October 22nd – Cooper Fallek called on my way to table tennis in Kempsville. He said that Marty was having trouble breathing so he was moved to another room in the CCU which had an oxygen unit more suited to help his breathing. Marty was upset about it because it covered his mouth, making speaking more difficult. He said the procedure scheduled for Wednesday was either rescheduled or cancelled. He also said that Tony Ettinger would visit Marty tomorrow (Tuesday) along with Dane Rutledge, Marty’s lawyer. Cooper gave me Marty’s new cell number.
October 23rd – I called Marty around 9:00 AM. No answer but he called back almost immediately. All that came through the phone was what sounded like Marty’s voice and the sound of a breathing apparatus.
About 12:30 Marty called again and spoke with a bit more clarity. He said: “I’m in a bad way, Dean; I think I’m finished, I’m not gonna make it.” “Don’t talk like that Marty; you have to fight,” I said. “I have pneumonia,” he said. He also mentioned the word “obituary” but I’m not sure in what context. He also said that a “procedure” was still scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday). Ambient noise in his room made understanding him difficult. He tried speaking one word at a time slowly. Every word and every breath seemed to be an effort. I stayed on the phone with him for more than 30 minutes just letting him try to talk whenever he felt up to it.
3:30 Tony Ettinger called. He confirmed that Marty has pneumonia and he’s hopeful that antibiotics will help clear it up. He also confirmed that a procedure to replace Marty’s aortic valve is still planned, perhaps for tomorrow. I can’t imagine how Marty, in such a weakened state, could survive another invasive procedure.
October 24. Marty had a second procedure today. Dane Rutledge told Cooper Fallek that it “went well.”
October 26, 2012 – Tony Ettinger called. “Marty is a bit better. Less fluid in his lungs which makes breathing a bit easier. Pneumonia is still being treated with antibiotics. He’ll be in the hospital for at least two more weeks. Yoshiko has been moved to a 24-hour care facility,” he said.
November 4, 2012 – Marty called. The noise of his breathing apparatus made it extremely difficult to understand him. I did hear him say clearly “I’m not gonna make it, Dean. I want you to write my obituary.” I said “I’ll do whatever you want, Marty; but don’t talk like that. You have to fight, we have to win this battle.” “I’d like to win it, but I can’t,” he said. He also said something about my getting his “stuff” from his “house.” “I trust you, Dean, to take care of it for me,” he said. I heard a female voice talking to him, probably his nurse, and we were disconnected.
November 13th – Email from Tony Ettinger: “Saw Marty on Friday after a tracheotomy. He was sleeping. I think it will be a few more days to know if it will help.
November 15, 2012 – Email from Tony: Cooper saw Marty yesterday; he’s looking a bit better.
November 26th – Tony reports that they are planning to relocate Marty to a care facility, not a hospital.
November 29th, 2012 I called the Patient Information desk at “New York Presbyterian/Columbia” hospital. Marty is still there – in CCU/ICU, but he has no phone in his room.
I called the hospital over the weekend and spoke to his nurse. She wouldn’t tell me anything about his condition for “confidentiality” reasons. When I asked her to give him the phone, she said he cannot talk to anyone. I said OK; please tell him I called.
My dear friend Marty Reisman passed away on December 7, 2012.
Caption: Marty will live forever through the timeless photographs like this masterpiece by his friend Eric van den Brulle.
Watch for Dean’s book launch of “A Table For Two” in mid-August.