Time to Exhale: Hospital Update

Hospital-BedThank you, thank you, thank you!  Thank you all for your words of encouragement, support, and compassion. It was super appreciated and really helped to cheer me up when things seemed a little touch and go, if you know what I mean.

Staying in a hospital for more than a few days is UNREAL.

You can’t help but be drawn into the complex interpersonal dramas on the floor  —  with staff AND the rest of the patients.

We have been here 24/7. My DIL and I took turns spending the night with my son so that he’d never be alone. We stayed in a hotel that was close to the hospital, a place to take showers and catch a few hours of sleep.

My son recovered from surgery on the trauma floor. Motorcycle crashes, auto accidents, thyroidectomies, as well as those injured performers from the circus. You prob saw it on TV, right? The human chandelier circus performers who fell forty feet in Providence, Rhode Island? They’re here, being treated for some really horrific injuries.

It was a total media frenzy scene that caused the hospital to go CRAZY. News vans were EVERYWHERE — Fox, CNN, all the big names plus local news.

And then there was the doozy of a roomie — you will NOT believe this is for real, but I swear it’s the truth.

A guy we’ve named “One Tooth Tommy” (for obvious reasons) was the victim of a horrific car crash. He was in the passenger seat, but the driver was running from the police — and ran smack into a telephone pole. The driver escaped unharmed, but his passenger ended up with two smashed legs, two smashed hips, a cracked pelvis, broken arm, broken ribs, and a rod in his back.

It became painfully obvious to us that Tommy’s own long standing personal relationship with drugs made it impossible for a normal amount of morphine to have any effect on his pain. He was only twenty-six years old yet he looked not a day younger than forty.

So…in addition to selling drugs from the hospital room, his girlfriend decided to take matters into her own hands and reduce the pain all by herself by giving him Xanax and probably a cocktail of other things — and almost ended him, too.

I walked by his bed and noticed that he appeared comatose, and not that I wasn’t grateful for the cessation of his swearing and screaming for more drugs, but his “self-medication” seemed to have potentially become PERMANENT, if you know what I mean.

I flew out of the room and flagged down his RN. She rushed in, attempted to rouse him and couldn’t, but she tried asking him all kinds of questions; “what’s your name”, “do you know where you are”…basic stuff that we all need to know, I guess. Right?

When her attempts failed, she flagged down a doctor who was able to rouse him and again attempted to ascertain any lucidity and level of compos mentis. He didn’t know his name or where he was, which caused another level of response to the situation.

The doc immediately shut-off all IV pain medication and he slowly started to become more alert; well, as alert at One Tooth Tommy probably ever is…if ya know where I’m going with THAT.

The nurse had a stern “chat” with the girlfriend about how it wasn’t a good idea to take matters into her own hands because it was unsafe for her boyfriend and it could have killed him.

We’re not sure how much she comprehended, as she had also medicated herself quite liberally, and was slurring her words and weaving up and down the hallway.

You would be absolutely correct if you figured that my son was removed from that room faster than the speed of light.

The room he moved to was shared with an ex-Marine who was a welcome and awesome change — a real gentleman as well as a hero. His reason for being in the hospital? He was stabbed several times in his back and liver because he tried to intervene and break up a fight at a restaurant. A real-life hero.

I’ve got a zillion bizarre stories like this; I should write a screenplay for sure.

But for now, I’m just happy that hell week is drawing to a close and we’ll be going home tomorrow. I can finally breathe. Yay! Pop the bubbly!


55 thoughts on “Time to Exhale: Hospital Update

  1. It’s so good that you and your daughter in law could take turns being there. It would have made a huge difference for your son (and your peace of mind). Hat’s off to the hard working doctors, nurses and ancillary staff in hospitals everywhere.


  2. Holy mackerel! Your hospital experiences require a shot of something just to get through, it sounds like.

    Glad to hear he is getting better!


  3. Wow, that is one story especially about his 1st roommate. Glad that he got moved. Also glad that he is out of the hospital. Take care and get some much needed rest, yourself!


  4. Wow, what I wild and crazy hospital experience! Even though some of the stories were sad, I couldn’t help laughing as I read them. It’s wonderful to hear that your son is doing well.


  5. Pop the bubbly, indeed. I’m glad he is recovering well and you will be headed home soon (you may already be back in SD at this point.) If you need anything, let me know. If he needs anything, let me know.


  6. Wow….I am…stunned. My hospital stay was so calm and the hospital in which I was placed had all single rooms. Having been diagnosed with cancer and being operated on for the cancer was traumatic enuff, I think if I had had to be in the room with One Tooth Tommy, I’d have flung myself from the window. I was on the second floor, but still…..I am so glad all of this is coming to an end for you all and that you will soon be able to get home and be.at.peace. Whew!


    • That’s what a hospital SHOULD be, a calm and tranquil place to heal mind and body. This whole idea of sharing a room is archaic. I’m glad you had a good experience — mostly I hear tales like ours! I can’t imagine what my son would have done if we hadn’t been there to champion for him, but it’s over, we’re out, and as we speak, I’m in my son’s living room in New Haven while he rests and then I’ll be cleaning out his office at Yale, packing up, and flying to Cali!


      • I am glad you are all safe and sound and bound for better places. There is one hospital here with shared rooms – your insurance has to cover the private room rates. It is a hosopital where mainly uninsured people are taken care of. they get good and up-to-date care, but you can tell the other: calmness, nurses who listen and don’t hustle you about, better food, more nurturing, consideration of family – is sorely lacking. I visited a friend and his roomie – notice – his – was an elderly African American woman moaning and yelling with dementia. where they had changed the bandage on him, was on the floor bedside. I went to the nurses’ station about it and was told, we just do’t have time to do housekeeping, that is what housekeeprs are for. I said, you don’t have time to pick up a bandage you obviously threw on the floor? If it isn’t up and the floor sanitized in that room by the time I leave, I am reporting you to the state dept. of healh professions and practices. I am taking a pic on my cell and emailing them. Well, it was grudgingly done. I was appalled. I felt so badly for my friend but he was unemployed, no ins. and had been in an accident not his fault. We advocated for him and a lawyer had him moved to another hospital for treatment that took awhile. I don’t know what people do who have no one who cares and are unable to take up for themselves. the other hospitals in this area are excellent and “brag” about their care and health ratings. Safe journey to you all.


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  9. I realize I missed this sequence because I was just out of the hospital myself and I wasn’t reading anything online. I’m glad I’m late to the party and only able to get positive updates! Life is so fragile and we get reminded of it far too often. Nice for you to get that happy ending!

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