After a 4 week hiatus, we returned to Dodd Hall tonight. Our visit lasted close to 2 hrs tonight.
As the title of this indicates, this was probably one of the hardest nights in my volunteering career at Dodd. We came across a patient that had obviously been in an accident of some sort, based on the neck brace that covered her neck, going all the way to the back of her head - looked very uncomfortable. She had a friend with her, but the friend left to go get her some clothes at Target for PT. She was a new arrival, from a hospital in Kentucky, and had endured a 4 hr ride in an ambulance back to Dodd. She is from Marysville.
We were chatting, and she said she also liked cats - what she said was she preferred cats to dogs and wanted to know if there were any cats at Dodd. I said probably not - the litter box was dangerous to sick people who had immune system issues. I made some comment that some people were sick in a different way than she was - that is was obvious to me she had been injured in some sort of accident. That's when she dropped the bomb - that while her injuries were bad, they were not the worst thing that had happened. Her husband had not survived the accident.
This was a middle aged couple, he was 47, I am guessing she was about 45. They were in a motorcycle accident in Kentucky, on their was to a NASCAR race in Bristol, Tn. They were riders for 25 yrs - the bike they were on was a Honda Gold Wing. Apparently, they were ~50 miles from their last stop when all of a sudden, at 70 mph, her husband slumped over on the tank. She asked him if he was OK - and he said no. The last thing she remembers was the guard rail on the right side of the road. They were ejected from the bike ~60 feet into a ravine. The bike, with a trailer attached, veered across the highway and hit the left guard rail and finally came to rest again on the right side of the road. Miraculously, no other cars were involved - and a bunch of cars who had seen the accident immediately pulled over and started looking for the couple.
It appears the husband had a heart attack - talk about lousy timing. It is a miracle the wife is alive - and she knows it. Both were wearing helmets and riding clothing. The first flowers this lady received at the hospital in Kentucky were from the first car that stopped to help them.
I was in tears with her - I cannot imagine the physical pain she is in, but the emotional pain as well. The only thing I could think of was what this woman was going through - having to deal with her recovery, they death of her husband and the manner in which it happened. It was very upsetting to me. She is in the top three of the most difficult situations emotionally for me to deal with - she, Kim Weaver (20 yr old aneurysm patient, who is doing very well, by the way) and Mr. Koslow (cancer patient).
On a positive note, nurse Heather has been working very hard on preparing some materials on animal assisted therapy for a conference in October. She found 2 patients tonight who agreed to sign a waiver of confidentiality so their picture could be taken with little Chel. Heather got some great pics tonight of Chel interacting with the patients. I will see if she can send them to me.
So Dodd sort of put a damper on my spirits tonight. But I know all the patients loved our visit, so it was a good thing. I will have a hard time getting this lady out of my head while she is in Dodd. I think it is going to be a long night tonight...it is thundering and Chel is already agitated....