July 9, 2020

Duck. That was my mom’s nickname for Chris.  So here are some ducks — a mom and ten kiddos, as seen down at the creek yesterday morning.


And speaking of Chris. Talked to him today! Sounds great for a guy with two stents wedged into one of his main heart vessels. Got the whole story, as much as he can recall. I learned you don’t want to have a heart attack. They are very painful. He pounded a lot of sand on that beach. It started with a pain in his upper left arm that he thought was, perhaps, a pulled muscle. Shook that off and paddled out for another round.  As the minutes progressed the pain intensified and moved to his chest. He decided to get out of the water, pack things up and call it a day.

He was still wet, only having just peeled off his wetsuit. He’d gotten so far as to remove his suit and had just wrapped a towel around his waist when the pain dropped him to his knees. His rolling and writhing effectively covered him in sand.. he said he must have looked like a crumb donut. A lot of his story, while terrifying, was funny (funnily told, anyway). Interestingly, regarding his naked, sandy self (save for a loosely wrapped, at this point, towel), he was taken by ambulance straight to the cath lab for the emergency procedure, then was taken to a room to be monitored overnight. Never did they clean him up. As of our conversation — a full two days later — he still had sand all over his legs and sand matted in his hair.

He never knew who saved his life… the people who might have called 911, the lifeguard? And he had no idea how his surfboard and backpack made it off the beach. Also interestingly, a staff person in the cath lab recognized his backpack and a rug that he uses whenever he surfs because the guy’s also a surfer and a friend of John’s and is familiar with Chris’s routines (apparently this rug is what he places his backpack and other stuff on when he’s in the water, and is pretty gnarly, if practical).  Nice to have friends.

The rest of the story is about procedures and nurses and drugs and other medical logistics. He spent Tuesday night and most of Wednesday lying in a hospital bed a bit nauseous, tired, anxious, uncomfortable. Nevertheless, they kicked him out and sent him home last night. Maybe Robert Bacon took him, I didn’t get this part. He’s had lots of phone conversations and feels loved and cared about. That’s good. He’s grateful and sobered (as in, it was a sobering experience). Also good.

And I’m certain he’ll be fine. A changed man, but fine. He acknowledged this is a flash point: life has already become a before-the-event, and now after.

This would have destroyed mom…   I wish she were still alive, desperately, but I’m glad she didn’t have to see her duck go through a heart attack.



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