Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Last night my wife, Ivonne, told me about events that happened after I returned to the transplant unit from one of my extended stays in the ICU. I remember somewhere between nothing and very little of that time, being either unconscious or lost in hallucination (in mine, I was being interrogated by agents of the government who accused me of having leaked super-classified information to the press).

Ivonne related that, for more than three days, I was constantly trying to tear out the IVs and remove my air mask and other treatment devices, a behavior I witnessed years before when my late mother-in-law was given a shot of atropine after a heart attack. Back then, my ex-wife and I stood at her unconscious mother's bedside for five or six hours preventing her from disconnecting everything that was keeping her alive; however, she was relentless. When we were both thoroughly exhausted, with great reluctance we left her to the nurses, who in all probability restrained her, something we couldn't bear to witness.

Back in my room, when I was behaving just like my late mother-in-law, Ivonne stood by the bed protecting me from myself. She told me it was quite difficult because I was very strong and very determined: it was a fight the whole time. She kept at it until a nurse asked her, when is the last time you had some sleep?

"I don't know, maybe a couple of days, I don't remember," she replied as she continued to struggle with me.

The bed next to him isn't being used, why not get some sleep?

"I can't—he keeps trying to pull out his IVs!"

Don't worry, the nurse replied, we'll get a sitter. Shortly afterward the sitter arrived, pulled up a chair, and was ready to take over. Still Ivonne would not stop, could not stop. Finally, the sitter told her,

"Look. I'm here, I'm going to stay here, he's going to be OK, I'll wake you up if there's any change, get some sleep!"

With that, Ivonne finally let go, fell into the bed next to mine like a big tree, falling asleep the instant her head hit the pillow. She slept for nine hours.

To my old friends: when I married a Mexicana thirty-one years younger than myself, and with whom I had almost nothing in common (language, culture, nationality, economic status, formal education, etc.), you were afraid that I might have completely lost my mind—what do you think now? As she told me this story, as the complete devotion it revealed sank in, tears silently dripped down my cheeks. A day later, as I write this, they're here again.

I feel like the luckiest man on earth.


  1. Thank you, Lon, for sharing your beautiful love story. I understand Ivonne's devotion ... I did the same for my guy ... and I know that it is a rare and beautiful thing. So happy you found each other.

  2. Dear Lon and Ivonne, we are happy for you both. Lon, glad you pulled through. It inspires us to read your blog. Be Happy:) Lynne and Ralph in Michigan were the cold is about to set in burrrrr

  3. Such a beautiful story. Ivonne is an angel.

    Roslyn Harris

  4. Your and Ivonne's happiness and health has been an amazing story to unfold for you both. Thank you for sharing and continue to share. Hope springs eternal.

  5. By the way, I am told that in the ICU there was a time when I had twelve infusions going at the same time!

  6. MM may have taken some things from you but your mind seems to be totally intact from where I sit reading. There's a whole lot of those "they said it would never last" marriages still going strong, just as there are a ton of those "match made in heaven" types that tanked. So glad you have this wonderful person in your life to help pull you through. "All you need is love."

  7. Love can keep us alive and it is clear that Ivonne's love has had a big effect on you and we are all so happy for this wonderful turn-around!


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