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My family & its history

Alan Singer's illness
Jan.-Feb., 2008

Back to My family & its history page

February, 2008

In January, 2008, my brother-in-law, Alan Singer, had a serious illness.  Since so many people wanted frequent updates on his condition, I created a blog page to post progress reports and allow people to make their own comments.  In late February, Alan was virtually back to normal, found the blog page superfluous, and asked me to delete it.  Since the content has become part of family history, we agreed I would post it here.  

In the first day or two of his hospitalization, I had a lot of anger about how what I perceived as his stubbornness seemed to have delayed treatment and perhaps made the illness more life-threatening than it needed to be.  I also included more medical details than necessary.  I decided that even though a blog is normally a personal forum, this blog should have been as detached as possible since many people were seeing it and relying on its information.  I therefore edited down my own comments, including some of the allied but not directly germane medical details, so that the blog content ended up appearing as below.  Because so many students and colleagues had wonderful things to say about Alan and his teaching, I have kept those messages intact but removed their contact information.

Blog content

  1. Richard

    My brother-in-law and Judi’s husband, Alan Singer, has been in the hospital since Wed., Jan. 23. On Tues., he had a prostate biopsy. That night he vomited profusely and ran a fever. On Wed. morning he went to the emergency room at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. He improved for awhile–Thurs. morning he was sitting up and wanting to eat. Then he had an extremely serious relapse and was put under sedation to be unconscious while he healed. He is still sedated as I write.

    I have previously e-mailed the following to some family and friends, and from now on I will try to update Alan’s status via this blog.

    Thurs., Jan. 24–notes compiled by Heidi

    Came to the hospital with sepsis shock, which is serious.
    Low blood pressure
    Advanced state of shock.
    Numbers for kidney, liver, blood pressure low.
    Fluids, alb.
    Brain response ok
    Kidney function slowly to normal
    Acidonic problem leads to agitation and such
    Will do CAT scan
    Will be kept sedated for awhile
    APN (?): kidney, reacting to damage; low blood supply to kidneys
    May need dialysis for awhile
    Lungs could fill with fluid—being monitored for that
    He is still oxygenating
    Blood thin: platelets 60,000 (150,000)
    The prostate is not sterile; organisms/bacteria can get into the blood
    Cannot necessarily control immune problems
    24-hour sedation should help oxygenation and blood pressure
    Friday afternoon, Jan. 25:

    Judi and I got to the hospital today about 9am . Just before we left, Alan’s urologist phoned and said he was a little improved and his ICU attending physician was now “cautiously optimistic.”

    (When we got home, voice message from urologist said: biopsy was negative—no cancer.)

    Alan was breathing regularly, color looked fine. Blood pressure was still low but in an acceptable range. He continues to get blood pressure medication, which was lowered today until he went for a CAT scan (more below), when the pressure went down and the medication had to increase. His urine bag looked as though it was filling reasonably well, and so far his kidneys are ok. His lungs are still weak and being helped by attachments.

    Events out of order:

    CAT scan early this afternoon. Slightly blurred because Alan couldn’t keep still, but neurologist said scan looked fine, no brain damage. Neurologist then reduced sedation so that Alan awoke just a bit to be tested for responsiveness. Neurologist said Alan couldn’t wake up much—too many drugs in his system—but that for now his responses were normal. More will be checked as Alan becomes conscious, which likely won’t be before tomorrow (Sat.) but perhaps longer: depends on when the medical staff thinks his body will recover ok with him being awake.

    This morning we talked to an infectious diseases doctor. Her group was called in to determine and monitor his antibiotics. He is definitely improving, however slowly. Platelet count is still quite low, and they were going to administer artificial plasma this afternoon. (Judi had to sign to allow this.) White cells are doing better. In general, this doctor supported the idea that Alan is slowly but noticeably improving. She said the problem is a urinary tract infection and maybe nothing else, but such an infection can have these profound consequences. Only a urine culture has so far shown a problem (the one for which they’re treating him). They have also done blood cultures Wed. and today. These take a week for full results, though results after 3 days are unlikely to change. These cultures should pinpoint whether Alan has any other infections.

    This morning we also talked with a urologist who maybe is the head muckety-muck urologist at this hospital. Alan’s own urologist, whose hospital affiliation is LI College Hospital where Alan is, talked to this other urologist to get help with Alan. I gather that as a result Alan is getting esp. good care. Certainly I was impressed by how much attention he was getting, and how open and pleasant all medical staff are. (Surprise to me: He is not in a room but in a large cubicle open most of the time to the nursing floor; a curtain is drawn as needed.) This urologist said he has done numerous biopsies, and in rare cases patients get septicemia. But I gather recovery from that is not too difficult, and that Alan’s problem is far more unusual.

    Judi is holding up remarkably well, though as she gets tired she has more difficulty focusing and retaining information. She dozed briefly at the hospital a couple of times, but I finally got her home and she is sleeping contentedly (?) as I write this. She had to sign a 2nd paper (actually the first of the two) this afternoon, giving permission to insert a catheter into a large neck vein. It would function like an IV but allow much more precise monitoring of his drugs, make it easy to take blood (without constantly invading different parts of his arms or wherever), and maybe something else.

    Judi is thinking she will go to teach Monday, but she agreed her co-teacher could cover in her absence.
    Friday night, Jan. 25:

    Dr. Suri, who has been following Alan closely, just called. Here is what she said.

    1. Alan nearly died yesterday, but he is now on the mend. From her tone, I think she is a little surprised he survived–she had not seen anyone this sick this way in many years. “We are not out of the woods,” she cautioned, but she also stressed that she had nothing bad to say. Everything is either improved or the same–nothing has gotten worse. (Earlier today she had said she was very disappointed yesterday because Alan seemed good in the morning and then got so seriously ill.)
    2. E-coli is the problem. He came to the hospital with multi-system organ failure. The infection caused ALL his organs to try to shut down, including his heart–”myocardial depressant factors,” extremely bad.
    3. For anyone to heal, the immune system must function. Antibiotics and such can do nothing without help from the immune system. Alan’s was very challenged, but has gradually been improving.
    4. He is now off blood pressure medication altogether, and his blood pressure is sustaining itself.
    5. The oxygen being supplied by a ventilator has been cut in half.
    6. His kidneys had threatened to shut down, but they did not completely. The doctor does not believe he will need dialysis.
    7. Electrolytes are getting maintained. (My notes are obscure here–I think this means his body is creating the electrolytes he needs.)
    8. His blood count is still sub-normal but no worse. His blood clotting is weak but no worse.
    9. It is unlikely he will be taken off sedatives and return to consciousness before Sunday, and maybe later than that. He has to be off the ventilator (and maybe other things) before that can happen.
    10. He is tolerating intravenous food, which apparently is recent though I’m not sure.

    Judi is feeling encouraged intellectually, but the frank news about how close he was to death, and the fear that he could relapse, has her very worried.

  2. Richard

    Sat., Jan. 26

    Not much new today. Got to the hospital around 9 am. Alan looked the same. But his blood pressure by the time we left (3 pm) was much improved, without blood pressure medication—a bit under 110/60.

    We also learned that Alan has a kind of delirium, which has much (all?) to do with his thrashing when awake.

    Sol was at the hospital a good chunk of time, and was great with Judi and Alan’s nurse-of-the-day. He also understands a lot of technical details that are (or at least were) a mystery to me. Martin, Rhonda and Anita also visited.

  3. Mae Yanowitz

    Didn’t realize this would be on your blog, instead of e-mailed to me, Ricky. Have been waiting impatiently, with increasing worry, for the latest report. Would like to visit Alan tomorrow but my cold is not cooperating.

    Well, I guess reports are encouraging since doctors seem reluctant to give hopeful info unless there is a clear turn for the better. Nonetheless, will remain in my crossed finger mode for the present. I hope the urologist can keep Alan reasonably comfortable for a significant period so he can fully recover before addressing the prostate problem.

    You are a gem, Judi is valiant, and the visitors are very kind; spread my love around.

    Incidentally, if you succeed in getting Alan to seek a second opinion, I’ll really worry.

  4. Richard

    Sun., Jan. 27, 11 am.

    We’re shortly off to the hospital, but already an encouraging note: Maxine called the emergency room before 9 this morning and got a nurse to tell her that Alan has improved since yesterday. I’ll post more info when we’re back from the hospital.

  5. Eileen Simons

    I am a friend and colleague of Alan’s and am deeply troubled by how sick Alan has been (hope I can put that in the past tense soon). Alan is one determined man and hopefully that will get him through this fully recovered and as energetic as always.

    Give him my love and tell him I am praying for him, even if he not sure prayers work. We sure do miss him at Hofstra.

    Michael Pezone
  6. Thank you for the continued updates. Literally hundreds of us are deeply upset, are hanging on your every word, and are hoping for a speedy recovery.

  7. Maureen Murphy

    Dear Richard,
    Thanks very much for this helpful information. I am a friend of Alan’s and, at the moment, his dean. I want everyone to know that everything is covered for him at school and his only brief is to rest and to recover. I am encouraging colleagues to send cards and notes for the present. When he is recuperating at home, feeling better and getting bored, we will come and see him.
    We send our love and good wishes to him and especially to Judy, Heidi and Marty, Rachel and Sol and to you and Mae. Maureen

  8. Steven Kahn 

    I am a student of Alan’s, and, like everyone, have been very concerned about what has gone on for the past few days. Best wishes to Alan for a speedy recovery during this difficult time. I am very concerned but I know that things will turn out okay. I was wondering if there were any other updates on Alan’s present condition?

  9. Doris Fromberg

    Alan should know that my return from leave to the office next door was no reason for him to leave, for any reason, least of all for a medical reason. Clearly, he is missing all of our best times and should feel encouraged to return quickly in order to add to the general rumpus. His absence is a vacuum that limits everyone’s focus and his wisdom is sorely missed. Please relay our very positive thoughts about his smooth return to his particular brand of normal, which I highly value. Let me know as soon as I am permitted to stop agonizing about his health. Many hugs to Alan, Judy, and the family.

  10. Andrea Libresco

    I am a colleague and friend of Alan’s. Thank you so much for keeping us updated as to Alan’s condition. We look forward to his being up and around and organizing any non-unionized labor at the hospital into a strong union.

    Once he is home, I am happy to do whatever he needs done on any of the many balls he keeps in the air.

    Much love to Alan and his entire family,

    Michael Pezone: I can help you with any aspect of Alan’s classes, so please do not hesitate to call on me.

  11. Mae Yanowitz

    This is Mae, Alan’s mother-in-law, with a preliminary report for today (Ricky is still at the hospital):

    All the news is good. Alan is awake and off sedation. He seems to understand everything that is said to him, and tries to talk but is difficult to understand–what a blow that must be! Also, the breathing tube is out and he is breathing on his own.

    This is the first time I am breathing free. Ricky may write a more detailed report later this evening. My love to all of you who watch and care.

  12. Cory Ruff

    Thank you so much for all the continued updates on Alan. I am a student of his and all this information is greatl appreciated. You are all in my prayers for a continued recovery for Alan and also for the family to get through this time. It is such a great thing to know that Alan is breathing on his own and attempting to communicate; steps towards recovery!

  13. Kimberly Cahill

    I’m a recent graduate of Alan’s and am happy to hear the good news. Thank you so much for keeping us all updated. I hope the rest of his recovery is a speedy one. (He’s still in our prayers.) If there’s anything that I can do to help please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery,


  14. Michael Pezone

    I am thankful for the bit of good news!

    Andrea: Thank you. It’d be great if you could somehow get his syllabi to me, either via email ([email protected]) or hard copies in my box. Thanks again.

  15. Steven Kahn

    I am very pleased to hear about the latest encouraging news and continue to pray for a speedy and full recovery for Alan.

  16. Catherine Smith

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and I am so relieved to hear he is breathing on his own and his condition is starting to improve. My thoughts and prayers go out to Alan and his family. Thanks for the updates!! I will continue to pray for him. Please continue the updates.

  17. Richard

    Sunday evening, 7:45 pm, Jan. 27

    My mother has summarized the great news. I left Alan a little while ago. He was becoming increasingly understandable, though talking with difficulty. His body is pretty much taking care of itself except for continuing antibiotics (now 2 instead of 3) and maybe a couple of other things, including, I think, help for blood clotting.

    I learned a lot today. This will be a long message.

    Maxine (my wife, for those who don’t know me) came to Brooklyn this morning (we live north of New Haven most of the time), and she, Judi and I got to the hospital 11 or so. When the ICU physician in charge (I think that was Suri other days but someone else today) and the neurologist came round, they thought they might be able to get Alan off the respirator. He was down now, I think, to 40% oxygen from it. It was turned off altogether, and Alan was breathing on his own within a totally safe range (a ratio of under 105 is ok; he varied between 19 and 70, mostly 40s and 50s, so he was doing great). I had an unusually strong emotion of gratification when I knew he was breathing on his own.

    At the same time, the medication was cranked down about 10% every hour or so. He started around 25 units, got down to 13, started thrashing a bit, was put up to 16. When it had come down maybe 20%, we could see him slightly opening an eye and moving his head occasionally. I started talking to him, unsure if he could hear, but because at times he grimaced badly, I was concerned that he was conscious and wanting information but unable to ask. So I kept giving him the same summary of events over and over, esp. reassuring him about Judi. (Turned out he didn’t hear any of this.) An air blood test (I don’t remember the exact term) was done after some hours–everything today was hurry up and wait–and he passed. Some delay, and the breathing tube was out (extibation).

    At this point, they also turned off the sedation. He was breathing on his own. No blood pressure medicine. No sedation. He seemed to understand everything I said. He asked questions which at first I couldn’t understand; but as the minutes passed, he became clearer. One of his first “requests” was for his cell phone to call his friend, Maureen. (Not allowed.) He started flexing a leg. Why? To build up strength. Nonononono, Alan. You will probably get physical therapy later, but right now all your energy has to go into healing.

    I gave Alan a detailed account of what had been happening to him and what friends and family had been doing to help get through this time. I reassured him about Judi and how well she had done. He asked after the grandchildren. He seemed totally comprehending, though surely his brain is still fogged (and maybe will be for awhile) from the sedation.

    Judi and Maxine had left around 3 so Judi could nap. I could not bear leaving until I knew whether Alan was off the breathing tube, partly for my own edification, partly because I knew the ICU would give no information over the phone, and partly because if he woke up I though it important that someone familiar be there.

    Alan revived somewhere between 5:30 and 6, and Judi, Heidi and Maxine came close to 7. Judi and Alan had a kiss–after getting permission to remove the mask over his mouth and nose (for humidity, it turned out, not oxygen)–and Alan, Heidi and Judi spoke for awhile with some tears on all sides. Alan apparently is dismayed to learn that his body could do this to him–or, as Judi put it, that he is not superman.

    Earlier in the day:

    Judi and I had another long talk with Alan’s urologist.

    First, I finally understood how Alan got sick. The prostate biopsy last Tuesday (not three weeks of months ago, as it feels) involves puncturing the rectum to get at the prostate for samples. E-coli inevitably gets through to the prostate this way. Normally–in the overwhelming number of cases (including my own when I had this biopsy 18 months ago)–the antibiotics taken before and after the procedure kill off this rogue e-coli. In Alan’s case, he (or the e-coli) was resistant to the antibiotics. The result was as I’ve previously described–a general attack on Alan’s body.

    I asked about convalescence. I do not promise the following is entirely accurate, and the urologist stressed that different people need different recuperations. But this is probably a reasonable arc of recovery. (We’ll know better as time passes.)

    At some point before too long, when he doesn’t need ICU monitoring, he’ll go to his own room in the hospital. He will probably be in the hospital another 1-2 weeks (more likely 2). That time will likely include physical therapy (though muscles do not have atrophy in the time he has been asleep or will continue to be bedridden).

    He will at some point go home, where he must convalesce for some time. I gather that time is between roughly 2 or more weeks. He will not be able to return to work for some time (my guess is a month or so). When he can work, he apparently will be unable (i.e., not allowed) to drive at first, but could go if driven by someone else or a car service.

    Sol and Richard came by this afternoon while Alan was still sedated. They are taking charge of Alan’s car from here on. (Have I previously mentioned that the car was found? Thanks, Mel.)

    I don’t know if Dr. Suri would yet drop “he’s not out of the woods,” but I am only looking to consistent, steady recovery.


    Thanks to everyone who has sent good wishes. I am unlikely to mention them all to Alan, but I expect they will touch him greatly when he reads through this blog.

  18. Alex Goldberg

    I am a graduate student of Alans and I was devastated to hear this news. I just wanted to say say that my prayers and best wishes are with Alan and the whole family. It sounds like things are starting to turn around for the better. I am happy to hear this and excited to see Alan return to Hofstra and create havoc like only he can.

  19. Jennifer Perez

    I am a student of Alan’s and was very concerned when I heard the news that Alan was in the hospital. I was extremely relieved to read that he is making progress and his condition has been improving. Thank you for keeping us all informed. All my thoughts and prayers are with Alan, his family and friends.

  20. Raquel Weiss

    I am a grad.student of Alans, the news was a complete and awful shock. As he knew, i was out in Indiana at the time when I received word about Alan. Thanks to this blog, the updates have been helpful and now very reassuring. My thoughts are with him, and his family. It is very clear and obvious how important Alan is to his students. Get well soon (we know you will!)

  21. Brian Ettinger

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and like everyone else was very concerned when I heard of his situation. It is great to hear that things are turning for the better. I wish him nothing but the best for as quick a recovery as possible. Alan means so much to so many students who appreciate all that he does. We look forward to seeing him back at school when he is able to return.

  22. Rachael Weissan

    I too am a graduate student of Alan’s, and like everyone else was in complete shock when I heard the news. I am so glad to hear that things are finally turning around. Alan has influenced so many people and students at Hofstra and we are looking forward to his return. Thank you for keeping us all informed. My thoughts and prayers are with Alan, his family, and friends.

  23. Ady Pina

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and I am also very concern. Like many, Alan has made an impact on my life and I wish him a speedy recovery. When I read the email, I nearly cried. I am not lying. Alan keep fighting. We and the world needs you. Peace and Love.

  24. [to] Judy, Richard and all from Maureen Murphy

    Thanks for the good news. I will be in to see Alan as soon as you think it wise. Mike and Andrea, thanks for your help on the matter of Alan’s spring classes. Would you give me a call tomorrow about details? I have the papers submitted by students in the January classes. I know what Alan required, so I can grade them. ANyone know where his grade book is so I can get the rest of the information I need for posting the grades?
    You know that you have a small army of people eager to be of help whether it is helping with care while he recovers. or providing transportation once he is able to return, on a limited basis, to Hofstra. Meanwhile we are all so relieved that he has made this progress. THe news on Friday was like hearing that the ROck of GIbralter had developed a fault line. Love to all, Maureen

  25. Shaun Smath

    Thank you for keeping us all updated on Alan’s condition and it is great to hear that things are progressively looking better. We all know Alan’s resilience and fervor and I’m sure he will be back to his rabble rousing ways in no time. I wish Alan and his family the best in these coming weeks and hope he has a speedy recovery.

  26. Edward Fernbach

    I am a student, and also a friend.. Leave it to Alan to dodge a bullet, even a freakish one like that.

    One has to think that his indominatable spirit fought off the catasrophe of organ closure. Who else would you put your smart money on in the face of such adversity?

    Alan is too considerate to leave us so soon. Thanks for hanging on. Can’t wait to see you in fighting shape. In the mean time we’ll keep a fire burning for you.

    Warmest regards

  27. Jennifer Daddino

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and was shocked when I heard the news. My prayers are with all of Alan’s family and friends. He has made a positive impact on so many lives. Like everyone I am thankful he is recovering.

  28. Catherine Ward

    I too am a graduate student of Alan’s, and could not believe the news when I was informed of it. I am happy to hear that things are finally turning around. Alan has had such a profound influence upon me and many students at Hofstra. Thank you for keeping us all informed. My thoughts and prayers are with Alan and his family the best in these coming weeks and hope he has a speedy recovery.

  29. Jamie Wood

    First, I’d like to say thank you to Alan’s family for keeping us all up to date with the latest news. I was an undergraduate student of Alan’s, with hopes of beginning the graduate program with him in the Spring. I was extremely upset to hear about his condition and have kept him (and his family of course) in my prayers (even though Alan’s an atheist, and would probably argue with me that it’s wasted breathe, I thought it couldn’t hurt). I wish him a full and fast recovery and his family the warmest thanks for all of the info. Alan has truly touched so many lives- I couldn’t imagine Hofstra without him. Thank you again and I wish Alan and his family the best.

  30. Liam Binsack

    I am so thankful for the good news about Alan’s condition. He is one of those rare people you meet in life who can truly bring out the best inside of people. My best wishes go out to Alan and his family for a speedy and successful recovery. I’m sure the doctors will have a difficult time keeping him home recuperating with his energy and passion for life.

  31. john mannebach

    Thank you for the good news and frequent updates. I am a student of Alan’s, having received my undergraduate degree in December. I want to continue with the graduate program, and tried to contact him this past week not knowing that he had fallen so ill. When I found out about his condition, I was deeply concerned and saddened, hoping in my heart that his strength would carry him through. I look forward to beginning the graduate program with Alan once he returns. Alan still has so much to teach, not just to myself but also to a lot of people. He should know how important he is, and how his leadership and enthusiasm have influenced so many lives. I wish only the best for him and his family and friends in these difficult times, and hope to speak to, work with, and learn from Alan again very soon.

  32. Richard

    This will be my final first-hand report.

    Alan is doing great. Today he was breathing without a mask and actually sat up in a chair. He gave me tasks to handle re a MSS and course outlines. Maureen visited and I gather he handled grading with her. Since he is still in the early stages of recovery, one might detect a bit of extra crankiness in his tone. At his request (insistence?) I read to him from the NY Times, and of course he was most interested in political matters (not primaries but, say, Israeli opening of Gaza crossing).

    I am returning home to CT tonight. I thank everyone for the good wishes to Alan and the lovely comments to me about maintaining this blog’s history of Alan’s condition.

  33. Peter Stein

    I am yet another former graduate student fortunate enough to have had Alan as a mentor. I am thankful to Mr Yanowitz and Mike Pezone for keeping us all updated, as I was very concerned for Alan’s health. I now hope that Alan will speedily return to the work of saving the world one social studies teacher at a time. We all know that there is truth in that statement.

  34. Paul Jenssen

    I am a current graduate student of Alan’s. Thanks so much for the updates and the good news.

    Don’t tell Alan I prayed for him, he wouldn’t like that!

    Do tell him he should be reading the WSJ for more accurate news.

  35. Linda Davey

    As a colleague and friend of Alan’s at Hofstra, I have to thank all of you who have added information on Alan’s condition and continued progress. It has been such a help to know that he is improving, although in all honesty, it is hard to comprehend that Alan could be brought down, if only temporarily, against his will. His spirit, I suspect, is as resilient and non-compliant (even when sedated and on a ventilator) as it is every day - and I expect that it won’t be long before we hear that the hospital will let him go home early… because he is driving the staff crazy.

    My thoughts and prayers are with him and Judi and all the family. Hofstra just isn’t the same without him - and if there is any way to help until he is able to return to us, I too am available… Linda

  36. Steven Kahn

    I am so happy and relieved at the latest good news posted on the message board. This has made my day. I couldn’t be happier.

  37. Michael Zagari

    I am also a graduate student of Alans and I am glad to hear his condition is improving. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

  38. Heidi Kling

    I wanted to let everyone know, especially Richard (my uncle Ricky) who went home to CT today after five intense days at my mother’s and Alan’s side, that Alan was moved out of ICU this evening and into his own room at the hospital. My brother Solomon was with him, told me that he continues to do well, and that he is now eating solid food.

    Ricky, again, thank you for being here, for taking charge, for helping us all to understand what happened to Alan. You know how grateful I am, and I want to say publicly that I don’t know what we would have done without you. You were tireless and constant, and being able to rely on you so totally was a tremendous comfort and relief. Marty, Sadia and Gideon thank you too.

    Thanks also to all of our friends, old and new, and for the lovely, touching notes from Alan’s students and colleagues. This has been a very scary time for all of us who love Alan, and everyone’s support has meant so much.

  39. Maram Mabrouk

    I’m a past graduate student of Alan’s and I just saw the news this morning on his website. This is so shocking! I’m glad to hear that he is doing better. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to hear that he is out of the hospital and doing well soon.

  40. Marisa Rocco

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and was very upset to hear the news. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I hope Alan has a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on campus very soon. Thank you for the updates on Alan’s condition, it is appreciated.

  41. Matt Greiss

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and I want to thank all involved in keeping us updated on his condition. I am relieved to hear Alan is making progress. I wish him all the best and very much look forward to his return to Hofstra.

  42. Lenora Daniel

    I am a former graduate student of Alan’s. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of how gravely ill he was. I had just run into him on campus 2 weeks ago. I am relieved to hear he is doing better. My thoughts are with him and his family. I look forward to Alan nearly running me over on his bike real soon! :)

  43. Richard

    In the last half-hour I heard from Alan’s urologist and from Judi (who is more up-to-date than the urologist). Here’s what I understand.

    Judi says Alan’s speech is a bit slurred, and she hasn’t asked why yet (I’d guess it’s normal after all he’s been through, including, as Judi pointed out, all the junk that was in his mouth and throat for 4 days).

    But otherwise the news continues to be good. He was rejecting hospital food today because it tasted so bad, and when Dr. Suri came by (I still don’t know if I’m spelling her name right), she said Alan could have anything to eat he wants. Heidi got him some soup from the cafeteria. I suppose some visitors might want to bring something nutritious and tasty.

    Today he started physical therapy. (I still don’t understand for what exactly.) He is scheduled to go home on Friday. How long he’ll have to stay home recovering depends on…the usual things, I imagine–his pace of recovery, his cooperation, his heeding medical advice, and such like. His urologist had the impression that Alan is being compliant with what the medical people are telling him. (Who woulda thunk it?)

    The urologist said he’d keep me updated as well as Judi, so I may have more to report as the days pass.
    Hmmmmm. I just noticed that the time stamp on this message is Mountain time, where my web host is, so it may be that all messages have actually been posted 2 hours later than listed.

  44. Iris Lipner

    Thank you Ricky for all your news, help, and clarity. You are a gem. We were so worried about Alan [and Judi] and you really gave us the information that we needed. We will be happy to see Alan at home soon. Can’t wait to hear him complain about how much he needs to do and the state of the world. We [Tim and myself] look forward to meeting you again , Ricky, and seeing Alan on the road to recovery.

  45. Richard 

    Just went through and cleaned up some of my writing in earlier reports, including a few places where in my hasty composition I was (I see with dismay) incoherent.

  46. Nick Lotito

    I am also a former graduate student of Alan’s and I would like to send a sincere thank you to those who kept us updated on his progress. I am glad to hear everything is going well at this point and I wish you all the best during his recovery, because we all knows he will be difficult to deal with. Alan was a mentor and a guide for me and I wish him all the best.

    Thank you again.

  47. S. Maxwell Hines

    Thanks to Dr. Marlene Munn-Joseph, who informed me of this blog. I am one of Alan’s friends and a long time colleague. I am very concerned for Alan. Thanks to you all for the updates on his condition. For those of you who are physically closer to Alan, please make sure that Judi is also being looked after. I know that would be his concern.

  48. Amanda Ahern 

    Thank you Richard for keeping us all up to date. I am a former graduate student of Alan’s and am presently in Scotland trying to find work as a teacher. I have pretty much been glued to my computer waiting for updates after hearing the shocking news that Alan was in the hospital. My thoughts are with you all as well as those of my family. I was wondering if there was an address that I could use to send something? Thanks again!

  49. Richard

    Thanks for the kind words. To guard against internet abuse, I’m not going to post Alan’s and Judi’s address here. But I have sent it to what appears to be your e-mail address. Let me know if you don’t get my e-mail.

  50. Jean-Yves 

    So glad Alan is recovering. That would be a tragic lost. Alan is too exceptional. He is one of the most precious assets Hofstra has.
    I’ll continue praying for his safe recovery.

    Thank you all for the updates

  51. Kimberly Cahill

    Thank you again for the updates, they are really appreciated. I couldn’t believe the news when I heard it. It is good to hear that Alan is recovering. I also have a package that I’d like to send to Alan to keep him busy while he’s recovering. I had is address but I’ve missed place it, if you could send it to me I’d appreciate it.

  52. Amy Warchola

    I have been a student of Alan’s for years and am ever hopeful that he will make a full recovery. My thoughts also go out to his family that they may remain strong during this stressful time.

  53. Richard

    I report the following 3rd-hand, so don’t take it to the bank. Today:
    1. Alan had the catheter (or whatever it’s called that was a conduit for medication, withdrawing blood, and other stuff) from his neck.
    2. He is scheduled to have the Foley catheter (for urine) removed tomorrow.
    3. He walked a little but does not have much strength for moving his body parts. (This must have something to do with the physical therapy he’s getting. What I still don’t understand is the relation between his actual weakness and his (supposedly) not having muscle atrophy.)
    4. He will still go home on Friday. Sol and Mel will drive him.
    5. He will convalesce at home for a few weeks.

    A propos the thrashing when he was first in the hospital and had to be sedated, I have forgotten to mention that soon after he awoke he spoke about furious itching that he had at the time, which presumably was an important factor in his thrashing.

    Judi continues to go back and forth to the hospital and, I gather, rest as she needs to.

  54. Alysse Ruszkowski

    I am a student of Alan’s and like everyone else I am concerned about his condition. Thank you so much for posting his condition and I am glad to hear he is improving. I wish all the best to him and his family and continue to keep him in my prayers.

  55. Penny

    I am a graduate student of Alan’s and I was shocked to read my email today and hear that Alan is sick. My thoughts and prayers are with Alan and his family. Alan is a very strong willed individual, and I am sure he will make a full recovery.

  56. Kara McEneaney

    I have been a student of Alan’s for the past couple of years and I am happy to hear that he is recovering. I couldn’t imagine Hofstra with out him, and how lost all of us aspiring teachers would feel. I wish him a speedy and healthy recovering. Alan and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. I also want to thank his family for keeping us all updated through these times. I know my mother and father are thankful as well, having the pleasure of meeting Alan they too have been very concerned… Stay strong (I’m sure you will) and hurry back to molding young minds!

  57. Mae Yanowitz

    Alan is coming home tomorrow (2/1) I have been assigned the task of making his bed. It’s wonderful to still be useful at 88. Seriously, it’s wonderful to have him on the mend and coming home.

  58. Richard

    Talked with Judi this evening:
    1. Yes, he’s coming home.
    2. He is weak but slowly gaining strength. It will take awhile.
    3. Judi is looking forward to his being home–and her being able to rest.

    This will likely be my last health update. Unless I’m informed otherwise, once Alan’s home I think it appropriate for him to update his own progress, if he wants, at whatever pace he wants. He is welcome to continue the saga on this blog.

  59. David and Steviann Yanowitz

    Dear Judi, Alan, Ricky, and Family,
    We have been reading your weblog whenever we can. We are thrilled to hear of Alan’s recovery and that he’s actually going to return home on February 1st! Remarkable.
    We are very happy for you Judi and hope you take good care of yourself while taking good care of Alan.
    Thank you Ricky for being such a wonderful brother and support during this frightenning event! How wonderful that you could be there for Judi and Alan and the rest of the family, giving so much for all of us.
    All our love to the whole mispucah back East.

  60. Roland Skemer

    I was deeply saddened to hear about Alan falling ill. I am very happy to hear that he is well on the road to recovery. As a former graduate student of Alan’s from Hofstra, I learned a great deal about teaching and even basketball! It has to be those NYC roots! Wishing you all the best Alan!

  61. Richard

    Alan outlined a post that he wanted me to add:
    1. He came home yesterday around midday and is delighted to be home.
    2. He still has little strength and will be building it up as time passes. He can’t yet sit up at his computer for more than a couple of minutes.
    3. He doesn’t yet have much sense of sequence of events since he’s been awake–they become a bit of a blur as time passes.
    4. His mind is otherwise working extremely well.
    5. Today he will see his grandchildren for the first time since this all began. He can hardly wait.

    Once he has the strength to do so, Alan will post his own reports here.

  62. Eric Sorenson

    I am a recent graduate of Alan’s at Hofstra. I was saddened by the news of his illness but am grateful to hear the wonderful news that Alan is home with his family. Thank you all for posting such a detailed account of Alan’s condition and recovery. Best wishes to everyone!

  63. Ray Tesar


    I am glad to hear that you are home with your family. I want you to know that we are all praying for a speedy recovery. Get well soon.

  64. Keith Volkomer


    this is Keith Volkomer, a graduate student. I am so saddened to hear of your health complications. I read that you are on the way home. That is music to my ears. I expect to see you in person soon..but, not to soon. Don’t rush it. We all won’t turn to George Bush advocates in your absense. Sit back and enjoy some old re-runs of Magnum P.I. and CHiPs. I’m sure that will give you enough strength to eventually rise from your bed and get back to the task at hand. But, on a seriuos note, I am sorry to hear of your troubles and my heart goes out to you and your family and I wish you the best in a full recovery. We better all be seeing you in due time as there is always much to discuss. Rudy G, Edwards, etc…… all the best

  65. Alan Singer

    I am home and healing. Mind is strong although body remains weak. I think it was worse for many of you, because I didn’t know a lot of this. I want to thank family, friends, students and colleagues for their support.

    I know that some of you do not want to hear this, but I’ve been to the otherside,
    and I have to report– there isn’t anything there.

    Love to all.


  66. Kimberly Cahill

    Glad to see you’re feeling better Alan!! If you need anything please let me know (I don’t live far!). Also if you want me to look for anything for you at the conference please let me know. I hope you have a speedy recovery and uneventful recovery. Enjoy the time off.

    ~ Kimberly :-)

  67. Lea Trojanowski

    So glad you are feeling better Alan! Your family was so kind to keep us updated on your condition.

    All the best and continue to feel better =)

  68. Cory

    So glad to hear you’re home and feeling better Alan!! I’m sure Hofstra isn’t the same without you. Make sure you take all the time you need to fully heal and recover, but get better fast!!!

  69. April McCarthy

    Alan, I am elated to find out that you are well and that you are recovering. My mother and I send you our best wishes. I hope to see, speak, and/or hear from you soon. Take Care.

  70. Briana Eckert

    I am so happy Alan is getting better! I only recently found out he was sick and of course was upset until i read he was home and doing better. I recently graduated Hofstra and would not have if it wasn’t for him. I hope you make a speedy recovery and come back to Hofstra soon because your students need you more than anyone. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  71. Alan Singer

    The story is now nearly complete. Evidently I was briefly exposed to kryptonite and I had a severe reaction. Who knew? I am now in my Fortress of Solitude on the mend and expect to start back to work as a defender of social justice this week, albeit on a part-time basis. Thanks to everyone for their cards, email, calls, and kind words.

  72. S. Maxwell Hines

    So nice to see you on the mend, Alan. As to your comment on February 4th, I say, you may have seen the other side but thankfully, you didn’t go far enough to see anything, lol. I will continue to pray for you anyway.

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