Mark has moved from the hospital to a care facility. He is comfortable and getting attentive, responsive, dignified care in an environment that supports his needs and the needs of our family. Your donations have made this happen. We are grateful.
On February 12th I wrote this post on Mark's Facebook page.
We (Mark's family) have been wrapping our hearts and minds around the knowledge that Mark's path is not the path we hoped for. He is not progressing toward recovery. Even as an adult we all occasionally have a feeling that if we don't say the truth maybe it won't be true. But, in this moment, I feel brave and I know my words won't make the difference between recovery and loss. Pray for Mark - peace for him, acceptance and peace for us, comfort in our connection through our love for Mark.
Update Wednesday February 5th.
Mark was taken off the ventilator today and he is breathing on his own. His brain is doing that job. He has been more agitated at night and quiet during the day. The pattern of a DJ I suppose. He is keeping the night nurse busy.
I've been posting on Facebook on Mark's page, but realized some of you may not be on Facebook but want to know of Mark's condition. Here are the day to day updates
Sunday January 27th
I know you are all eager for news of Mark's condition. It's been a lot of hurry up and wait in the past day. It feels like it’s been a year! He has not been transferred. No bed open yet at Jackson Memorial and he needs it bad. His case is complicated. Imagine, Mark being complicated! We are waiting and watching. And we are talking with him a lot. I told him how proud he would be of his son, Alec Leventhal who was on the news last night in his honor. I told him he would have teased me about my outfit if he saw the piece but that he would like the message. I told him that Nancy and I went to Lincoln Rd last night in search of clothes (my down coat isn't serving me well here). I told Mark that Nancy and I missed him and it didn't feel right being on Lincoln Rd without him. We ate at Haven and our server was amazing to us when we both started sobbing at the table instead of ordering! She was just the right kind of medicine for us. The "Diva" was tasty. Keep the love coming.
What we have all been reminded from this tragedy is that Mark is a charismatic, talented, creative, influential man with a big heart. Those who know him well as a friend and family member know he is a proud, private man. As such, he may have been sicker than he let on to any of us. We are heartened by how his current medical team is working hard to give him the level of care he needs. He is a fighter and he’s fighting hard now. Thanks for your support. It is overwhelming. I think I will need a thesaurus to replace my use of the words “amazing” and “overwhelming” in the days to come. And "thanks for your support" doesn't cut it either. My wordsmithing has been compromised by sleep but I think you all get it. Sending the love out there from the Leventhals.
I will not underestimate the power of this community! And if there is something he needs that could make a difference I will ask.
Given the acuity of Mark's medical status, Mark is not going to be visited by anyone except family for now. Please continue keeping him in your prayers.
We have shifted from and hour by hour focus to a day to day. He's got a great mix of music in his room (thank you Kyle) that I keep turning louder for him. Nancy and I have broken out dancing a couple of times. Mark's music does that for you regardless of the mood you are in. You move to the music happily, sadly and everything in between!
Mark received many nice head massages today between myself and Alec and my mom. He seems to like his eyebrows smoothed. Or maybe it was the Psychedelic Furs playing in the background that made him seem more relaxed. It is quiet in the ICU over the weekend and no one is complaining about the volume. We shared lots of stories with him from others and told him who is asking for him. Tomorrow he will listen to Bobby Radical's fantastic audio compilation of messages from friends who were at Haven.
It seems like Mark has suffered multiple mini-strokes. Next week his neuro team is coming in to check on his condition. Uncertainty is unnerving. We are riding the waves and looking for the gifts.
A big shout out to Raul and Netty for their help today. It reminds me of this quote from "It's a Wonderful Life" (NOT one of Mark's favorite movies, though he had many) "No man is a failure who has friends" So if you want to do something in Mark's honor, let your friends in to help you today. It may do you both some good.
A friend wrote this on FB and I thought it worthy of sharing.
“This could be any one of us, this could be our father, brother, cousin, and in this case our friend. Please help out. Anything helps. He is in a coma, please pray for Mark Leventhal and hope he comes to very soon, because he has people that love and need him.”
Sunday February 2nd
Mark will have to be told about the Superbowl this year. He's not really interested today. Nancy flew back to her family in Massachusetts, my Dad took a rest from driving from Boca Raton. So my Mom and I hung with Mark today. "No change" was the news of the day. My mom especially enjoyed a little Tony Bennett, "Fly me to the Moon" while we were there. Later in the day I put on the CD that Bobby Radical made for Mark. It was filled with messages of love and "wake the F_ up!". Mark's heart rate went from 60bpm to 74bpm as he listened to it. I must say that he seemed to respond most when the hum of the party was loudest. He seemed kinda wiped out today. Maybe he knew it was Sunday, a day of rest.
Speaking of Sunday, Holly took me to Unity on the Bay this morning. It felt like they knew we were coming. Good message - It's all love. Nancy and I have been staying with Holly, Hike and the boys. They are living that message of love throughout this crisis. And Hike said Holly and I sound like sisters when we're talking. Some things don't change regardless of what the legal papers say.
Monday February 3rd
So for those of you who are not friends with Alec and don't know the news of the day, I can tell you it was a big day at the ICU for Mark. I was coming in to say my goodbyes to him b/c I am going home tomorrow to my husband, 3 kids and my job. I was feeling fearful the goodbye could be our last though I know I will be back as soon as I am able. So I yelled Mark's name and he oriented his gaze to mine and locked eyes. If you are fortunate enough to never know anyone who has been in and out of consciousness imagine it this way - when your partner is not listening to what you are saying they get that vacant look in their eyes even though they are looking at you. And then if they start to pay attention, their gaze will stay on you but that vacant look disappears. That is what it looked like for Mark briefly. I asked him to blink if he wanted music and he did. I asked him to blink if he wanted the music off and he did not blink. My mom said to blink if he could see her and he did blink.
Tuesday February 4th
Here is the update on Mark. He is participating more in breathing beyond the ventilator, and he is more responsive to voices and faces. You have to yell at him though and be patient for a response but that isn't unfamiliar! His range of motion in one arm is showing little improvements. He squeezed a friend's hand today! Baby steps. Keep the love coming!
Wow, I am in awe when I read through the contributions for my brother. Whether you knew him in elementary school, Columbia High School, JFTY, Desisto, back in the day on SOBE, elsewhere or not at all, you are recognizing our common humanity by donating to help lift up a friend. I am honored and humbled to be responsible for serving Mark and bridging your desire to help with his needs. I promise you I will uphold that responsibility for Mark's sake.
Last night there was a benefit at Haven Lounge for Mark. It was amazing. My family and I felt the love! I wrote more on Facebook earlier today so check Mark's page to hear more about it and see photos. South Beach is coming together for Mark in a beautiful way. There are more amazing benefits to come. It would make my family so happy to hear about people coming together to celebrate Mark with music, friends and laughter. If you knew him, I bet you have a story to tell or maybe two... or five.
My sister and I (that's Nancy and me) arrived in Miami tonight. I came in from Milwaukee and Nancy from Boston. Nancy was here Thursday and Friday then left to see her family for a bit. Most importantly, we were able to be with Mark tonight. We kept the ICU hopping at midnight. I am so glad to see him and be with him! And I told him how he has amazing friends and support from his community and that there is so much love being sent to him. I gave him some personal messages from some of you too. Let me know if you have one and I will pass it on to him now that I am here. Mark didn't stir when I talked to him about when he DJ'd my 8th grade dance (he was 16). I told him that I remembered that he played 'Pop Music' and 'Rappers Delight' and 'Pulling Mussels from a Shell'. He has such an amazing memory I was giving him a chance to make a comment and tell me the rest of his playlist! Now you all can guess what year I was in 8th grade and Mark was 16! He had us dancing and having fun. He started DJing with a rough crowd -a bunch of awkward 8th graders who were trying so desperately to be cool. He definitely improved my cool cred. (I needed it).
Mark's awaiting transfer to a bed in Jackson Memorial's neuro ICU. He's at Jackson North now in their general ICU.
namaste (meaning that I honor the place in you that is of love, light and peace)