I'm writing, with his permission, a message for him explaining why you haven't heard much from him recently. A couple of weeks ago, he suffered a very significant relapse of his condition, which landed him back in the hospital. It was clear his initial plan of care was not working.
He suffered some very bad losses. His legs work poorly, at times not at all, rendering him essentially bed-ridden. His ability to speak was markedly impaired. Even his ability to write was temporarily impacted.
We exchange emails several times a week. He is by nature a terse and taciturn person. His emails, while filled with his dry humor and sharp wit, are concise and to the point. I treasure them and my friendship with him. When he had his relapse, his normally terse emails shrunk to a mere sentence or two. I knew he was probably sicker than he was letting on.
Then I got an email that said, "Not feeling good. Write later," and my heart flipped-flopped. I've been a nurse for over 25 years, and in those years I've learned to read between the lines because what's not said can be as important as what is said. That message spoke volumes.
At last, his sister wrote to me with an update. He was not doing well at all. Even massive doses of steroids were not working, Drastic measures were required. He was transferred to another hospital to undergo a form of chemotherapy usually reserved for people with cancer. The intent was to totally suppress his immune system, which is the culprit in autoimmune disorders.
His sister's most recent update had a terse pessimism that really frightened me. I found myself expecting the worst.
Then - Hallelujah! - I found an email from him waiting for me when I got home from work. It was short, but he wrote it, and it was optimistic. His dry wit came through and shone like a beacon. His chemo treatment was a one-off thing, and now he's back in rehab. I was delighted when he offhandedly mentioned he was actually mentally writing new stuff. Through all this, he's never lost the ability to write, and now it's clear he hasn't lost the desire either.
So now he's in rehab. I have no idea how long it'll be before he's going to be well enough to be discharged, but he intends to keep writing. I think he tires too easily to write more than a few lines at a time, so it may be awhile before he posts something here himself. If that's the case, I will try to keep everyone informed when appropriate.
In the meantime, please take the time to email him your wishes for a quick recovery and to offer your support. He will appreciate it.