I drove about an hour south today from Los Angeles to visit my dear friend Erika and her beautiful little girl Izzy who has been hospitalized for over two weeks. Izzy has Angelman Syndrome and was in status (seizures not stopping) so had to be put into a chemical-induced coma to allow her brain to rest. As if that's not enough to deal with, when they weaned her from the coma, she got into a little trouble with her breathing and adjusting to life outside of intubation, so she's still in the PICU, struggling. The amazing thing about Erika is that despite a hellish few weeks, she not only looks adorable but continues to laugh uproariously at all the absurdities of this life -- like the sign above that welcomes one to Fountain Valley, a city basically off a huge Southland highway that's one of the plainest and most nondescript places you could ever imagine. That motto A Nice Place to Live was written for the likes of Erika and me who survive this bizarre world we live in by reveling in the absurdity quite literally. When Phil, Erika's very adorable husband arrived, I took Erika away from the little hospital to a nearby strip mall where we enjoyed delicious Greek food and exchanged horror stories. Erika shared a bit of her reading with me (dark tales of dissociation and split personality), I told her about my own dissociation during a visit to a brain surgeon years earlier, and we agreed that hard-core brain surgery for our girls was a line we'd probably never cross. We were actually shrieking together at one point, over the voices of the Vietnamese who have evidently settled in vast numbers in Fountain Valley because fountains are blessed? While my own horror stories pale in comparison to Erika's, the camaraderie between us is something that I just feel profoundly blessed by and another reason why these internets are just a powerful place to connect to others.
I'm sending all my love and healing thoughts to little Miss Izzy, who, while currently hospitalized in a nice place to live, must get better soon and go back to her little house by the sea. As for Erika, I'm hoping she'll get to wash and style her hair at some point soon.