One side-effect of living in the era of social media is that you leave a documentary trail behind you, little crumbs of tweets, messages, snapshots that one can use to retrace one's steps in time, to remember the moment and to know the exact time when some event happened.
Here's an example:
I sent this message to my mother on August 8, 2011, the very last day I was in the hospital after a thirteen month spiraling decline caused by an extremely rare autoimmune disease called systemic capillary leak syndrome.
And here's another, sent a little over a week earlier:
This, too, was sent to my mother on the day I entered the hospital for the very last time. I was in the emergency room at the New York Columbia-Presbyterian hospital on 168th Street on the upper west side of Manhattan. I was pretty sure I was dying. I was forty-five years old, and I felt that it would be appropriate for my mother to be with me.
For three years I have been (reasonably) well. This year, on the third anniversary of my last hospitalization, I married Erica Meinhardt. August 8 is also Erica's birthday. We picked the date to get married because it seemed to make sense to us -- her birth day and my "rebirth day" she calls it.
We got married by a judge in a New York divorce court. My ex-wife was there and signed my marriage license as a witness. I told her she was my "best man". She seemed to like that. Since this is my third time getting married, I often refer to my first ex-wife (the one at the wedding) as my favorite ex-wife. She things that's funny, too, because that's the kind of person she is and she really is my favorite ex-wife.
I've recently decided I want to tell the story of what happened to me during that week three years ago, and this post is the start of the story.