So I have recurrent MRSA. Have for the past year or so. That's been super fun, cuz I've had 7, count them, 7 MRSA related surgeries and spent 6, count them, 6 month on complete bed rest (on my side or stomach) of the last 15 months due to it. I had cut short a much anticipated trip to Australia from a visit my niece-daughter (niece by relation, daughter by heart) and fly home by emergency to be directly hospitalized (over Thanksgiving, that was awesome) and other fun things. That's the backdrop.
I got MRSA again and was in the hospital, at Duke, on the very same floor the Chad usually was, the 8th floor (neuro, they were out of room on general medicine, so lucky me), for 8 days. And I don't really mean lucky me. It sucked. Being there reminded me of Chad. And how I couldn't save him .... from ALS it turned out, but still. He was dead. And being alone alone alone alone at the hospital, well, it SUCKED. The only good thing, but also bad thing, is that all the doctors and nurses, and I do mean all of them and even some of the orderlies and people who cleaned the rooms .... RECOGNIZED me. Like "uhhhh, don't we know you" and I'd say you and explain then they'd say "oh! how is Chad?!" with a big smile.
Then I got to explain. But word spread very fast and I was then immediately surrounded with love and condolences which was nice ... but .... well, not. Because he was .... dead. Sigh. That damn double edged sword.
And, it was damn near impossible for me to sleep at the hospital. Not for the usual reasons. They were awesome about it being quiet and dark. The bed was very comfortable and warm. They didn’t come in for meds and tests at weird times. Here is why it was impossible for me to sleep.
After a few nights of crying - not regular crying, heaving, sobbing, gasping for air crying because being there reminded me of Chad - I had an oddball idea about trying to sleep there.
I got out of the comfy fabulous heated soft bed into the guest chair in the room - the legs kick out, it is padded, but the back doesn't go back, it sits ramrod straight up.
I curled up really really small on the seat with a pillow, laid my head on the hard wooden arm ....... and I apparently instantly fell asleep. I slept for 12 hours straight in that uncomfortable chair curled up in a ball.
Later, upon waking, and finding myself draped in blankets, I realized that I had slept there because for years and years and YEARS I have slept in that very chair at Duke keeping watch over Chad.
The nurse had rapidly concluded this was why I could sleep there. And didn’t wake me to “move me to the comfortable bed”. Instead, he draped me blankets as I slept and moved the IV poles over to me at the chair (I only got hooked up to it during antibiotic times every 4 hours) and silently ran my medications there, carefully attaching my IV somehow without moving or waking me. They also prominently posted a "NO ENTRY WITHOUT ASKING NURSE - YES EVEN YOU LAB!!" sign on my door so I would not be bothered or be mistaken for a visitor. (I wish I had taken a photo of that sign, it was super awesome of them to do that, apparently the charge nurse did this, she signed her name for extra emphasis)
They did all of this so I could sleep curled up comfortably-uncomfortable in the guest chair, not the $30,000 hospital bed my insurance company paid for.
That is my grief, yes. But the moral of this story is unbelievable human kindness. Thank you Kevin the night nurse and Beth the charge nurse at Duke on the night shift on the 8th floor for doing that for me.
That 8 days wasn't fun. But at least I got to sleep in a chair.