The Black Dog


The Black Dog is a restaurant in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard and it is a really fun place to hang out. The trick is this … you ask for a table by the window and you let the kids play around outside on the little beach by the harbor and you drink your byob wine and watch them and talk about them. Some things never change. They wave at the ferry and they pet the little black dog puppies. Then the begging starts. This year, I just might give in.

What Happens Two Weeks After Surgery?


It feels a little like it did when Mack went to college. “Hey, where did he go? I liked him.” He’s been to his office every day, he’s been to meetings in Chicago, he’s been to Costco twice, he’s been out to dinner a bunch of times and today he’s officiating Ashley’s swim meet. I’m thinking about changing the name of this blog to … My Disappearing Bionic Boyfriend.

He’s not allowed to swim or work out yet but I can tell that he’s going to be disobedient in short order.

(Ashley is in lane 8, far right, with the red swim cap. She swam her best time for the 50 freestyle today at 33 seconds.)

What Happens 30 Hours After Surgery?

He put on his coat and his hat and he asked me to take him out to vote in the Illinois Primary Election. As we were driving to our polling place we listened to NPR, and on the radio in our cold car plowing through the snow we heard, “Brought to you by Medtronic, creating technology for athletes.” We both just looked at each other. Medtronic is the company that created the exact technology that was now housed in his spine and was making it possible for him to go out and vote!

I remember when his doctor at Northwestern listened to him recant his swimming goals and heard him say that he needed to retain his full range of motion and that he needed the quickest recovery. “I know just the device for you and in six weeks you’ll be able to do anything you wish.”

And so there we were. 30 hours after surgery driving to vote in an election where neither one of us knew too much about the candidates because we had been so consumed with all that was happening to him. In fact, when I turned in my ballot the white haired lady kind of yelled at me. “Honey, you left some blank.”

That’s when I knew. We had something of our lives back.

Officially Bionic and Moving Forward

Those three long hours turned into five. Eventually someone handed me a card with room #525 written on it and pointed me down a hall. I walked passed endless rooms. Northwestern averages 85 surgeries a day. When I found room #525 he was quiet, a little beaten up and he was officially bionic. He slept, drank some water and eventually passed their tests well enough that I was able to slowly drive him home to a house that friends had filled with food and kids who thought they had a night free from homework.

We put him in bed, made dinner plates and sat around him eating and talking.

It’s snowing out now and all is quiet.

I didn’t take one picture.

Good News/Bad News (not really … It’s all good)

I just met with the Doctor, John Song, who seems like he would be a patient big brother and an even more patient Neurosurgeon. “The good news is that he’s one of the healthiest guys I’ve seen in a long time. The bad news is that it took a little longer because of all of the muscles in his neck.” The bionic disc is in and he’s doing just fine. I will get to see him in about an hour. I probably won’t take his picture because of that promise I made. This has been a very long and a very interesting three hours.

A Group of People With Extremely Competent Looking Hands

A group of people with extremely competent looking hands wheeled him into surgery at 7:45 am. The nurses had already begun what I had predicted. (“They’re just gonna love you.”) They were explaining the whole bionicness to him and he was smiling. I will report more when I learn of something new. In the meantime, I am in a beautiful waiting room overlooking Chicago. However all is not too beautiful, there are a lot of pretty sick people here. (I am making these entries from my iPhone.)