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Brief respite

Your omniscient author in absentia:
OK, that was a short return to normalcy. Got some bad news yesterday after the TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram). The bacteria have done more damage to my wife's heart than they'd thought, already seeing heart issues related to it. The docs are convening specialists etc to discuss next steps, probably surgery, valve replacement etc.



Holy **** h.b., this sounds awful. Sending good thoughts your way.


Keep the faith, brother...she will be strong.

Hope for a speedy recovery, I have always thought that your blog is the best.

Oh my god, hb. I am so sorry, I wish there were something I could do. Praying for you both and sending positive thoughts your way.

We love you hb [no homo], and by transference, Ms. hb.

So, chin up, and put your faith in whatever you need to put your faith into. As I creepily said a few weeks ago, my faith in docs changed everything about my life, so belief in them.


Mrs hb is in our prayers. Stay strong.

Steve in MD

stay strong hb. this too will pass and your team will be back to 100% before the all-star break.

Sorry to hear the tough news. Keeping you both in my prayers.

This sucks. Keep the faith, though. I had a very similar thing as a teenager but it was viral myocarditis. Eventually righted the ship with steroids (!) and heavy hospital intervention. It was scary and about a year of getting back up to speed, but now I'm "old" according to my kids with no residual effects whatsoever and I say that only to impart some small level of positivity and confidence in the long term outlook.

I'm sure this is an overwhelming situation for you both and I'm praying for you...whether you like it or not! ;-)

Coming out from lurkerdom to wish you all the best. Sending good thoughts your way

Sending prayers your way. I hope that she (and you) are back up and at em soon.

Gosh, h.b., so sorry to hear this...I am sending prayers and healing energy your way, and I am sure that all of soxaholix nation is doing the same.

Hey, I am a lurker who checks this site every day but I wanted to log on to say that I am so sorry to hear your wife is so ill. Take care, hope you both keep your spirits up and that everything gets back to normal as soon as humanly possible. We'll send our positive vibes and best wishes out to you both for a speedy recovery. HANG IN THERE!


h.b., first time poster but reader of this fine blog since its inception. I hope and wish for the best for your wife. I am glad that in a way this blog is now helping you, what with all the kindness being generated. It is our turn to give back for all your work, and I for one would love to donate to a Get Well, Mrs. Brachen Fund, whether it's flowers or books to keep her sane whilst being confined! Shall I just donate to the site with a special note, or could someone set something up explicitly for this purpose?

Another longtime lurker who's depended on you and MLB.com to keep the faith--and my accent--intact since I moved to South Carolina in fall of '04. This is a tough break and sounds scary as hell, but you are fortunate that Boston is lousy with research hospitals and top-flight docs, some of whom are probably Sox fans. You two will be in my thoughts.

I second what Armen said... I'd love to contribute to a flowers/books/whatever fund for mrs hb's recovery...Any way at all I can help...

If good wishes and karma mean anything this outpouring of affection should have Mrs HB back up in no time.

If I can do anything just ask.

I wish you and ms. h.b. all the best, and send you my thoughts and hopes for a speedy and full recovery.

Stay strong.

Thoughts are with you and your wife HB.

There is a paypal link @ the bottom left of this page that h.b. (to his credit he didn't make it a huge button) set up a while ago. We can probably use that so he can get the money for flowers sooner rather than later and he doesn't have to worry about his anonymity.
H.B- God Speed to you and your wife. Trust the docs. I had spinal surgery and the doc was an arrogant f**k. But I want the most confident person in the world working on me when my life is on the line.( I want him on that wall... I need him on that wall....)
Anyhow Peace...

Also don't forget the Amazon link.

I've lived in the SF Bay Area for a long time, but grew up in Boston (born half a mile from Fenway Park!). Your blog is the first thing I look at when I get to work in the morning. Please know that the prayers of the Red Sox Nation -- or at least the Soxaholix Nation -- are with you and your wife during this time of trial.

Mr. and Mrs. HB-I regularly read the blog during the last season and even posted once after a Braves-Red Sox game (I have a mixed marriage, I am a Southern guy/Braves fan who married a New Englander/die hard Red Sox fan-but wait, isn't that redundant?). I have only read sporadically since the World Series and I am sorry to read the latest news. I am thinking about both of you all at this time. I am sure that Red Sox Nation and Friends of Red Sox Nation are supporting you all.

The brief literature review I have made on endocarditis surgery suggests that if they feel it's necessary, then going forward in that direction often yields a tremendous improvement in survival rates than a purely medical route. The surgeon will be able to debride (remove infected tissue), repair lesions, and deal directly with the problem areas. This gives a much greater chance that once they are done, the heart will be able to recover.

My mother works in coronary as well as intensive healthcare down in Maryland, h.b (at one of the Top 100 hospitals in the country). I'm sure your wife's medical team here is one of the best, but if you want me to have my mom give you contact info (herself or any specialist) to discuss anything on your mind, just ask.

In the inimitable words of Robert McFerrin and Doug:

In every life we have some trouble
when you worry, you make it double

Your wife's resplendence is real,
is never silent,
and has no bitch

Even Marty from NY is praying for you both. Best wishes and lots of love!

Thoughts and prayers with you and the Mrs.

And from someone who is married to a woman who had to deal with medical issues (though not as severe) make sure you find some time for yourself. It may seem selfish and uncomfortable, but Care for the Caregiver is VERY IMPORTANT. Stress if untreated manifests itself in very strange and sometimes horrible ways.

You want to be her rock, understood! But be sure to have an outlet for your own feelings, or her rock will crumble - trust me!

Hang in there HB and wife. I'm pulling for you both.

I am way late to this, have been at a conference all week and not checking soxaholix, but I hope your wife has a full speedy and easy recovery.


Sorry to hear the latest, h.b. My wife and I went through a major heart scare with our son when he was 10 months old. Fortunately no surgery has yet been needed, but we got a crash course in medical matters of the heart. If it's any consolation (and I'm sure it isn't)we learned that most of the recent major advances in coronary care have been in imaging and that heart surgery "ain't brain surgery." Not that it's plumbing exactly, and maybe they were just trying to make us feel good, but I have a lot of confidence in heart docs, and we got some of the best in the Boston area.

Hang in there, HB & Mrs. It may feel like you're down 3-0 now...but we all know a big comeback is due. All the best.

Hang in there, Mr. & Mrs. HB. You're (pl) the object of many, many positive thoughts from literally all over the world. As cinetrix observed above, you and your wife are in one of the best places in the world to deal with a problem like this, though that's probably small comfort to you at this point. As one who waited from 1946, his first year of RS fandom, to 2004 for his first Sawx world championship (and as the son of a man who waited from 1918, when he attended the World Series), I gotta say that the power of faith is strong. Please pass on to Mrs. HB that she has an entire Nation in her corner. Praying -- each in his/her way.

Like many, I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster. Mrs. HB is in my thoughts and prayers as well. Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Take care of yourself, too, HB; she needs your strength.

hb, our thoughts and prayers are with you and mrs. hb.

Hang in there -- our thoughts are with you!

I wish your other half a full and speedy recovery. Thanks for the laughs.

I'm thinking the best possible thoughts and hoping for the best possible outcome for you and Mrs. h.b.

My thoughts are with you and the Mrs. With Kaz as head of research and the rest of us sending love and hope and flowers and books- well, surely this will all end well and happy. you both take care and get better soon. Thanks also for taking the time to keep us posted. Otherwise we worry, you know. Malama ka `ohaha (take care of the family).

HB, So sorry to hear about your wife's condition, hang in there; you're in my thoughts and lots of others! I appreciate you letting us know so we can share our best wishes. And find the best damn cardiologist you can!

HB- keeping my fingers crossed for you and your better half.

Sorry to show up so late. Meetings.

H.B., I'll light a candle at St. Leonard's after work today for you and your wife.

Hang in there, and don't worry about the strip until everything's better.

Oh my gosh, longtime reader and very rare poster sending my best wishes and thoughts to you both from England.

Man, HB, I am so sorry.
Take care. As always, praying for your wife and you.

What they all said. Hang in there, dude. Best thoughts being sent your way.

Nothing original to say here. Just that thoughts and prayers are with you both.

Damn. HB, hang in there, this is more complex but still should be totally recoverable.

I hope everything comes out just fine.

My thoughts are with you.


I'm confident that you and Mrs. Brachen will get through this ordeal with style and class. By summer you'll be sunning yourselves in the stands at Fenway, sipping a beverage and wondering when Bartolo Colon will need to get HIS heart valves replaced.

Hart brachen in sports, hart fixed in everything else. I'm thinking of you both, and I have nothing but good vibes.

To repeat many comments:

Longtime lover of the site, not often commenter, first time poster:

Best wishes to you and the wife. Hopefully the expert Boston doctors will make all a-ok.

Miss Boston, still love the Sox and your comic. Love from Austin, Texas,

S. Arepo

Need some advice - I am going to Fort Myers next week and want to know the best way to get some autographs for the kids (and me). I don't have tix to the games, not really interested. Do they still work out on game days? what is their work schedule? Any other info or websites? Thanks.

sending good karma your way...

you have made me smile many a day, its the least I can do.

Thoughts and prayers from KC are with you, bro. If she is as much of a Sox fan as you are, you know she has fighting spirit in her and will rise triumphant like a phoenix.

/use of overdramatic cliches

Seriously, I had a brush with death over a year ago (Strep-A/CEPSIS/ARDS), thank God I fell ill in Hartford, CT and went to Hartford Hospital. They have some of the best infectious diseases specialists. Being intubated, coming to and going through two months of physical therapy is the closest I ever want to get to Hell.

I'd end with something profound in Latin but that's Jason O's territiory (does he still post anymore?).

Another lurker chiming in to send positive vibes your way.

Continuing to pray for you and your family, brother. My father is a heart patient and the first days of dealing with it are the hardest. One way or another, it gets better - this is one area of medical science where the doctors really know what they are doing.


Here's one Yankee fan rooting for a happy and healthy resolution for the Soxaholix bride. Get well and stay well.

Little League cranked up in full swing last week and this is the 1st time I've checked in since you posted this. (Normally it's every day)
Sorry to hear about Ms. HB's condition.
As the husband of a cancer patient myself, I know this is as hard on you as it is her, maybe harder emotionally. I know the seemingly NEVER-ending hours at the doctor's office and hospital take a huge toll. There are times when it seems you go for days without doing anything but sit in uncomfortable chairs and wait for results and dr's consultations. It's just plain exhausting to be ill and to be the care-giver as well.
Stay positive, get your rest.
This strip and all of us will be here when you have time.
Having said that, I also know that getting back to my routine with my little-leaguers has been one of the few things that helps me retain some sense of normalcy. So get your rest, THEN write.

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