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Unexpectedly, Chicago

Posted in Life

I am writing this in my mom’s spare bedroom in Chicago, a city I love but was not planning to visit again till after Flipside — and certainly not this close to the annual event I am putting so much work into this year.

But last week, while attending a conference in the bay area, my mother ended up in a hospital in Oakland.

An ornate red door in Chicago's Old Town. Photo taken by Kit O'Connell in 2009.

The cause was a clogged left descending artery in her heart, and it came on suddenly and with very little warning. Fortunately she had a helpful coworker around and hotel staff who reacted seriously, and then even more fortunately landed in one of the better heart hospitals in the area.

She’s back at home and I flew to join her on Monday. Tuesday we went to her first cardio appointment together. She’s actually doing really well — the stents they installed have her back on her feet now, and everyone seems to feel that if she takes care of herself — continues to avoid smoking, takes her meds and attends a heart rehab program — that she will be alright. It’s both a relief and the kind of situation, clichéd in fiction as it is, that can genuinely be a turning point for a person. I’m also hopeful that it seems to have sparked more communication between my sister and I; we’d drifted apart a little through mutual busyness and physical distance.

Necessary as it was, and much as I enjoy being in Chicago, it was hard to leave Austin behind, busy with event preparation and balmy with 80 degree weather. It’s unseasonably cold even for this place, where weather has hovered in the 40s and 50s.

As I left I received copious support from all of my poly family, my friends, and even other bloggers and people on Twitter. Right before boarding my flight Monday afternoon, I received two emails in short succession from members of Burning Flipside‘s LLC — the people “in charge,” for legal purposes at least. Their thanks for my hard work, and the reminder that Flipside will be there to welcome me back on my return, almost moved me to tears and lifted my spirits more than they probably know.

In the meantime I’m going to enjoy spending some extra time with my mother, spend a little time exploring this great city, and hopefully see a friend or two. As it’s scheduled now, I’ll be back in Austin on Saturday night.

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