|With Michelle at Harborview, June 2010 |
photo by Clare McLean, University of Washington
Though I could be walking into a hell."
Last summer, I spent six weeks as Writer in Residence at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle’s county hospital. (Next week, I'll be returning to Harborview for the last -- for now -- phase of my residency, but more about that later....) For dozens of hours during those six summer weeks, I sat in the hospital room of Michelle Angeline Maria Alfonso-Buske, who was admitted to Harborview on June 9, 2010, when she woke up and could neither feel, nor move, her legs. I came to know both Michelle and her husband Bob; they both became heroes of mine.
Michelle and I chatted for dozens upon dozens of hours together. By "chat," I mean: I sat and took notes while Michelle talked. And talked. Thirty-eight-thousand words’ worth. The work of spinning those words into essays has just begun. In the meantime, here are just 250 of her words:
Michelle Talks About Facing Death: A Collage
|With Michelle and Bob Buske,|
on the first day Michelle is able to leave the wing of her hospital room.
photo by Peggy Weiss
P.S. My time with Michelle inspired to me to look up this information on living wills and advance medical directives.