Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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New CJ Update

January 18, 2016

When our son was told he’d be in the neurological intensive care unit for three weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm, it seemed hard to believe he’d actually be hospitalized that long, but Saturday marked three weeks. After having surgery last week to insert a permanent shunt into his head to drain excess fluid, he’s been moved out of the ICU and into a regular room for a few days. He’s no longer connected to dozens of tubes and monitors and can finally move about his room more easily.

 

We expect he’ll be released this week, perhaps as soon as today. A delay in his release might take place because he’s “salt wasting,” not currently maintaining enough body salt. He’s being given salt tablets and encouraged to eat salty foods—which seems odd since doctors are always telling us to limit our salt intake.

 

Last week’s angiogram failed to satisfy doctors that the coils inserted into CJ’s aneurysm two weeks ago were sufficient to eliminate the problem in the long run, so in a few weeks they want CJ to return to the hospital for open brain surgery where they will clip the aneurysm completely and repair the artery wall, ensuring that CJ won’t need to worry about this problem reoccurring. I have difficulty thinking that our son will once more face brain surgery but I never felt confident relying on a metal coil the size of a human hair to keep our son alive. This new surgery (we are told) is lengthy but not particularly complicated and CJ’s recovery time should only be a few days. So this upcoming event hangs over all of our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

 

For the past few days, the subject on CJ’s mind is—taking a shower. All he wants to do is stand under a shower for hours and hours. Since he’ll be staying with us a few days after being discharged, Mrs. Chatterbox and I are tapping into our IRAs to cover our upcoming water bill.

           

Mrs. Chatterbox and I are extremely grateful for the expert care our son has received, and we couldn’t be more proud of the grace and good humor CJ has shown throughout this ordeal. And once more, thanks for your continued support. The light at the end of the tunnel continues to grow brighter.

        



Comments

34 Comments
Great to hear that CJ is on the road to full recovery. Sending healing vibes from the UK.
By: Bryan Jones on January 18, 2016
Bypassing an aneurysm seems preferable to the coil. But a second surgery is scary. Heck! any surgery is scary
By: Uncle Skip on January 18, 2016
That is wonderful to hear!! So happy that he's doing so well. :)
By: Rita on January 18, 2016
This has been a kick in the pants for all of you. Who would have expected such a thing. But you have gone through it well. Congrats and sending thoughts for an even speedier recovery.
By: Tabor on January 18, 2016
Knowing you and Mrs C as well as we all do- CJ's grace and good humor reflects the two of you and how you raised him. He's one lucky man to have such a wonderful mother and father. We are all keeping the three of you in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for letting us know how things are progressing.
By: Kathe W. on January 18, 2016
Judy's son underwent brain surgery for a tumor about 30 years ago. I think the operation lasted 12 hours or so. Prior to it he was given less than a 50 percent chance of surviving. He was back at his construction company only a few weeks later and is still going strong. Brain surgeons make way too much money . . . until we need them.
By: Catalyst on January 18, 2016
Still more to come, but very encouraging news. Let him shower all he wants. We'll keep praying and you keep believing in a full recovery.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 18, 2016
You guys started the year off with a bang my friend. I'm glad things are looking good and hopefully this ordeal will be over for you all soon. Y'all take care. R
By: Rick Watson on January 18, 2016
The idea of open brain surgery freaks me right out but it's good you guys seem to be more positive. Good luck!
By: PT Dilloway on January 18, 2016
Mazel tov--CJ is welcome to come live in my shower if he wants!!
By: fishducky on January 18, 2016
You all have all been run through the wringer but you have managed to stay positive. Surely the second procedure will allow CJ long term and complete recovery.Keeping you all in my prayers.
By: Arkansas Patti on January 18, 2016
well, i hope this brings 'peace of mind' for all.
By: TexWisGirl on January 18, 2016
Thanks for the update & I'm glad to hear that he's doing well. I'll keep him on the prayer list for the upcoming surgery.
By: The Bug on January 18, 2016
It's great that CJ has made good progress. I hope that the next step goes well for him. I bet Mom and Dad are more than happy to have him at home for a while.
By: red on January 18, 2016
Stephen, you and Mrs. C must be emotionally exhausted by all of this. It is good to read he is out of ICU and a clear treatment plan has been established. The idea of a permanent solution offers comfort. Prayers and good thoughts still being offered up.
By: Tom Cochrun on January 18, 2016
Best wishes for CJ's extended recovery, the showeriest shower of all time, and a little respite for you and Mrs. C.
By: Val on January 18, 2016
Glad to hear the good news! As scary as brain surgery may sound, I do believe that this will bring a safer, more permanent result. Best wishes for the surgery and happy showering to CJ!
By: Pixel Peeper on January 18, 2016
Prayers for a full recovery will continue.
By: messymimi on January 18, 2016
This is good news and he will come through this 2nd operation with flying colours. He sounds like he is fit and he has a good mental state going in. I bet he will love taking that shower(s).
By: Birgit on January 18, 2016
Thanks for updating us ... it will be good to have the surgery done and over with - a permanent solution to the problem. You've all had quite a hard few weeks. Ordinary home life will seem like a treat. Take care, all three of you.
By: jenny_o on January 18, 2016
Oh, so happy to read this incredible news. Sorry CJ (and you and Mrs. C) have to undergo another round of surgery but it sure sounds positive and encouraging. Isn't it amazing what becomes important in times of major illness and stress. A shower! Sending heartfelt best wishes and lots of moral support.
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 19, 2016
How amazing....glad to hear his recovery is progressing so well. :)
By: Scott Park on January 19, 2016
i'm glad cj is recovering welll and i hope the second surgery is successful. it must be a dreadful worry for all of you.
By: fran on January 19, 2016
I am glad to hear that he is doing so well. Are they going to leave that shunt in his head after he is released? It sounds odd to me that they would wait to do another surgery. For that would be just setting back the complete healing process that much longer. It would be different, of course, if they needed to wait and see if another surgery might be necessary, but since they have already determined that it will be, I would think that they would want to get it done now.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on January 19, 2016
Thank God. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on January 19, 2016
It's good to know that ... so far, so good. Just know our thoughts and prayers go out to CJ for a full, complete and uncomplicated recovery.
By: Tom Sightings on January 20, 2016
Great prognosis for CJ.
By: Daniel LaFrance on January 20, 2016
I'm sorry a brain surgery is necessary but it sounds like the right path to ensure an end to this problem. So glad he's doing so well. Continuing to send healing vibes out to him!
By: Bouncin Barb on January 20, 2016
So glad things are progressing. I wish CJ and you all the best for the coming surgery.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on January 22, 2016
well, better to have an actual repaired artery than a stop gap but having to face another surgery would be disappointing.
By: ellen abbott on January 23, 2016
I'm very glad that things are looking up and I hope that the surgery is a hundred percent successful and well behind you very soon. CJ will not be the only one delighted when he is fully better.
By: Jenny on January 23, 2016
So very scary, glad things are going well. Prayers are still on the way.
By: cranky on January 24, 2016
I am arriving so late and just now catching up on the news. What a terrifying series of events you've been through with your son. I pray for continued progress and that the subsequent surgery takes care of everything properly and his recovery is swift and complete. Love, prayers, and light sent your way.
By: lime on January 26, 2016
Man, I'm so sorry I've missed out on the news. Glad that hes making it through this rough time. They did surgery on Mama MB's aneurysm it was def a road. Hang in there
By: Hey Monkey Butt on January 27, 2016

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