This page is dedicated to providing information and updates concerning the status of my good friend and colleague, Marc Orchant. Marc suffered a massive cardiac infarction on Sunday morning, December 2nd 2007. My original post is copied below.
Please Note: I’ve just created a donations account to help support Marc and his family during this time. Clicking the link below will take you to a PayPal Page where you can make a donation in support of the Orchant’s. The company name, Avastar, Inc, is the name of a company I founded. I will update to a newer more elegant system as soon as time permits. If you want to place a donation link on your own site, let me know and I can give you the code that I’m using for this one. Thank You.
Update:6:00PM Mountain Time, December 12th, 2007
The Services commemorating the life of Marc Orchant where held today. It was a somber affair not a dry eye in the house. There were hundreds of people attending, overflowed the parking lot and the fixed seating. A number of people spoke: Marc’s daughter, Rebecca gave an incredibly moving eulogy with remarkable composure. Marc, I am certain, was very proud.
I also spoke. I wanted to share the words I read to share my memories of Marc and the Friend who has left me behind. Be gentle; my heart is on my sleeve with this one.
Good morning. As you may have heard, Marc used to say that I had my own time zone.
(if late) I’ve even heard that I’ll be late to my own funeral so I’m sure Marc isn’t the least but surprised that I’m late today…
I have to tell you; I can’t imagine how Sue and Rebecca and Jason must feel right now. Marc and I were friends for only a short time – just about two years – and yet I myself feel so lost without him.
Sue sent me a text message this morning at 4AM. She told me to get some sleep. But I didn’t. I was afraid that if I fell asleep I’d be late (or even later than I already am). You see when Marc and I traveled on business he’d be my alarm clock. If I didn’t answer the phone he’d come and get me. He’d knock softly on the door; if I didn’t stir, he’d open it and in that soft voice I’m sure you all remember he’d say,
“Time to get going, Pal. We don’t want to be late.”
I’m sure he knew we were going to be late. I am always late. Of course you all know that Marc was always on time. Always. Yet in spite of this flaw of mine, Marc never once – never once lost patience with me. I don’t really know why. I don’t know what I did so right to have someone so spectacular take such a liking to me that he’d overlook a characteristic so contradictory to his own nature.
His patience never waned although he had every right to be annoyed. Typically I’d rush down to the hotel lobby and Marc would be sitting there, waiting patiently. He’d smile his broad smile, ask me if I was ready, and head for the door, his broad strides forcing me to take two steps for every one of his.
I met Marc when he joined Foldera. For me, he was the silver lining in what ended up being an otherwise bad experience. The day we met we simply clicked and that bond grew as we worked together, planned together, shared our various life experiences with one another, and grew closer and closer as time passed.
When we both left Foldera (resigning within two weeks of one another) we knew that we wanted to work together again as soon as possible. We got that chance this fall when I joined a new blog network and immediately recommended Marc as co-editor.
Although that experience didn’t quite work out as planned as you may have read on my blog- it nevertheless gave Marc and I the chance to attend another couple of events together – the highlight of which was live-blogging DEMO Fall, tag team style.
At the time of his passing, Marc and I had become so close that we spoke to each other every day. Using our respective strengths to help one another to become more successful, working through problems, making future plans and – of course – telling stories. Marc loved the title Chief Storyteller – for that’s what Marc is.
Because we spoke every day, I can tell you a few things that you might not know. Marc was just about to begin a new chapter of his career with the David Allen company. If you knew Marc at all, you knew of his passion for the Getting Things Done life-management strategy of which he was a “black belt” practitioner.
What you may not know is that Getting Things Done is the 7 Habits of tomorrow. I am convinced it is the next big thing in time management strategies.
In life there are those rare instances where all the preparation you’ve done before, all the experience you’ve accumulated, all your stored knowledge and your body of prior work intersect with an exploding trend. When this happens you get famous. You get rich. You get everything you ever wanted.
I believe with all my heart that Marc was at the precipice of just such a moment and I told him so on more than one occasion. He was so excited to finally be working with David Allen – “his guru” – the really cool thing is the David and all the executives at David’s company were just as excited to be working with Marc.
In fact, anyone that had the chance to work with Marc was excited about it. Such is Marc’s professionalism, his ethics, his obvious skills, his diplomacy and his energy that he added enormously to every single thing he touched both professionally and personally.
And anyone — and I really mean anyone — benefitted from knowing Marc. In fact, I really don’t know what I’m going to do without this man that had in such a short time become my closest and most influential friend.
When Marc was struck ill I was torn between the desire to be there at his bedside and the understanding that my presence there might distract from the things that needed to be done. Sue is such a gracious hostess that I was afraid she might be worried about me when she needed to worry about Marc and herself.
I felt I’d be more useful as a source of news and information – both because I know that’s what Marc would have done for me and because I knew that once the community learned what had happened they would be clamoring for updates about their friend. I didn’t want the Orchant Family to have to be fielding hundreds of calls so I centralized the news on a new blog I’d created with pages specifically devoted to providing updates and information about Marc’s condition.
It is testimony to just how special Marc is that there are hundreds upon hundreds of comments across the blog I created and the one where I first posted the news of Marc’s emergency. If you haven’t done so, you really should take a moment when you have some quiet time and take a look at this page. Marc was loved by so many people. he touched the lives of people he had never even met. He was respected by even the most elite members of the technology community and he gave of himself freely, frequently and with pleasure.
When Sue called me to give me the devastating news that Marc was not going to recover I was again torn about going to be at his bedside for those last hours. I had just been with Marc and his family right before Thanksgiving, staying at their home for a few days. We did a presentation, attended an awards banquet, saw two movies, played with many gadgets, laughed, and of course, Marc told stories…
When they dropped me off at the airport Marc gave me one of his typical great bear hugs. “Fly Safe, Pal” he said. “I’ll see you soon.”
I didn’t want the last time I saw Marc to be in a hospital bed surrounded by machines. I feel that he wasn’t there anymore anyway. I believe that our bodies are simply containers for our souls and when our time here ends our souls leave them behind.
Marc and I were even talking about something similar during my visit. I had noted that all the greatest guitar players seem to pass away just as they reached the peak of their skills. I contended that they passed because they were being drafted for a bigger gig. Only the best for the “A” team upstairs I said only half joking. Marc didn’t disagree.
I guess that someone with a lot more on his schedule needed an expert on Getting Things Done and so he called for the best there was…
I only wish he could have waited longer. Marc, my friend; thank you for all the good you brought into my life. Thank you for the great advice and for the never ending enthusiasm. Thank you for the kindness and the early morning and late evening talks. Thank you for making me a better writer and a more complete human being. Thank you for your stories and your wisdom and your love. But most of all, Thank you for being you. I will miss you always but never, ever forget you.
Love Is Stronger Than Death Lyrics
The The, Matt Johnson
Me & my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning.
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter isn’t what it seems.
Here come the blue skies Here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
LoveLoveLove is stronger than death.
LoveLoveLove is stronger than death.
In our lives we hunger for those we cannot touch.
All the thoughts unuttered & all the feelings unexpressed
Play upon our hearts and souls and won’t ever let us rest
But, awoken by grief, our spirits speak
“How could you believe that the life within the seed
that grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat.
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried.
Could ever die?”
Here come the blue skies Here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Because Love is stronger than death.
Update: 3:00PM Pacific Time, December 10th, 2007
Services for Marc Orchant will be held at 11AM on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007
The location is:Congregation Albert 3800 Louisiana Ave NE Albuquerque, NM
2:56PM Pacific Time December 9th, 2007:
It is with great sadness that I report that Marc Orchant, Husband to Sue, Father to Rebecca and Jason, and friend to so many, passed away just a short time ago. I was notified by Marc’s brother Craig.
His family and closest friends were at his side and his favorite music was playing. Craig said that Marc’s passing was as peaceful and easy as anyone could have hoped and he left this world surrounded by love from so many people that he couldn’t possibly have failed to know how many people cared for, appreciated and respected him.
Anyone that knew Marc also knew how much he loved music; especially the Grateful Dead. The excerpt below is from one of the songs that helped the family say goodbye to Marc and helped Marc move on to the next world. I talked to Marc almost every single day for the past couple of years. I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that I am going to miss him so, so much.
To allow for people that may need to travel and take time of work, services are most likely going to be held this coming Wednesday afternoon at the Temple where the Orchants are members. I will provide more specific details as soon as they have been provided to me. Marc’s family expressed once again their gratitude for the outpouring of love and support that the technology community has shown in this very difficult time. Your warmth, concern and friendship will not be forgotten.
River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
all the way back home
It’s a far gone lullaby
sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I’ve come
since I first left home
Goin home, goin home
by the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul
UPDATE: 8:18AM Pacific Time, December 9th, 2007
From Sue Orchant:
If the outpouring of love, support and caring could heal Marc, he would be with us telling stories right now. Today we are going to make Marc more comfortable. Friends came by all day yesterday with continued prayers and love. Today just our family will be with him. I know you are all still there for him and us. Thank you for all you have done.
Sue and Family
Updates will be added to this page in reverse chronological order with the must current news at the top. If you have previously linked to the page at Blognation.com and have posted this story, please update your links as I no longer have access to that page and thus will be posting all news, updates and pertinent information here. Additionally, if you have previously posted a get well comment on the Blognation post, you might wish to duplicate that comment here as this is where people will be directed in the future. Thanks for your support.
Sue and the rest of the Orchant family have expressed their surprise and gratitude for the outpouring of support from the technology community. Although at this time they are not able to directly offer thanks for the continued prayers, well wishes, and warmth, they have asked me to thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Your words of encouragement, cards, flowers, and other gifts, but particularly the incredible love that people have shown towards Marc and his family have helped make this very difficult time somewhat less unbearable.
Saturday December 8th, 8:20AM Pacific Time
Well… This isn’t easy. I just got off the phone with Sue Orchant and she has given me another update on Marc’s condition. What Sue tells me is that Marc has essentially failed to improve significantly over the past several days. He has not ever regained consciousness since the event and at this point it is not looking very good. I hate writing these words. I hate that this has happened. This guy is one of the best, most amazing people. My heart goes out to Sue and the Orchant Family. I wish to god there was something more I could do, some miracle I could conjure. I want to fight this thing but there’s just nothing to fight. We’re still waiting and praying and that is so, so hard….
Friday December 7th, 7:30PM Pacific Time
This evening I spoke with a friend of Marc’s from New Mexico – Ed Bott. He related to me some additional information on Marc’s current condition. According to Ed, Marc opened his eyes again today a couple of times and is a bit more physically active.
This is not to say that Marc has regained consciousness or had that breakthrough “What am I doing here?” moment that we are all praying for, but it is a step in the right direction. Ed emphasized that Marc’s body is physically strong. This is very good news – anyone that’s ever gone for a walk would know this. I’m a former professional endurance athlete yet walking across town with Marc would leave me sweating.
The less positive side is that Marc is still not coming to. While there are no physical signs of neurological damage the one thing that medical science can’t really do is assess function in any way other than to observe it. In other words until Marc wakes up and starts talking about gadgets again we really have no idea if he’s okay or not.
This is what is weighing so heavily on people right now as the longer that Marc remains unconscious the more concern exists for his long term prognosis. Sue and the rest of the family continue to stay by Marc’s side around the clock. They are talking to him, playing music for him and generally doing everything that they can to stimulate his senses to try and bring him back around. Sue in particular has been with Marc all but a very few hours a day when she gets a little sleep. She’s one of the strongest women that I know but Ed says that she’s getting tired.
The support of the community has been a constant source of comfort and inspiration and Ed (and I second this sentiment) want to tell everyone to keep the good thoughts and positive energy flowing. It is one way that all of us no matter where we are can have a positive impact on this situation and help Marc and his family to get through this difficult time.
Thursday December 6th, 6PM Pacific Time
Hi everyone. I have a new update on Marc. This evening I spoke with Norm, a friend of the Orchant family who lives in New Mexico. Norm called me at Sue’s request and during our conversation he related to me some updated news. Marc’s condition has stabilized enough that they were able to move him to give him a CT scan as well as an EEG. For those that don’t know, the CT scan allows doctors to get a detailed view of an internal organ such as the brain.
In Marc’s case they were looking for any signs that he’s suffered any bleeding in his brain or had any signs of a stroke. The very good news here is that the CT scan was clear and no evidence of any cerebral hemorrhaging or stroke was seen.
Marc also was given an EEG or electroencephalogram. This test looks at the electrical energy within the brain to measure “brainwaves”. It allows doctors to see if the brain is active as well as if there’s any abnormal activity such as that which occurs when someone has an epileptic seizure. Marc’s EEG did not reveal any abnormalities – that’s the good news. It also did not show the degree or kind of electrical activity that would be seen in a healthy, alert person.
My understanding from my talk with Norm is that the activity measured was that consistent with someone unconscious. This means that no real conclusions about any damage can really be made and that really only time will tell what Marc’s situation will be. The doctors apparently feel that the next few days are very important and they are hoping to see Marc making continued small but steady steps towards recovery.
Now for the really interesting and exciting news. One thing that the doctors recommended was to try and stimulate Marc’s senses as much as possible. His iPhone is in his pocket all the time playing his favorite music – I’m sure The Dead are in that rotation! – thanks to Cathryn Hrudicka who also made this brilliant suggestion.
The other way of stimulating Marc’s senses is with smell. One thing that they did was to bring a steaming hot plate of potato latkes into the room – when they put this plate under Marc’s nose, Norm says that Marc immediately opened his eyes and for a period of about ten minutes he was locked on Sue before finally closing them again. Norm was careful to say that Marc wasn’t really “awake” but that this is the first time that his eyes have opened where he was apparently able to focus on his surroundings.
Norm also mentioned that the day itself had been gray, cold, steely; but that just at the time that Marc opened his eyes there was an opening in the overcast and it bathed the room in a warm New Mexico sun-glow. I don’t know if that’s a message but I want to believe that it was. At this point guarded optimism is still the prevailing sentiment.
Marc continues to make small but measurable improvements and that in itself is the most important thing. I believe that the love, support and thoughts of so many people has the ability to profoundly (one of Marc’s favorite words) influence the future so keep those thoughts coming. Also, I am working to establish a trust for Marc and the Orchant family. I will post further information here once I have it set up.
Wednesday December 5, 3.13pm Pacific From Michael Sampson:
“I rang the hospital for an update, and they gave the phone to Sue. She said that Marc is just back from having an EEG scan (heart function) and CT scan (brain function). He has not regained any consciousness, however his body functions are improving so that he could be moved for the tests. He is now responding to pain (eg, reacts when arms and feet are pressed), and his eyes are responding to light. There is better stability on heart rate and blood pressure. The family is awaiting the report from the neurosurgeon. One day at a time.”
Update as of 4:14 AM Pacific Time, December 5th, 2007:
Editor’s Note: I just got off the phone with Sue Orchant and she has given the update below.
A Message from Sue Orchant
Hi everyone. I want you all to know that your amazing, incredibly overwhelming, heartfelt response of love, concern, and good wishes for Marc is helping myself, Rebecca, Jason and out family get through this difficult time. Please keep sending those prayers and positive energy Marc’s way. He knows as well as I that you are all there for him. I’ll have to tell him that he’ll need to change his name to George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life). It’s a beautiful thing to see. In this past day we have seen some baby steps of improvement. He has some response to stimuli and his oxygen levels and heart rate have improved. I am guardedly optimistic. He still has not regained consciousness but we will take things minute by minute. It’s hard to put into words but I know you are all here with me and I appreciate you all. I will update you as soon as I know more. Thank You. Sue and the Orchant Family
Tuesday December 4, 7.30pm Pacific From Randy Burge:
“I was able to stop by Presbyterian Hospital a few minutes ago, 8:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (US), and visit with Marc’s brother, Ed, and sister, Alison, who are in ABQ from NYC with their families. Marc’s family is mostly here now, it seems, with a number of relatives arriving today. Sue was away taking a few minutes rest at Becca’s apartment, but she will return soon. Word from Ed is that Marc’s condition has stabilized on several life-support machines although he has not regained consciousness. There is an active question among those spending time with Marc about his chances for regaining consciousness, so our thought energies and prayers are definitely needed and we all believe, felt. I was able to sit with Marc for a few minutes. His color is good and the medical indicators are holding in the moments I was there. Ed mentioned that there are far fewer pieces of medical equipment in the room now than yesterday, so we take that as progress for Marc, perhaps. Marc, you are beautiful person. Hang with us, Buddy!”
Tuesday December 4, “late afternoon”
From Steven Meilleur: "I too had a chance to go to the hospital late this afternoon, and was fortunate to be able to spend a few minutes with Marc - mostly talked with him about Telluride and other musical adventures to be had. Had a chance to visit a bit with Sue, Becca, Marc's parents and other members of the family, all of whom are keeping the faith and hope flowing. To all of you - please keep the prayers and positive energy flowing for all ... Marc, buddy ... we have tarp runs to make at Telluride - hang in, rest up, and gear up - prayin' for a miracle."
Tuesday December 4, 1pm Pacific
From Michael Sampson:
"Update at 1pm Pacific time on Tuesday December 4 ... I rang the hospital for an update, and spoke to one of Marc's brothers. All of his immediate family are there. Marc has not yet regained consciousness. Please keep him in your prayers."
Original Post THIS IS NOT AN ATTEMPT AT HUMOR PLEASE REPOST
At some time between 7:30 and 8:10 AM on Sunday Morning December 2nd, 2007, Marc Orchant, my fellow author on this blog, as well as one of my closest friends sustained a massive heart attack while working in his home office. At this time Marc is in critical condition at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Critical Cardiac Care Unit, Bed 3.
He is not expected to regain consciousness for the next 24 to 48 hours. I was notified by Marc’s wife, Sue and asked to help notify Marc’s colleagues, friends and other business associates. Marc was scheduled to go to Seattle, WA as well as Ojai, CA this coming week. Obviously he will not be able to attend either event.
Those of you that have association with either of Marc’s scheduled appearances at these locations, please notify those that require notice of this turn of events. According to Sue Orchant, Marc was up early Sunday morning as is his normal custom. Sue told me that he was working in his office from about 7:30 AM until 8:10 when Sue says she heard a strange noise in Marc’s office.
When she went to investigate she saw that Marc was not sitting in front of the computer like he normally does and was slumped over between his desk and a small couch that is in the room. Initially, Sue said, she though he was leaning over doing something to their Golder Retriever but then she realized that he was not conscious.
Fortunately, Sue has basic medical knowledge and after verifying that Marc was not choking and had a clear airway she began to perform CPR while their son, Jason, called paramedics. The ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes and technicians immediately took over performing CPR and administered treatment with a cardiac defibrillator. Marc was rushed into emergency open heart surgery where an angioplasty was performed to restore circulation in the blocked artery.
Sue went on to tell me that in spite of Marc’s apparent good health, he has severe occlusion in both his other arteries and they too will require treatment soon. That, however is a secondary concern as is the condition of Marc’s heart muscle. The primary concern and the question that cannot be answered until Marc regains consciousness is the nature or extent of any neurological damage as a result of insufficient oxygen reaching Marc’s brain.
While Marc still had what appeared to be normal color when Sue found him she is uncertain as to the exact time that Marc suffered the infarction. It is also unknown if Marc had stopped breathing or been without oxygen for any length of time prior to her discovery of the situation. Currently Marc’s immediate family as well as his brothers and parents are in or on their way to Albuquerque to be with Marc.
Sue has asked me to keep Marc’s colleagues and friends in the technology community updated as information becomes available. Please do not contact Sue for updates. I will publish any information that I have in multiple venues to keep people informed of any changes in Marc’s condition. For those of you that wish to send flowers, cards, or other gifts, Marc is at:
Presbyterian Hospital Cardiac Care Unit Bed #3
1100 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
the hospital switchboard number is 505-841-1234. My thoughts and prayers go out to Marc and his family in this difficult time. Marc is one of the finest human beings that I have ever had the good fortune to know and I pray that Marc makes a full and speedy recovery.
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