From basketball to biking and weight-lifting to salsa dancing - our Dad has stayed active his entire life. His health, as he always likes to say, is wealth. In the last 10 years he has gotten into Salsa dancing and is very proud of the community of dancers he has become a part of in NYC. Growing up, he brought his daughters to many dance events including family weekend rituals to have breakfast feasts filled with the sounds of MoTown, Country, Funky Christmas tunes, 60’s & 70’s Folk Rock, and Jazz, baby, Jazz. He loves to eat well - and has always been very involved in making the kinds of food choices that supported both the joy of the moment and the vision for the longer-term. While there’s a long list of delicious treats that make the favorites list -- he always says everything in moderation including moderation.
The extent of any medical maladies he has had to endure include minor athletic injuries and seasonal allergies. However, despite his best efforts to stay limber and well, he became immobilized by an aggravated knee-injury in February. It took all he had in him to arrange for surgical consult to get it fixed and plan for the road to recovery. In coordinating all the moving parts of a surgery recovery he had to leave his apartment twice in March. It was within that limited time-frame he contracted the COVID-19 virus which he first mistook for a seasonal battle against his allergies.
Unfortunately, the virus spread through his system over those first 10-days spent at home, until his breathing drastically deteriorated on March 29th at which time he humbly brought himself to the New York Presbyterian E.R. He stayed in the E.R. on oxygen and was confirmed to be COVID positive the evening of March 31st. He was admitted to the hospital and waited for a bed to open up. A few hours later, at 4:00 AM - we received the call that they would urgently need to intubate Dad as he was not getting sufficient levels of oxygen in his system -- we each had a single fleeting minute over FaceTime to attempt to convince our Dad that intubation was temporary and this wasn’t our final goodbye (suffice to say, it wasn’t easy -- and it definitely felt as if we may never see our father again).
Then began the journey of a medically-induced coma and life support in the ICU, multiple organ failure, experimental off-label drug use, multiple blood transfusions, and a revolving door of doctors and nurses trying to save his life. Upon being told that our father had a 10% chance of survival we all rallied our social networks to amp up get-well dances, prayers, and endless good vibes. With the work of a dear family friend, we were able to upload music and recordings of our voices to a mp3 player and have it hand-delivered to a nurse in the ICU. Over the next 10-days he went from less than 10% chance of survival to over 50% chance of survival. It’s truly incredible what love and connection did to spark hope and healing alongside all of the continuous hard work from the medical staff at New York Presbyterian. He has continued to improve and is now awaiting medical clearance to transition fully off of ventilation support and begin breathing with the support of the tracheostomy - a step closer to medical independence.
Presently he’s battling the very real traumatic impact of being intubated and sedated for a month, in an ICU for over a month, and completely bed-ridden. He has been experiencing the re-emergence of PTSD from his time in the Navy during Vietnam, multiple and massively painful pressure ulcers, life-threatening ventilator infections, and terrifying delirium from being in critical condition for so long - a condition that’s now known as Post Intensive Care Syndrome.
We are doing the best we possibly can as his family to mitigate the damage and support him in this transition period with a pointed direction towards thriving. However, there’s also a very real possibility that Dad will not be able to live-alone anymore and will need to be relocated out of his beloved NYC to live with one of his daughters.
So, with much consideration we have decided to create this Go-Fund Me campaign to have a place for those who wish, and are able, to support the after-care that our Dad will surely need.
The donations you choose to contribute will be put towards out-of-pocket medical costs for hospital stay, rehabilitation hospital/care facility costs, in-home support costs, therapy (physical and mental), supportive items not covered by insurance but integral for his healing, and potential renovation costs to either help him live in a more conducive apartment in his hometown of NYC or create a place for our father in one of his daughter’s homes.
Whether it’s salsa dancing in Central Park or “cornbread-a-cating” (making cornbread) for his daughters in the kitchen, we are holding onto the vision that our father will dance again. It will be a long road and we hope to see you all lovingly cheering him on, offering energy boosts, and celebrating at the finish line!
We want to do everything we can to support our Dad being able to live the life he loves again and to remind him just how incredibly loved he is, that he can do this, and that he doesn’t have to do it alone. We are grateful for all who have supported our family through this crisis via local help in New York City to get our father the items he urgently needs, gifts to the hospital staff, get-well dances, good vibes, and prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read this, for giving whatever you feel moved from your heart to give, and for sharing this with your network of loving humans who are able to share and support. We appreciate you and we look forward to dancing with you soon!
Lenn’s “Wittle Peoples”
*Vanessa, Melissa, & Teressa Bryant*