Get Well Soon

This weekend started off on a bit of a down note when I found that I could get to sleep Friday night (I didn’t get to sleep until 4 a.m. Friday night). Finally, begrudginly, I got out of bed and went downstairs to do some work, check out Flickr, work – anything that one can do in the middle of the night. But it was a message I got just after 2 a.m. that really put the weekend into perspective.

“The call came tonight, and I’m one my way to Vancouver for the transplant. Hopefully I’ll have my laptop down there soon, and be able to stay in touch. Wish me well. There’s a longer explanation here.”

Get Well, Jim!

I met Garnite on Flickr not too long after I started putting up photographs that were actually worth seeing. I didn’t know much about him at the time, just that he was an obviously kind-hearted gentleman who was quick with a joke or a pun, was always quick to compliment but slow to accept them, always replied to questions on your own photostream (so you wouldn’t have to search out a reply) … oh, and he had a deep unappreciation of cats. Shari also quickly got to know, admire and care for this man who we had never met, had never even spoken to live.

Jim has always been helpful, regardless of what is asked of him. When I was looking for native art styles from the Vancouver area for a email project I was working on, Jim was able to direct me to some really good resources for that artwork. When I was planning a trip to Vancouver with Shari (which unfortunately fell through), he gave me a lot of great information, helpful links and even sent me local information on sites and history of the area (mainland and island). And, of course, we shared many conversations, jokes and comments back-and-forth regarding birds.

Get Well, Jim!Jim’s stream of work was – and is – always a joy to see. Whether giving us the latest on his eagle pal, Beethoven, or counting the mergansers or herons, or just admiring the beauty of his surroundings, you can always count on great pictures coupled with his wit – and the more-than-occasional bad pun. See some of my favorites here, here, here, here and here (the second ‘extra’ picture down). I’ve laughed many times when visiting his photostream – one of the few that I try to visit every few days.

When I was heading to Vancouver last November, I tried to make plans to get together with some friends of mine in the area: Greg7 and Jim. Unfortunately, I was told that Jim wasn’t able to make it because – as I was let in on – he had, and still was, suffering from major lung disease brought on from inhalation of various fibers and chemicals during his years as a fisherman and shipbuilder. More recently, he was going downhill while waiting for a lung transplant. I got to speak to him for the first time while I was there, and he was apologetic (though there was no need) and his voice and demeanor are every bit as friendly and gregarious as I had expected. Though I never met the man in person, I still consider him a friend.

Getting the Message

So, back to Saturday morning and getting that message. I immediately clicked over to read his account – Garnite’s Last Post (for now) – and sent him an email wishing him luck (I should have left a comment – duh!). I knew that this was big and risky for him, but that the upside meant that he could start doing all of those things that he had been missing. Jim and Linda,
If only you knew how many HUNDREDS of folks are keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers DAILY if not HOURLY.

Christine Scott (christinescott007)
I anxiously awaited some news about his status, hoping he would pull through. I was – and I am – not alone. I know that Jim is well-liked – how could he not be – but I never realized HOW well liked he is. That same image has had almost 6,000 views and 500 comments since he put it up. Not only that, but many in the Flickr community have flocked to his photostream to wish him well; there’s been a group devoted to him (Garnite’s Cheerleaders) and another group has a discussion dedicated to him, a ‘founder’ of the group. More impressive than this upwelling of support is that fact that many coming and wishing him well never knew him at all – but they were moved enough by others to come add their support. That, more than any other, is a sign of a great man.

The Hope That Almost Didn’t Happen

As it turns out, this procedure almost finished before it started – and that part of this life-saving event was only possible due to the kindness of strangers. From what I’ve read in reports, all of the 14 planes and helicopters that the B.C. Transplant Society counts on to transport donated organs were unavailable at the time the organs became available. But telephone provider Telus stepped in and donated their plane to make an emergency run to a rural location to get the organs and have them back to Vancouver inside the incredibly short 4-hour window of viability the organs had.

From myself, Shari and the large group of Garnite’s friends a heartfelt thank you for the folks at Telus for making this miracle possible.

And The Show Goes On

From the latest reports, I know that Jim is doing well. After some concerning moments, he’s off the respirator, getting back his colour (spelling for you Canadiens), and has even been talking. He’s got a long road ahead of him, but he’s a fighter and I know that he’ll push through, especially with the support of his wife Linda. Between the two of them, I have no doubts that he’ll be up and birding, taking pictures of Beethoven and those pesky kingfishers in no time. My only question is – when we go visit, who’s buying the beer?

Get Well Soon, Jim!

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2 Responses to “Get Well Soon

  • So sorry to hear and hope Jim gets better soon! I hope you keep us updated on how everything goes!

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  • Fairweather Zealot » Blog Archive » Leap Week :

    […] it’s been a busy week. After getting increasingly good news about Jim, I’ve been heads down working day and night. Night has been spent working up the HTML and CSS […]

    14 years ago

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