Quick Holly Update


Thanks for all the questions about her status. I just spoke with my friend Kim, and got a lot of details on what happened. Up until a little bit ago, every conversation was basically focused on how is she right now, and I never had the backstory.

Apparently, she woke up before breakfast, told her boyfriend/fiance (I’m unsure of their status because I basically don’t give a shit what other people are doing in their relationships and my eyes glaze over. I mean, if someone is married, I get it, but I just don’t even try to figure out the nuances in other relationships. Not happening in my bedroom, so I don’t give a fuck) she had the worst headache in the world, stood up, fell over, and started convulsing. Her significant other rushed her to the hospital.

According to Kim, she had a basal aneurysm near the base of her skull (and if that is redundant, I apologize), and this morning they attempted to do what is called a coiling procedure, but that was unsuccessful. The good news is that she was healthy enough to undergo the procedure and her lungs and heart are fine, and the bad news is it failed and they will have to do a more invasive clipping procedure tomorrow.

The biggest silver lining in all of this is that this happened while she was in NYC with her SO, and not here in Bethany, because she is now in the center of the universe when it comes to excellent health care. If you are going to have an aneurysm, do it while being white and insured in NYC or in the lobby of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Tomorrow, a surgeon who is a renowned expert in the clipping procedure (I forget her name) will be performing the riskier procedure on Holly, so she really is in the best hands in the world.

The other bright spot is that Holly was alert and communicative, able to write notes and capable of understanding what was going on around her and recognizing speech and responding to people, so that is just great news. It’s funny the things you think about, though. I was talking to Kim and one of the first thoughts I had was “I wonder if she paid her water, gas and electric. Should we try to pay that for her?” “Should I go tell the Postmistress tomorrow to hold her mail?”

63 replies
  1. 1
    kdaug says:

    One objective at a time. Accomplish it, move on. Do not get overwhelmed.

  2. 2
    ulee says:

    She’s excused, Epstein’s Mother. Thoughts for you and yours, Cole.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    John, thank you for posting this. I’m glad she’s in the best of hands. Will continue to do whatever an atheignostic’s version of “praying” is called.

    It sounds as though in a town the size of Bethany you (or someone) could easily check on things like mail hold, utilities, and so on. Are there any pets? If Holly was away with her SO, I imagine they’re already being taken care of, but, you know….

    P.S. What’s the story behind that wonderful photo? So cute!

  4. 4
    MomSense says:

    I was talking to Kim and one of the first thoughts I had was “I wonder if she paid her water, gas and electric. Should we try to pay that for her?” “Should I go tell the Postmistress tomorrow to hold her mail?”

    And this right here is why you are awesome, John.

    Keeping Holly in my thoughts.

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    And this right here is why you are awesome, John.


  6. 6
    satby says:

    Ok, keeping the good wishes going. Sounds like she’s in the best possible hands.

  7. 7
    sherparick says:

    Hoping all go well. Tough break.

    Dean Baker linked to story on Pro Publica about problem of paying for clinical trials when a drug can’t be patented. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/.....e+Press%29 & http://www.propublica.org/arti.....treatments

    If we can crowd source movies, why not clinical trials?

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    Glad things are going as well as they are. Will keep her in my thoughts.

    As for taking care of mundane tasks like paying bills, that’s not a bad idea to check up on. Getting behind on bills can fuck with someone’s credit and that’s the last thing she needs now. It’s probably not the kind of thing anyone is thinking about but it’s the kind of help that will be greatly appreciated down the road. Maybe one of her friends knows or can find out how her accounts are set up–are things auto-paid, will she continue to have income while in the hospital, etc.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Thank you for the update. Since Holly is special to you, she is special for us also. It’s the way it works here.

  10. 10
    max says:

    According to Kim, she had a basal aneurysm near the base of her skull (and if that is redundant, I apologize), and this morning they attempted to do what is called a coiling procedure, but that was unsuccessful.

    OK, well, base of the skull means if something goes wrong, she won’t suffer from the effects people associate with brain damage (slurred speech, etc. etc.). The bad part is that if it had gone off hard, she might have stopped breathing. (Thus the concerns for heart and lungs, yes?)

    She’s still in pretty good shape, as you say. Just got to find the procedure that works.

    I was talking to Kim and one of the first thoughts I had was “I wonder if she paid her water, gas and electric. Should we try to pay that for her?” “Should I go tell the Postmistress tomorrow to hold her mail?”

    She should be in the hospital for at least another week even if the next procedure is 100%, so go ahead and do that and whatever.

    [‘On the ball, Cole! Keep it up.’]

  11. 11
    Citizen_X says:

    Good to hear she’s okay so far. Good on you being the mensch, John.

  12. 12
    cbear says:

    Thanks for the update, Cole. Hoping for the best.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    Thanks for the update and backstory. I hope all goes well for your friend Holly.

  14. 14
    CaseyL says:

    Thanks for the update; I’ve been thinking about you and Holly all day and checking the blog frequently.

    I will keep on pulling for the lass for a good-to-great outcome.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    Cole, see if you or someone can figure out when any of her credit card bills need to be paid. The credit card companies aren’t very understanding when it comes to things like being in the hospital. The utility companies will actually be much nicer about it than the credit card companies.

  16. 16
    The Dangerman says:


    Should I go tell the Postmistress tomorrow to hold her mail?

    Don’t bother the postmistress; do it over the web. You are doing the PO a favor (mail collecting in the box, which could eventually have to be collected to return to sender) and you won’t have to tell the person what is going on (which could be considered private). In the PO’s eyes, you are an “authorized representative” in this scenario and can use the website.

    ETA: Do clear her mailbox if you are able, of course.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    “Postmistress” sounds really kinky.

  18. 18
    Angela says:

    Thanks for the update. I will be holding Holly and her surgeons in the Light tomorrow. You are a mensch and I love this pic of her.

  19. 19
    RobertDSC-Power Mac G5 Dual says:

    Thank you, John.

    More good thoughts headed her way.

  20. 20
    CaseyL says:

    Meant to mention, but the Edit function wouldn’t let me, that the hospital might want to keep her for longer than one week. They like to keep an eye on aneurysm patients for up to 2 weeks, to make sure there’s no more bleeding.

  21. 21
    gogol's wife says:

    I didn’t want to offend you, but when you said yesterday she was in NYC, I thought, “Thank God she’s not in West Virginia!”

    Still praying, still hoping for the best possible outcome. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  22. 22
    Seanly says:

    Sorry to hear that the coiling didn’t work.

    John, I know you don’t know me from shit, but be there for Holly not just now, not just in a couple of months, but for the long haul. My wife’s treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is going well, but after 3 months, it is just me & her and folks liking my updates on Facebook.

    My life during her 2 week hospital stays have devolved to wake up, go to hospital for a morning visit, go to work (where I sit in a cubicle all day), home to take care of dog, bed. I went to see a movie last weekend by myself and being out with other humans around felt so foreign & unreal.

    So help your friend now and don’t forget about her in 6 months when she seems to be doing better.

  23. 23
    cthulhu says:

    Well, she’s certainly better off given where and when. The where part: access to a great doctor/facility. The when part: advances in neurosurgery such that these clipping procedures are far more routine. My mom had a berry aneurysm near her hippocampus in the early 1990s. At that point, the standard procedure was to sit around for a week or more in the ICU and wait to see if it burst. I believe we were fortunate that my mom had a neurosurgeon who was both up on his technical skills and his read of the literature: the surgery increased the risk of immediate death but decreased the overall risk compared to waiting.

    It all worked out save a loss of about two months of memory (probably good) and a blunting of her emotions which she has more or less learned to deal with.

  24. 24
    RSR says:

    I was talking to Kim and one of the first thoughts I had was “I wonder if she paid her water, gas and electric. Should we try to pay that for her?” “Should I go tell the Postmistress tomorrow to hold her mail?”

    Yes, excellent. Little shite like that can easily get overlooked, and fixing the credit report later will be a bigger hassle than paying the balance.

    I have some bills that are automatic every month, but others that I review, and manually schedule. (I should really review all that with my wife at some point; I’m the Accounts Payable dept in the house and if…)

  25. 25
    Pogonip says:

    I will keep my fingers crossed

    John’s always emphasizing how small his town is. I looked it up. He ain’t kidding. No wonder everybody knows everybody.

    John, are you bothered by the lack of diversity in Bethany? Is it boring?

  26. 26
    ulee says:

    Oh, fuck em if they can’t take a joke. It can’t always be violets and roses. Cole allows me to comment, bless his heart, and Anne Laurie, too. She’s a good writer, and she gets up earlier than any of us. Someone’s gotta pay the bills. Come on Cole, get USAA on this site.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    In a prior thread someone mentioned that BJers who live in NYC could be called on to help. I want to repeat that. If her SO or family members need help with anything, please consider connecting him/them to the NYC BJers. I imagine that having something this serious happen while you’re visiting someplace that isn’t home presents different problems. We know the city and we can try to help. (Even something as simple as bringing him outside food into the hospital.)

    Will continue thinking prayers for Holly, her SO, family, friends and you JC.

  28. 28
    John Cole says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Just her on vacation in Bali with her SO. She’s actually from NYC, and still has an apt. there with her SO, who is a sports photographer for the AP- he’s really, really talented.

    She teaches down here and lives here during the school year, and she is back for a few weeks at a time during the summer, but she and her SO do a lot of traveling. She’s one of those people who live a spartan yet comfortable life during the work hours, but then goes out and does shit in the real world. She’s kind of a whirlwind. If it is Thanksgiving break, they are in Bali. If it is spring break, they are in Mexico. Etc. You guys know the type.

    That’s why this is so frustrating. She’s like the happy, positive, energetic opposite of me with my cynical sedentary lifestyle, but for some reason she has a fucking stroke and I am sitting here on the couch watching SOA and chewing on sunflower seeds.

    The worst part of all of this is the toll on my friend Brooke, who is her best friend. She’s just a basket case, but she can not go and see her because they are both Religious Studies profs, and being Bethany College, they are basically the department, so Brooke has to cover all her classes while raising a toddler.

    Things are fucked up and bullshit.

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I hope things improve for you and your wife. Your advice to John (to all of us, really) is well taken. It’s so easy to say, Well, I sent over a casserole when I first got the news, and then never think of the day-to-day, not to mention social and emotional, needs, down the road.

    Don’t know where you live, but if you’re anywhere within driving distance of me (Atlanta), I’d be glad to lend whatever kind of hand is wanted.

  30. 30
    Pogonip says:

    @PurpleGirl: That’s a really good idea! I don’t live in NY but I hope those who do see your suggestion.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @John Cole:

    The more you write about Holly, the more awesome she sounds. Didn’t realize the strain it would be on the RS program at Bethany (mainly because until this moment, I had no idea that was what she did). Has to be rough on Brooke, personally and professionally. I’ll add her to the list of people I’m keeping in my thoughts, heart, etc.

  32. 32
    kc says:

    Thanks for the update. Hoping for the best for her.

  33. 33
    RSA says:

    Best of luck to Holly. I’ve been in the same position as her boyfriend/fiance, and it’s devastating. I hope it works out for both of them.

  34. 34
    Alison says:

    Thanks for the update John, and I’m glad to here she’s getting the best care possible. Sending lots of good thoughts your (and her) way.

  35. 35
    ulee says:

    @ulee: Sorry John, I meant for my comment to respond to your Streets of Tulsa post. Good thoughts for your sister.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @John Cole: Best wishes to Brooke too. Let Brooke know that she’s helping as much as possible by covering Holly’s classes for her. And as others have noted, when Holly is back at work she’ll still probably need things and Brooke can continue to help then, even when others may have forgotten or moved on. That’s what friends are for.

  37. 37
    mai naem says:

    I posted but mah post disappeared. I was glad you mentioned NYC on the last post. From the initial post I was thinking it had happened in Bethany and she’d lost time being transported to Pittsburgh. She’s young which helps because I think docs make more of an effort to help younger people because they feel this person’s still got a full life in front of her.

  38. 38
    Honus says:

    @cthulhu: @gogol’s wife: actually one of the best neurosurgery facilities in the world is located about a half hour from Bethany at the University of Pittsburgh. When I first heard about this I thought “oh my god I hope she’s not having neurosurgery at wheeling hospital” but quickly remembered the Pitt facility and became optimistic because that is about as god a place as you can be with brain problem.

  39. 39
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Seanly: @Seanly:

    I can empathize. My wife had a valve in her heart replaced and the color drained right out of the world for me.

    @John Cole:

    You’re doing the right things. I will hold Holly, and you , in my thoughts.

  40. 40
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Thanks for the update. Good thoughts for Holly, her SO, friends, and family, along with Brooke specifically. Positive thoughts held also for the procedure tomorrow.

    Seanly, keeping you and your wife in my thoughts as well.

  41. 41
    Keith G says:

    Not to nitpick, but…
    If you are going to have an aneurysm, do it while being white having good economic resources and insured in NYC or in the lobby of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

    Sometimes its more about the resources (economic status) than it is about DNA or ethnic identity.

  42. 42
    Suzanne says:

    I’m so glad to hear that she seems to be stable and doing well so far. One of my clients had an aneurysm last year, and he is back to his normal life 100%, so I am sure that the surgery will work out tomorrow. Best wishes.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    Thanks for the update. Sounds good. Positive thoughts continuing.

  44. 44
    dp says:

    Thanks for this. Thoughts, prayers, good wishes sent up all round.

  45. 45
    Jane2 says:

    @Seanly: Best wishes for your wife’s recovery. If you live within driving distance of the Canadian border (the prairie part, that is), I’d be happy to lend a hand with what you need.

    John, sounds like Holly’s doing as well as can be expected. And good on you for thinking of the practical things that have big repercussions down the road…like bills.

  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the update. Continued prayers for her.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    Sometimes its more about the resources (economic status) than it is about DNA or ethnic identity.

    Sadly, no. It really is about race.

  48. 48
    Punchy says:

    So Holly is the chick, not the monkey, eh?

  49. 49
    The Dangerman says:

    One more thing about holding mail; the time limit for held mail is 30 days and the PO is really strict about that limit (at least my carrier was; I guess they can get in a shitload of trouble if they go over 30). Consider forwarding it to wherever if you think her being away could be for longer than 30 days (someone said she will be hospitalized for 2 weeks, IIRC).

  50. 50
    Anne Laurie says:

    Holding Holly (and her SO, and Brooke, and you) in my prayers, John.

    Maybe you can bring Brooke some ready-to-heat meals, or at least tell her, “Give me a shopping list, and I’ll pick up groceries/dry cleaning/sundries/whatever”? Not much you can do to help with the toddler, I suspect, but could she (or Holly) use some help with yardwork?

  51. 51
    Scamp Dog says:

    I’m glad the news is good so far, and I am still thinking supportive thoughts, but that photo has me hearing the voice of Inspector Cleuseau asking “do you have a lai-SAINCE for that minkey?”

  52. 52
    jnfr says:

    All best wishes and beams from here, John. You are such a good friend.

  53. 53
    columbusqueen says:

    Wishing for the best, with much love.

    PS Sorry about rubbing salt in your wounds, but how ’bout them Jackets! :’)

  54. 54
    YellowJournalism says:

    @JPL: What JPL said. Good to hear she’s alert. Fingers crossed for a successful surgery.

    Does she have any pets that need to be looked after?

  55. 55
    Seanly says:

    Thanks for the well wishes. I didn’t mean to step on John’s update on his friend Holly. For the record, we live in Boise, ID. Only been there a couple of years. She’ll be going to Nashville (where she has family) for her BMT as they can’t do the allogenic BMT in Boise.

    My mother had an aneurysm that was successfully treated with the platinum coils. Her one lingering effect is that it was close to her right optic nerve and she suffers double vision & focus issues with that eye.

    I hope that John’s friend successfully recovers from her treatment.

  56. 56
    windpond says:

    How is it, John Cole, that you keep this site and its comments sane, respectful and amazing? I read comments from other sites and they are disgusting. Here, it’s caring family. How do you do that?

  57. 57
    Joel says:

    UPMC is a great medical center. No idea how far that is from your place, though.

  58. 58
    poptartacus says:

    hope she pulls through with flying colors, all the best for her.

  59. 59
    gogol's wife says:


    It is amazing, isn’t it?

  60. 60
    Elizabelle says:

    Holly’s an even more interesting person, with the passion for travel, and living in a small WV town while keeping an apartment in the big city.

    Thanks for the update. Keeping her and her photog boyfriend in my thoughts, wishing Holly a successful recovery and more world travels for both of them.

  61. 61
    Manyakitty says:

    @Anne Laurie: That is a brilliant idea! Also, if there’s a way to contact Holly’s SO, he might have other suggestions as situations arise.

    Peace and healing to the whole BJ fam.

  62. 62
    WaterGirl says:

    @Seanly: Seanly, that’s really good advice,I try to remember that, too.

    It really struck me after my dad died, people write notes and are very kind for a couple of weeks, but when the worst of the reality sets in, people have (understandably) moved on. That’s why I’m so glad that Betty Cracker is here at BJ; she is really doing us all a favor when she talks about her mom.

    (Actually, I am always grateful that Betty Cracker is here at BJ!)

  63. 63
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, my friend (that I talked about in the first Holly thread – the one who talked about being sure to hold her hand) worked a block or two away from the big hospital in Boston when his aneurism burst.

    If I recall correctly, he had some complication at the hospital, which is when he died (for a short time) and he happened to have a bunch of the specialists conferring at his bedside when it happened, which is probably why he is alive today.

    So “if this has to happen, NYC or the lobby of Johns Hopkins is a great place” is a very familiar thought!

    Love that photo! Praying for Holly, surgeons, family and friends today as she goes through the procedure today.

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