My post on Wednesday opened up with the last conversation I had with Gary.
As I was copying it out of my Google chat, I had the nagging feeling like something was missing. The chat was too short, there were snippets of the conversation that I remembered but didn’t see.
Was I making up memories of this last conversation? Maybe it was by text or phone… I went tearing through my texts and emails and phone records, looking for the elusive conversation.
I was starting to think that maybe I was so far gone in grief that my own brain was starting to betray me.
And then the missing lines suddenly turned up in my gchat records. I have no idea how or why they were hiding.
So here is the entirety of our conversation from March 6th:
Gary: FYI Ive been in the hospital in den since Sunday night I have something called pres syndrome the r is for reversible. I’m not announcing it on fb though don’t think the world needs to know
Figured if you poked at my dragons you may get curious as to why they are hungry
what do you have?
Me: Are you feeling OK?
(And this completely undoes years of theories of your brain being just a block of wood)
Gary: Now iam
The docs said my brain was normal my family laughed
So do you need anything?
I know you’re in Denver and your family probably has you covered
but we can ship you anything you need
Gary: Nope I’m good for now I’m hoping to not be stuck here vm longer but who knows
Me: so let me guess, this has to do with all the headaches you’ve had for years and popped advil like candy to deal with
Gary: No it has to do with the spike in bp I got running to catch a bus. The paramed at the air port showed me at 200 something over 100 something. And apparently while in the er I had a seizure but I don’t remember it
Me: how shit
did you mention all the headaches while they were poking at your brain?
Me: did they find any causes or offer anything better than pain-candy?
Gary: I’m on iv steroids to help the swelling
Me: that’s fun, makes you puffy and gain weight
how soon can you come home?
Gary: No clue I’m hoping this weekend so I don’t miss any more school
Me: is there anyone you want me to pass this along to?
Gary: Nah just Rogers since I figure you will anyways
Me: of course, lol
you should totally ask for a copy of your brain scan and get that framed for the wall
pics or it didn’t happen =P
Gary: I’ll see what I can do
Me: get better, we have to go to dinner for Olivia’s bday
That was on the 6th.
By the 9th he was in a medically induced coma and his family started a site to keep everyone informed. I didn’t find the site until I went poking around his FaceBook page a few days later. When I had last talked to him, he was hoping to be out by the weekend so I wasn’t too worried.
On the 12th there was a message that the doctors were expecting a full recovery and three more weeks in ICU.
On the 18th they were taking him off the coma drugs and expecting it to take approximately 50 hours to clear from his system. Gary was always a heavy sleeper.
He shrugged his shoulder at his sister on the 20th.
But then the cranial pressures started spiraling out of control again so they reintroduced the coma and planned on surgery if it doesn’t straighten itself out.
By the 25th they decided to go ahead with the surgery, his pressure wasn’t stabilizing on its own often enough. He came out of surgery just fine. Except for the whole coma part. After the surgery they reported a potential infection in the brain. This was a good development as it pointed towards a cause. Many jokes were made about holes in his head and his new haircut was dubbed the “skullet.”
But after a little more lab work it came back as a negative on the infection. Back to square one and his pressure was getting worse.
On the 27th they stopped the coma drugs again. It was all on him.
It was the 30th when I got the call from his roommate that he had been declared brain dead.
And the 31st when it was announced he had passed.
Every day it gets a little better. At least for longer periods of time.
But then I see something funny that I want to share with him.
Or someone knocks at the door. Did class get cancelled today?
I worry about bugging my other friends too much with all the crap I would have shared with Gary.
I wonder if the kitties remember him and wonder if he’s coming back.
Tir found a Pandora station on his phone that Gary had picked when they were driving around somewhere.
He’s on every friend list I have in every game and social media platform.
Random article on the web used the word “defenestration.” Did you know that Gary got comedian Wayne Brady to use “defenestrate” in an ad lib during a live show not once – but in two separate shows? Apparently Wayne didn’t know what the word meant the first time, but he was ready for the second show.
The hardest was posting on Wednesday, maybe even harder than the writing of the post. Normally he would be the first to respond to a blog post and would IM me to tease me about how infrequent my posting had become. The biggest post I’ve ever done about him and he’ll never get the chance to smart off at me about it.
I even scheduled the posting for a little later than normal. I had to go in to the office that day so by posting it a little later I wouldn’t be able to read any of the responses until I got home.
About a month before he left, I loaned him the last book of the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light. It had just come out in paperback; I had just started the series so wouldn’t be nearing the 14th book anytime soon.
The other night I picked up where I had left off in the third book before this all went down, and it hit me.
Did Gary get to finish reading the book?
I pretty much lost it there.
He had been waiting for years for the series to conclude.
I hope he got to finish it. What a twisted sort of irony if the author died before finishing the series and Gary died before getting to read it.
I really hope he finished it.
Looking at it now, the book’s title is sort of fitting. Gary played a lot of paladin characters and even chose Light as his flight in Flight Rising.
Doesn’t make it any easier to continue reading the series. I’m in the fourth book now, but can only read a couple pages at a time and then I have to walk away.
The family has asked that we forgo fancy duds at his memorial services. I got Tir a Hawaiian shirt that looks like it came straight from Gary’s closet and I found a tie-dye top that reminds me of the days before they changed Casual Friday to Casual Friday (but no tie-dye – that means you, Gary).
And I wanted to thank you all again for your support. Maybe some day I’ll have something happier to post. Maybe even update my header graphics with the new ones I unveiled weeks ago. And hopefully someday soon I can think of Gary and just smile.