Journal entry by David Matchett

Good morning (Tuesday), this is David, Stephen’s brother, posting because Stephen hasn’t been able to in a while and I know people are wondering what that means. 
 
First, Stephen’s birthday party took place as arranged on both Saturday and Sunday, with good attendance and good sharing and meeting-each-other, except that Stephen couldn’t join because he was too tired. As Marion Steeg said, (a thousand heartfelt thanks to Marion who organized the party from the beginning!) it sank in finally what Stephen wanted, which was for his friends and family all to meet each other, and for him to be the connector, which he surely was. Lots of people who had heard about each other got to put faces to names and hear about other sides of Stephen’s life, and Marion had us go ‘round and record greetings and personal messages. We sang Happy Birthday a couple of times, once with a common starting note! Another wonderful aspect for me was the warmth I felt seeing friends of Stephen’s I haven’t seen in a long time. Justin Lin was the Zoom-master who made things possible technically, and he has recordings to share. He appeared as a birthday cake, though towards the end we got to see the person behind the frosting. When I get an edited version (no promises yet) I’ll put a link here. At the very least it’s nice to think that Stephen will be able to see the whole event later (8 hours start to finish) and enjoy people’s interactions and messages over the coming days.
 
So, for why Stephen didn’t show up. Last week was his second week of radiation and chemo, and even on Friday before the party he sounded wiped out and even said some things that were a bit confused. I skipped over Saturday but called him at 7 PM on Sunday when he didn’t show up. He had to be woken up and soon after we spoke he texted “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.” 
 
Then the medical: yesterday afternoon we got a call from Stephen’s doctor at Davies Medical Center, to give an update. He reported that Stephen was having rapid breathing and irregular heartbeat, and that in order to help determine the cause they were going to take him for a CT scan. They hoped to be able to tell if it was tumor-related or blood-clot related. It proved to be the latter, and he called a second time to say Stephen had had a pulmonary embolism, meaning in his case blood clots in both lungs, the good news being that “he dodged a bullet” since depending on which side of the heart is involved blood clots can go either to the lungs or the brain. And with blood thinners and other medications his rapid breathing and heart rhythm are somewhat stabilized. They’re going to suspend the cancer treatment for a day or two to monitor his progress though they can return to that if things go well. It was Carol and my first time talking to the doctor, so I’m glad to have made that connection: he was very caring and articulate. We also got to meet by phone Stephen’s special friend there, Linda the palliative care nurse, whom he wrote about earlier because she had attended George School where our mother had gone, and who knew some people in common with Stephen in the Quaker world.
 
All in all a very mixed report: I’m sorry not to have had anything to post earlier, but glad to be able to catch people up. Thanks to everyone who made it to the birthday party, (with apologies for any and all technical glitches), or were there in spirit.
 
 
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