Kage Baker always said that it didn’t matter where you started, as long as you did, actually start. But today being the first of September, it just seemed like a nice, tidy place to pick up this utterly unravelled skein of a blog.

First, Dear Readers, I apologize for the quality of this entry, and for any moth holes in its fabric. It’s been literally months since I tried to type two-handed; my right hand is still pretty numb (explanation later); the equipment is brand new – my brilliant nephew Michael found a way to instruct me how to add a real keyboard to my Kindle; and I am constantly interrupted by medical staff requiring my blood or attention.

Second, it’s gonna take days to explain the many weird twists and turns of the last 6 months. but I can start with a brief recap of my adventures in the maw of the medical system.

On March 16th I went into Glendale Memorial Hospital for repair of my mitral valve: as close to a minor open heart surgery as there is. And the procedure went flawlessly – I should have been home within a week, and pretty much back to normal by May. However …

I have a condition called delayed response to anesthesia. It means I wake up late, slowly, and usually fairly insane. Kimberly knows this, and has for years accompanied me to my surgeries, to ease me back into consciousness and protect everyone else from my amiable hallucinations. But, with the city in the throes of Covid 19, Kimberly was not permitted to be with me. (Later on, she and Michael would not even be allowed in the hospital. This has been a tragedy for many families, and damn near was for us.)

I didn’t wake up when expected. In fact, I didn’t wake up for the next 3 weeks. Somewhere during this, my panicked anesthesiologist determined that my breathing tube was actually beginning to damage my mouth. I now have a new scar at one corner. I rather fancy it enhances my sneer. But in order to prevent further damage – my throat was beginning to swell – they gave me a tracheostomy, stuffed my esophagus full of plastic tubing, and stuck me on a ventilator.

For 3 weeks, the hospital staff kept telling Kimberly – who was still not allowed to see for herself – that I was “gone”. As in, no longer at home, nor ever would be. They told her I had had a massive stroke, though my EEG was clear. But my darling little cardiac surgeon insisted that I was responsive, at least to her: my eyes opened, I squeezed her hand. I apparently had a grudge against the Glendale Memorial staff.

But thanks to my doctor’s careful monitoring, and Kimberly’s intractable refusal to pull the plug on me, I finally returned to the world.

I don’t remember anything about this, except for many violent nightmares. In fact, I’ve also lost most of early March and all of February. Retrograde amnesia is not uncommon in cases of coma, I am told.

Some things of which I am sure though, Dear Readers. Always try to engage the sympathies of your surgeon; they may end up fighting for your life long after your incision heals. And, if at all possible, make sure you have a loving, stubborn sister (or relative of your choice). She will have your back. And your medical Power of Attorney.

Well, that wasn’t very brief. And there is lots more to tell. I am only just now to the point where I CAN tell it, and stay awake long enough to do so.

But I’m alive. And I’m back.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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24 Responses to Revenant

  1. Elizabeth Howell says:

    So glad to hear from you! Nessa kept us up to date… but to hear your “voice” is wonderful!


  2. Stacey Weinberger says:

    I am SO glad you are back!!! Tom and I have missed you so much. ❤ We still have "ask Kathleen, she'll know" conversations.


  3. Kelly says:

    Welcome Back!!! It is so wonderful to hear you again 🙂


  4. jenfullmoon says:

    Holy shit! Glad you are out of it!


  5. Mike young says:

    My god mother. I knew you were ill but had no idea how serious this was. Liz Martin, Kate Breckenridge and I are glad to hear of your recovery.

    Thanks to Kimberley.


  6. Mervius says:

    This is amazing! Glad you made it!


  7. Yikes! Make that double yikes! Poor Kimberley and Michael, and the rest of your support team! Medical horror show. Very very glad your surgeon was on your side, and you are not a casualty of the current situation in hospitals. It’s great to see you writing again, hope you get sprung soon!


  8. debraji says:

    When I saw your name in my email queue, I began to grin from ear to ear. I’m so glad you’ve made it through! I wonder if it feels like you’ve woken up in an alternate timeline. (It feels like that to me, and I haven’t been through your battles.) I look forward to hearing the rest of your tale.


  9. Jane Sandmeier says:

    Wonderfully told! Further proof that you are back. Bless your tireless sister, nephew, & that fantastic surgeon! I’m making notes to learn from your awful trials. Thanks for coming back to this world. I know it was a painful journey !


  10. buggybite says:



  11. johnbrownson says:

    Kate, words cannot fully express how grateful I am to hear your voice, again- and with such a tale to tell! Your friends, all over the world, are smiling tonight. Love, to you and yours.


  12. ameliastonebreaker says:

    Huzzah! I am very happy to have you back in the land of the living and I raise my glass to your tenacity and Kimberly’s faith. Here’s to you getting back home with your family and assorted animals.


    • Becky Miller says:

      OK, so that Ameila Stonebreaker account is me, Becky.

      I have to say, you always do things in an interesting manner. Nothing so easy as regular open heart surgery for you, right? All kidding aside, I am very glad you are back.


  13. Dina says:

    I’m so thankful that you are back.With all the world turned upside-down, some of us have retreated. I was delighted to see that you were surfacing, but holy Jebus Kate. I had no idea. Like the fire-bird YOU Rise. Thanks to Kimberley & your cardiac surgeon for making sure you didn’t fall thru the cracks of the Medical System.


  14. What an excellent treat (if an adventure for you). Dazzled, grateful, and so very pleased to see your name in the incoming mail flolder. Your sister and your cardiac surgeon deserve our thanks. But the warrior who prevailed is you! Long may you wave!!!!


  15. Lynn says:

    I had ten emails to read and saved the best (yours) for last. Kathleen, I am so very happy to hear your voice again. Blessings on Kimberley, Michael and your surgeon for keeping you alive, recovering and us informed to your progress. We had no idea that you’d gone through as much as you have and I’m grateful that it’s finally , mostly, behind you. Welcome back to the new version of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mark says:

    Always knew you were a fighter… But I’m equally glad to hear (but not surprised) that the fighters you have surrounded yourself with had your back when you were down the rabbit hole. Cue a theme song…


  17. Matthew says:

    All of the hugs and love and mendy mendy juju! So glad you’re back among the cogent 🙂


  18. Gwendolyn C. Cone says:

    I am so glad that you are still among the living and have such lovely and dedicated people to advocate and care for you. I have extremely fond memories of you (and Kage) from the way way back of Northern in the early 1980s. I love her writing, and yours, and am wishing you and yours the best.


  19. Margie Adams says:

    I was wondering… YIKES… a fwiw you put my latest stroke (3 weeks ago) to shame w/your reaction!


  20. Beth says:

    Thank goodness! So glad to have you back again. And what a story, what an experience. Hooray for survival! May you be home again soon.


  21. Luisa Puig says:

    Huzzah! Best. News. EVER! {{{ ❤ }}}


  22. Dorothea Hudec says:

    What good news to see that you are back! Best wishes for a quick and comfortable recovery. You have been missed.


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