Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Sunday, April 28, 2013

9th Floor Memories 4/3/13

Tonight, I went back to UAB's 9th floor. I had another reason for going to the hospital, but I was only 1 floor away, so I thought, Why not go see who is still here from the night shift of April 27, 2011. I had no idea how my heart or mind would take it. You see I have good memories of those 5 1/2 weeks spent there. What? Good memories? How can you say that? Let me explain. I remember it fondly first and foremost for what I saw and experienced. I saw people, who answered their life's calling, and in so doing, were there when so many needed them. No complaining, no negative comments, no shirking of responsibility. Instead, working endlessly, sometimes feverishly, always lovingly. Calling on their bodies and their minds to go beyond the normal requirements and demands of their talents. Daily, thinking outside the box, outside the hard covers of the textbooks and beyond normal, almost to supernatural. I remember it fondly, because of special people who made it their purpose in life for those 12 hours of their day, to save my sons life.

As I walked throught the waiting room, I remember the night, maybe in the last week, (the days have run together for this old dad's brain) that the charge nurse came out and sat with Janell and I. He shared that in all his years in nursing, and on that floor, he had never seen one person/family affect a staff so much. He had seen doctors in a conference room, brainstorming and shedding tears to try to come up with solutions to Garrett's problem of the day. He had seen nursing staff, in the break room at supper, praying for my son. He had more staff asking to be asssigned to Garretts care than he had shifts for. And he had felt love from us more so than from any patient he had ever cared for.
I remember, fondly, the last two weeks of Garrett's life that I and others got to communicate with him. The afternoon when he was told that one of his best friends was gonna put Roll Tide shorts on him, and he'd have to wear them till he got well enough to take them off himself. He pretended to reach into an imaginary pocket and pulled out a one-finger-salute, since he couldn't talk. He knew I didn't approve, but it was humerous. And then the final hours before the induced coma, when he assured me with a nod of his head, that if things "went south" he would be in Heaven with Brandon, because he was certain of his salvation.
I remember the days when friends and families, who knew nothing else to do, would just come and sit and talk. Sometimes I was not a good host, for when "the words" started coming to me, I had to be on my computer, sharing my thoughts. But they came and sat just the same. Folks shared goodies, drinks, and other comforts when they had the time. And then there were three persons that I could and would call when "Garrett" needed prayer, no matter the hour of the day or night. But I think they knew it was also the broken shell of a dad on the other end of that connection that needed prayers.
So Yes, I have fond memories of that place. Do I have memories Iwould just as soon forget? To be honest, No. For all of them, happy or sad, good or bad, are just that....memories. And with God's help, I hope to never forget them. Including the one I have from tonight. As I was leaving the unit, two nurses were talking, coming towards me. As we approached each other, one asked "Do you need something, sir?" I said No, I just came to visit the staff. She looked at me and said "I know you from somewhere". I recognized her as a nurse I think cared for Garrett maybe one shift out of about 40 days. My son spent some time up here. Then she started tearing up and said "you're Garrett's dad." I nodded, she started to cry a little bit more, and tried to apologize for it. I said "Please don't apologize, you've just paid my son one of the biggest compliments of his life. Thank you" And we hugged.
Yes, I have fond memories of the 9th floor TBICU of UAB.


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