May 11, 2018

Brian Kellow

In an email from Kushi we learned:

     At last I feel like we have something to update—other than grumbling and grousing about bureaucracy in the healthcare world...

      The shunt was clearly the right way to go; Brian slowly started to regain his strength, lift his left arm and leg a bit, and comprehend more about his situation. I took it as a very good sign that he put the TV on once in a while. Earlier, he said that TV, music, and reading all confused him, and “distracted” him...

        Rusk, which is an acute rehab facility of NYU-Langone on East 17th and Second Avenue, deals with a lot of TBI (traumatic brain injuries) as well as PT. His intake doc and nurse were lovely: empathetic and kind, able to get the picture quickly. Brian is worried that he will be “ thrown back” if he gives a wrong answer. All he wants is to have his life restored: to hang with the kitties and me on our bed watching TCM, and to write again. He is still shaky on the answers of many of the questions they ask for intake – – I think mostly because things changed so quickly today: this morning he was uptown at New York Presbyterian and then suddenly whisked away in an ambulance, and way downtown at another facility. So he thought Giuliani was president, the year was 2014 or 2008, and that we were still in Miami. Right now he seems to “cherry pick” from a cognitive landscape. And if he hears something on the TV, or something is said in an earlier conversation, it may pop up as the answer to one of their questions. And the sweet boy always *apologizes* when he gets the answer wrong. It is heartbreaking.

        I made sure that they understood that just a couple of months ago, this man was writing a new book (SHELF LIFE, a memoir about the books that were in Jack and Marj’s bookcase, that shaped the reader and writer that Brian has become) in the wee hours of the morning when steroids made it so difficult to stay asleep through the night.

        Although close to the nurses’ station, his room was fairly quiet. Odd use of space, though. Brian’s bed is right as you enter the room, facing the window, except that he has a roommate whose bed is beside the window, facing the perpendicular wall (as you’d expect). So bed 1 actually faces a drape, behind which is bed 2 and the window.

        Wednesday starts with several hours of intensive therapy both mental and physical. He will meet his entire team of doctors and therapists. The staff that I met, and who already got him settled and later changed him, were very kind, good humored, and patient. No one just going through the motions.

       I’m concerned that Brian is so convincing when he gives information, which is not always accurate. Someone (he can’t remember who) gave him a book about Bernstein, which Brian is convinced is one of the five books he wrote. Only sometimes it’s three books. And he got a little weepy telling the new nurse about the train that he and his old dog used to chase. When we were alone, I asked him about it. Turns out it was mostly about “Petticoat Junction”, the 60’s spinoff from “Beverly Hillbillies”! Even operating at less than 100%, his mind is incredibly quick and creative.

       Thanks to everyone who has visited; as much as he protests, I think it’s important to ground Brian in his real life. He misses that life so terribly. Last night I realized that he’s been mostly in one facility or another since February 6, and for much of that time, bedbound.

       Brian was to have co-hosted the Gerda Lissner awardees concert last Sunday. The delightful Midge Woolsey flew solo, but thoughtfully told the Zankel Hall audience of his plight, and then videoed the whole group of Brian fans and friends wishing him a speedy recovery. Thanks to Conny Beigel, Steve DeMaio, and of course, Midge.

      After Brian is at Rusk for a few days, I’ll update. In the meanwhile, don’t hesitate to text, email, or call me if you need to.

     Oh yes—although the apartment looks like a rummage sale (I’m just too pooped at night to do much), the cats are slowly getting used to their blended family. Betty still banshee-screams, but less frequently. And Joxie is into everything, knocking over breakables whenever possible. That’s one way to reduce the clutter...

Brian’s new digs:

Rusk Institute at NYU-Langone Orthopedic Hospital

301 East 17th Street Room 904

New York, NY 10003

24 visiting hours (within reason)

They do all the therapies starting at 9 am.

Also: right now Brian is being treated as diabetic from the combination of steroids and no physical activity. He gets insulin at mealtime. So no candy or carbs.

If you can find a sugar-free Klondike, or vanilla pudding cup, he might take it.

         Keep those prayers and good thoughts coming. We need them, and appreciate them! And thank you to all who remind me that the caregiver needs care too. I’m buoyed up by so many angels, and you never have to worry about me and food—I made Irish soda bread for the week, some puréed cauliflower soup for Brian and me, and a great clam chowder.

Love from Kushi


621 W 172nd ST. APT 67

NEW YORK, NY  10032

212 787.0582

917 435.1927 mobile


Please ask your Divine Spirit Teachers and Guides to continue to send Strong Healing Prayers to Brian, in his new digs, and wrap Brian in a Blue Blanket of Healing while he continues to work his way towards healing.  Please also ask the Divine Spirit to continue giving Kushi strength to be a World-Class Caregiver for Brian.

And may your Good Deeds be returned to you, many-fold.  Thank you all, very much!

Healing Buddha Image

Healing Buddha Image