Sunday, February 5, 2012

Journal / December 7th, 8th, 9th

Baton Rouge General Hospital
Tuesday December 7, 1993

  Feel like it was Pearl Harbor yesterday. Awake feeling drugged and tired beyond belief. 8:15 AM. I call Dee, asking if she is going to see Jen at the 9 AM visiting time. She is disoriented and makes no sense. Showering and dressing quickly, I get there just in time. There is a note from one of the nurses on the Critical Care floor, Maddie.

  I checked on Jennifer during the night. I hope you both got some rest! I don't know when I'll be back again but I will come to check on Jennifer. I'm praying for all of you.

  Bless that woman. Good-hearted, really cares for her patients, takes losing one personally.

  Anxiety gnaws at me. Visitors are herded into the corridor leading to MICU. Wanting to sprint down the hallway to quickly end the wait, to find out any news, good, bad, Jen's nurse greets me with a slight smile and nod, telling me Jen's temperature is normal.

Baton Rouge General Hospital
Wednesday December 8, 1993

  Dr, Stewart breezes into MICU and leaves without any real acknowledgment. Laurie visits her sister and as soon as she touches Jen's hand and starts talking, Jen's heart rate drops into the 90's. Blood pressure still high. No fever. Hopefully her brain is regulating itself, sending out the best system signals it can at this point. Jen looks better. Color good. But the Respiration Therapist treating her gets concrete-like junk our of her right lung.
  Dr. Moreland checks on Jen during his rounds and I thank him for the other night. He replies that he doesn't deserve an award for his work, what with the trouble with the trach tube. He tells me he lost a daughter about Jen's age, shaking his head, remembering that long ago loss.

Baton Rouge General Hospital
Thursday December 9, 1993

  Jen continues to improve in color. More stable vital signs. See Dr. Moreland, miss Dr. Meador. Dee and I sit in the waiting room down the hall from MICU, waiting, waiting, waiting for Jen to be transferred to room 325. Sitting there, sharing stories with others, concerned parents and friends of other patients, this woman from Hammond starts telling us all about her husband's heart blockages. She's one of those people, poking her listeners with her finger for emphasis, keeping them awake maybe. She has the diagram the doctor gave her showing what her husband's problems are, a marked X where a 99% blockage is in one of his arteries. We tell her why we're waiting, what's wrong with Jen. She says, "My nephew got bit by a mosquito and just died . . . just kept having seizures that kept destroying his brain until he died." She rattles on about her nephew's death and funeral until Dee and I glance at each other, communicating the same thought, that we should tell the woman, With that much blockage where that little X is on the diagram means your husband will croak . . . no chance . . . But nice meeting you and hearing about your nephew's death and funeral.
  On the way home after the visit, the rusty old Lincoln breaks down for the second time in a week. Typical. When you least need something like that.
  Home to rest and change clothes before going back for the next allowed visit, I get a bill in the mail for Jen's one week stay in BHU. 


  1. There's all too often a woman from Hammond in such places. Maybe it was tiredness that governed your calm; she deserved a dressing down. You've got me hanging on for developments in Jennifer's plight.

  2. If this were a book in my hands, I'd have already sped to the last page to make sure it comes out okay. For you, being there, it must have been unbearable.