13 March 2007: Convergence

Category: General
Posted by: erin
Bonnie (Dad's girlfriend) and Rodney (Dad's coworker and good friend) flew into Memphis on Monday night, and got there around 11pm to spend a sleepless night in the comfortable-in-a-disturbing-scary-way critical care waiting room.

Our cousin Jenny, crazy woman, drove overnight from Cleveland and gets into Memphis in the early morning. I forget when - 6am? 8am? Something. Somehow, she manages to get to see him; she may have been able to see him even before Bonnie and Rodney manage to. I don't remember now.

Ruthie manages to fly in from Detroit, she arrives around 8:30 or so in the morning. Chris and I manage to finally catch our flight (after a small hiccup with travel math getting to Newark) and arrive in Memphis around 11:30.

While Chris and I are getting ready to get on the plane, we find out from Rodney that Dad is now in critical but stable condition at the hospital in Memphis, and that he would "probably" lose the leg from slightly above the knee. We found out later (I don't remember when) that, in fact, the lower half of his leg didn't make the trip with him from Grenada.

Some time that afternoon we are allowed to visit Dad. They didn't yet have a room for him, so he was in a strange area recovering from his emergency surgery. It was very scary walking in there. Who wants to see their Dad on a ventillator? They hadn't yet cleaned him up very well - there was blood on his nose, his fingers were dirty - either from machine oil or blood, we couldn't tell. Knowing dad, it could have been either. There were tubes all over him, of course.

His breathing was regular (probably the ventillator, but reassuring nonetheless), and the nurse indicated that he could probably hear us yapping. We proceeded to try to be funny in between bouts of crying. There were a few times his breathing changed while we were talking - it seemed to be around times when we were either being pretty funny, or really upset. We kept telling him to relax and breathe easy, and then he would go back to normal. When he did finally wake up, he didn't remember any of it, of course - so we won't ever know if he heard all of our silly/sadness or not.

We spent a lot more time in the critical care waiting room, and made friends with Cheryl - the hostess behind the desk in the waiting room. I swear we bothered her about every two seconds - how is he? does he have a room yet? can we see him again? She was nothing but patient with us, which we thought was pretty amazing.

I think we were sort of apalling, actually. We were already trying to think of all of the jokes Dad could now tell, and how he'd get all the good parking places. Chris had some whoppers - we were laughing pretty hard. But honestly, I don't think my eyes could have handled any more crying.

Chet, from the plant in Grenada, was a good sport and put up with us and all of our craziness for a good part of the day. We teased him pretty relentlessly, which I don't think he was expecting, considering the circumstances.

We continued to hang around in the critical care waiting room until it became clear that a) we weren't going to be able to see him again until he was in an actual room, and b) they didn't know when a room would become available. We took the opportunity to get over to the hotel, check in, take showers, get dinner, etc. After many calls to the trauma surgery nurses, we found out late that night that he was going to be getting a room in the morning. good.

The Roster:
* Bonnie, Rodney (Monday night)
* Jenny, Ruth, Erin, Chris

* Chet was there to support the family for much of the afternoon.
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