Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Health Update

I teeter back and forth between discussing Gene’s condition, and to what extent, because it’s deeply personal and often morose. But many of you continue writing to ask and I can’t reply personally to everyone… and Gene said it’s okay to keep you—his fans and friends—up to date. Thus:

Gene was in terrible pain yesterday when I phoned and it was fortunate that I called when I did. He was experiencing debilitating stomach pains and my immediate call to his son (and his son’s immediate call to the facility where Gene stays) resulted, we suspect, in quicker attention. I phoned Gene back and remained on the phone with him until the doctor arrived, which was only ten minutes later—an eternity to Gene, though, who was in genuine agony.

Gene then underwent a para synthesis—a procedure to release the pressure of the fluid that had amassed inside of him as a result of his failing liver. His son, who is by his side, reports that Gene looks much better today, but the swelling has returned to his legs, a condition that his doctor says is likely to continue.

Gene has good days and bad days. He remains highly motivated and wants nothing more than to get back to drawing. “This too will pass,” he said yesterday while in the throes of agony, barely able to breathe let alone speak. This man never abandons hope.

Then this afternoon, “I’m doing a lot better!” Gene said. “Really and truly. They took out two liters of water from my stomach. And the morphine took root and thank God I’ve been fine ever since. I’m going home. I’m not sure when but as soon as I feel like I can manage it, I’m going home.”

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