A Birthday Thank You

My son-in-law Robert Felty works for Automattic, the company that produces WordPress, the sophisticated website software I use for this blog. This was a challenging summer for Rob and his family. While on a business trip to Montenegro he fainted and his head hit the pavement. Due to the quick thinking and advocacy of his colleagues he was admitted to the hospital with two brain bleeds for which he had two craniotomies in two successive days. My daughter flew to be with him, travel arranged by Automattic, and manage his care and she was limited to two hours of visiting on only two days a week. But Rob was in bad shape. Not able to speak for more than a few words or feed himself. Took a week to get back on his feet but amazingly he made great progress and was able to return home with Clare in a couple of weeks.
True to Rob’s nature he pushed himself to recover physically and made excellent progress through long walks and pushups, his favorite exercise. His injuries were sufficient for doctors to recommend inpatient rehab. He spent a little over three weeks participating in therapy with other patients, some of whom had similar issues due to long covid. He actually bonded with other patients and made friends.
But his normal work pattern was hugely disrupted by this accident. Automattic was amazing with support for him and Clare. My daughter emphasizes how it could have been so much worse had Automattic not been so caring and supportive. Imagine hospitalization in a foreign country with such a serious accident. But he was also fortunate that the hospital had an experienced surgeon to stop the brain bleeding. And for his colleagues who kept the emergency room from releasing him prematurely.
He has continued to work as much as he can during his recovery, also typical of Rob. But the company seems to emphasize that he is on medical leave with pay.
As a follow-up to the accident he had undergone many medical tests with little result until a “tilt table” test that shocked his heart rhythm so that it stopped completely. He revived in about 20 seconds. That means his blood pressure can get so low his heart will stop. A kind of cardiac arrest. A pacemaker will be implanted to guard against a future event. It will monitor and create a regular rhythm if it slows.
Needless to say it’s a shock to everyone that our most healthy and fit son-in-law is subject to a condition that could have killed him.
For his birthday the Automattic CEO asked for examples of blogs linked to his birthday post. It’s heartening to know how their work has spread through the world enhancing personal and business communication. But it’s a more impressive feat to have created a unique distributed worker company that values caring as well as profit. I wish the company and its staff a wonderful new year and a rewarding birthday to their CEO Matt Mullenweg.

Rob as Santa 2023
Rob as Santa 2023
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