monday mash up, february 20

monday mashup 2_20.jpg

What an improbably strange and sad weekend we had. It started on Friday morning when Neel called me with the devastating news that a colleague and friend of his had been stricken with a brain hemorrhage and was near death. And just like that, this wonderful man's life was extinguished, leaving us heartbroken and in disbelief. He was a friend and great ally to Neel. All those he knew, the department he chaired, the hospital where he worked, the students he mentored and the hundreds of patients he served are struggling to come to terms with this stunning and terrible news.

We were so glad we had Callum's dance to distract us. Neel and I went to dinner while Callum was cutting a rug and stared glumly at each other over our lettuce wraps.

Saturday morning was the championship game in Callum's basketball league. It came down to the final second, but his team (the Blue Devils) pulled out the victory! He went to a friend's house after the game but needed ibuprofen for a headache before he went. We didn't think much of it (he gets headaches like his momma) until his friend's mom called well before time to come and get him to tell us that he had a migraine. He hasn't had a migraine in almost a year. We rushed over there as quickly as we could, and I half wondered if we'd find him in pain maybe, but still playing. No such luck. He was huddled up on the sofa, his friend bouncing around him, head under some covers. White as a sheet, and he couldn't wait to get home. I sat in the back seat with him on the drive, and he told me that they'd tried to ride bikes up to an ice cream shop, but Callum couldn't make it. He had to stop and lie down in a grassy field before turning back home.

My poor kid.

Neel and I didn't talk about it on the drive. In fact even though we both thought of it, neither of us mentioned it until the dad of Callum's friend, who also knew Neel's colleague, brought it up. Dr. Lewis, who died on Friday, was an expert on pediatric migraines. Top in the field. He'd never seen Callum officially, but we had him in our back pocket in case his headaches grew worse. It was a painful irony. That such a bright light, a man who has helped so many others, is gone. The funeral is on Wednesday.

Callum came home and slept for several hours. When he woke up, he had a fever of over 100 degrees, and now, as I write this on Sunday night, we're fighting a different battle. The headache still, and a fever that won't go down. It's the sickest he's been in years.

We've hunkered down all day. Waiting for wind and sleet from a mini-Nor'easter to arrive. I made chicken stock and onion soup. I spent a little time in the studio, and Neel spent a little time working in the yard. These are the things that heal us, but still, our hearts are heavy.