of CMadison’s 40-day hospitalization was financially devastating.
Thankfully, CMadison finally regained consciousness and the full use of his immense intellectual capacities. I did not agree to the amputation of his leg, but I did have to allow them to remove the great toe and a lot of tissue in the bottom of his foot. The initial x-rays didn’t reveal that particles of the nail still remained in the foot. Undoubtedly, this in part accounted for why the infection wasn’t responding immediately to the antibiotics.
After the first week or so, they finally decided to do an MRI; and that’s when the residual nail fragments and the rest of the infected tissue were removed. C’s heart doesn’t seem the worse for wear, and his cardio-pulmonary health seems stable. Unfortunately, his kidneys have not yet recovered from the assault, and he remains on dialysis three times a week. When the doctors finally were ready to release CMadison on January 3rd, the recommendation was that he be transferred to a rehab center. The presumption was that I would be unable to care for him adequately at home. Once again, Charles, Damon and Evan stepped up. They insisted that their father come home, and they helped care for him – daily – until he was on his feet again. Shopping, cooking, wound care & dressing, blood sugar testing, insulin injections, transportation to dialysis and doctors’ appointments, you name it, they did it or helped me get it done. Best of all, they did it pleasantly. Everyone put their individual plans on hold until we were able to collectively get CMadison back on his feet. I am happy and thankful to be able to report that CMadison is out of his wheel chair and barely using a walker. The wound that allegedly couldn’t heal in less than a year (the other justification for the amputation) has healed- completely! He’s back in the office, working on the business Damon kept alive in his absence, and everyday he’s getting stronger and stronger. I am continuing to pray for his complete recovery and in the meantime CMadison continues to go to dialysis. His spirits are good, primarily because he is so proud and so pleased about how his sons stood up in his absence and held his place for him. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud too!
So, that’s my long-winded excuse for this incredibly long silence. For those of you who knew about this saga as it was unfolding thank you for your prayers-I felt them! Be on the lookout for an email from me in the near future. I am about to launch a free, online newsletter that I (hope!) you’ll find interesting. In the interim, please feel free to order additional copies of Morning by Morning directly from me on the site and encourage your friends to do the same-we can definitely use the cash!
Peace-Let’s Continue To Pray For It!