Good Morning Friends and Allies,
The very good news is that Paul is doing great! He was moved from the Neuro ICU at UNM Hospital on Saturday to the stroke management unit. And he’s already been cleared to go to an inpatient stroke rehab center in Santa Fe, but we’re waiting for a bed to “open up.” I expect to hear from his case manager this morning about whether that may happen today. Fingers crossed.
As you might imagine, Paul is eager to get out of the hospital and get home. He’s doing so well, it sounds like he may just have a week or so in the rehab unit, and then I’ll bring him home. We’re so grateful and lucky that we were able to get him the critical care that he needed quickly and that he’s expected to recover completely with no residual symptoms.
As we all know, this is not the case for many people in our state and across the country. When money, insurance, and access are the difference between life and death or lifelong disability, we know we are doing something wrong. Universal healthcare is how we can fix this terrible inequity, and thank goodness we are on our way to making that a reality in New Mexico. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
For those of you who are interested in the medical details, without getting too much into the weeds, here is an explanation of what happened, which we (family) were relieved and intrigued to learn: Paul has absolutely no risk factors for stroke – no high blood pressure, no diabetes, no heart issues, no genetic markers, etc. They say he sustained a small tear in his carotid artery, which typically happens after some kind of accident or blow to the neck and can happen at any age. (We’re not sure how it happened; he was not aware of injuring his neck.) The artery naturally forms a clot to heal itself, which it did, and his carotid artery on the right side was then completely blocked. Part of the clot then broke off and went to his brain.
The amazing neurosurgeon at UNM, Dr. Andrew Carlson, was able to remove most of the clot in his artery and the clot in his brain on Wednesday night (through interventional radiology, which is less invasive than actual surgery). His son Josh and I spoke to Paul by phone late Wednesday night right after the surgery and he had already improved dramatically. As they say: The miracles of modern medicine!
Thank you so much for all the wonderful notes and well-wishes. Paul and I have read every single one and I want all of you to know that we are touched, we are soothed, and we are uplifted by your heartfelt well-wishes. He continues to improve daily and he’s talking about writing a blog sometime soon. If you do see a blog from him in the next week, please forgive the typos! 😉
We are humbled and honored to be connected to this amazing network of activists across the state. The support and encouragement that we give each other is essential — not just to our work as activists but to our personal strength and endurance that keeps us going and keeps us hopeful every day.
Thanks again for your tremendous support. We’ll keep you posted.
With gratitude, relief, and hope,