Baton Rouge General Hospital
Monday December 6, 1993
Dee continues crying, repeating her litany. I can't take this anymore I can't take this anymore I can't take this anymore.
Suzie emerges from the room to get something from the Nurse's Station, glances at us, at Dee on the floor still sobbing.
Suzie helps get Dee to the Nurse's Lounge. Moreland comes in and tells us Jen's trach tube was too long for her, that it was resting against the side of her trachea which caused it to dislodge, and that it was lucky that Suzie was so close, that she did a fine job. He says he will recommend Intensive Care if I insist.
Things bump along slowly, entirely too long before something is done, Waiting, waiting, for someone from Intensive Care to come get Jen.
Why the delay?
Jen's heart rate is 160 and climbing.
Bitch, curse, scream.
Two of the nurses decide to take her downstairs.
The lightbulb goes off again: take total charge, demand things be done more quickly.
And it works
We are not allowed into MICU (Monitored Intensive Care Unit). Hard to leave, but a relief knowing it is one nurse, one patient. And, really, it is the best thing for us, too. Limitations reached long ago. Being sent home is a godsend. Becky Horne, a friend, is with us now.
When did she come?
The three of us walk down the hall away from MICU, toward the back elevators. Approaching an open doorway, a stack of metal trays falls into the hallway like a felled tree, telescoping into another room. Dr. Rogers, one of the neurologists treating Jennifer, walks up and waits with us at the elevator doors.
"You have children?' I ask him.
"Are you going to have children?' Dee finally asks him.
Rogers smiles, shrugs, shakes his head.
"Were you ever a child yourself?" Becky asks.
Smiles, all, battle-weary.
The door to the elevator opens. Two tall black men in trenchcoats are standing on each side of a gurney with a covered body on it. There is no movement from anyone. The elevator doors slowly close on the tableau.
Guilty about being home, showered, crawling into bed, sinking into sleep rapidly. It is 12:40 AM. One last call for a report. Linda, Jen's MICU nurse for the night, say Jen's fever has spiked to 103, that she has called Moreland and Meadors, has a cooling blanket coming.
I slide into sleep helplessly.