Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Dublin: 17°C Wednesday 17 August 2022

Updating your friends - while in a coma

For one Kerry-born woman, it was just a case of having the right friend.

Image: hospital via Shutterstock

FORMER NEW YORK Times editor Bill Keller and his wife, Emma, both caused controversy when they criticised a terminally ill cancer patient.

The subject of their ire was not anything that Lisa Bonchek Adams had done, more what she had tweeted. Adams has around 14,000 followers on Twitter and has tweeted updates all through her battle with the disease.

The upsurge in sites such as CaringBridge have made the process of keeping friends abreast of your health a more public affair.

It isn’t always public, however.

When Kerry-born Denise Horgan went to Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina earlier this month, her mind was on the procedure she faced.

Having cystic fibrosis, she was about to undergo a lung transplant, an operation that would completely change her life.

However, having made friends across the globe, Denise wanted to be sure that they could be kept in the loop about how she was doing.

With many friends across the world and her parents not using Facebook much, Denise enlisted her friend Cris Dopher.

Cris, who had his own lung transplant in December, keeps his friends updated with his progress through his own Facebook page and did the same for the ten days that Denise was in a medically-induced coma.

“They have sites for updates for patients, but I didn’t see the point. Everyone I know is on Facebook so we just went with that.

“A lot of people are very thankful to be kept in the loop. In Denise’s case her family aren’t on Facebook much, so this was a help I guess.”

Of course, the updates weren’t all positive, but the key was knowing where the line of privacy was.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

” I try not to get too specific but keep the line honest. As a patient I know where the line is.

“I kept it to major milestones, such as walking or getting tubes out and other setbacks.”

Cris says that he was happy to do the updating, but is hopeful that Denise will be able to resume Facebooking herself.

“Denise will surprise us and come on line soon. Denise doesn’t have a voice yet and her frustration is really very clear. But, you can’t be in a coma for 10 days and not get weak.

“She is an amazingly strong individual and I would have lost my shit 20 times over at this stage. Anyone else would have lost it by now. She has so much grace.”

Read: Cystic Fibrosis charity withholds €1.8 million from hospital

Read next: