A friend has spent days in the hospital alongside her husband. It’s been a bumpy ride for them. A roller coaster of emotions has flooded her mind. I went to the hospital simply to give HER a hug.
Why? Because I KNOW from experience the loneliness, fear and thoughts that can consume our minds during critical times.
When I stood before my family and friends and made the vow: “I, Dana, take you Don, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,” did I EVER consider days, weeks or months we would spend in a hospital.
Let me share a few of my many:
Don was hunched over replacing a battery in my Dad’s truck. As he tightened down the battery cable, his wrench came in contact with metal at the exact moment someone turned the ignition key. Instantaneously, the battery exploded in Don’s face. Thrown through the air, he landed six feet away with his face covered in battery acid.
My uncle turned Don onto his back and sitting on his chest pinned Don’s arms with his knees and thrust a water hose in his face. After an ambulance ride to the hospital, the doctor stated that my uncle saved Don’s eyesight by quickly flushing out battery acid.
Years later, Don had knee surgery. Dr. Bell came out to meet me and invited me to follow him to recovery. Don was being wheeled out of the surgery room.
A nurse got him all set up and walked five feet away. Don looked up at me and said in a raspy voice pointing to his chest, “My chest hurts.” Then pointed to his left arm and said, “My arm hurts.” Informing the nurse, a team responded instantly. An ambulance transported him to the emergency room and after being stabilized was admitted to the hospital.
Hours later, I went home. The hospital called at midnight informing me Don was moved to ICU because of complications. Then told me not to come back for I couldn’t see him until morning. Sleep was impossible.
Arriving at the hospital at 8am, the lady at the desk didn’t know where Don Rausch was. My spring-loaded emotions were already wound tight so when she told me to calm down, my spring sprung! Sometimes, we girls can default to our emotions after allowing fear to control our minds.
I had gone from leaving my husband in a regular hospital room, to ICU, to afraid he was in the morgue. Like Tom Cruise hollering in a movie, “Show me the money!” I was a hysterical wife screaming, “SHOW ME MY HUSBAND!”
Please Don’t Die On Me!
Several years later, Don needed rotator cuff surgery. Gracefully I reminded Dr. Bell of the last fiasco so Don was kept in recovery longer.
Don was “escorted” to my car and on the way home we drove through Walgreen’s to get his prescriptions. Hitting the garage door button as I pulled in the driveway, we saw that Brent had parked his truck in the garage. I soon learned it was a God send.
Don made it to the front of my car before he mumbled my name and began swaying. With one arm I simultaneously reached for Brent’s tailgate incredibly dropping it down and grabbed Don with the other. As he passed out I somehow sat him down on the tailgate as he slumped into me.
Checking for his pulse I couldn’t feel anything in his neck nor could I feel a heartbeat. I began saying to him, “Please don’t die on me!”
Surprisingly my purse made it to the tailgate so I reached over to call Brent who thankfully was home. He dialed 911 and we waited only a few minutes for the paramedics. They whisked Don away as I emphatically declared, “Take him back to Eisenhower Hospital and contact Dr. Bell!”
Because he was unresponsive, the paramedics gave him two shots of Narcan which reversed the effects of the narcotic drugs used during surgery. Luckily, Dr. Bell was waiting at the door when he arrived for Don’s pain was immense.
What can I do?
I am grateful those circumstances are in our past. Yet, as I consider my friend sitting with her husband, I remember with clarity my own feelings. May I suggest when you have a friend in a similar situation to consider these ideas?
1. First and foremost: Pray fervently.
2. Go visit. Don’t impose but go and give a hug. Let her know you care.
3. Take a small bag of snacks. Water bottles, nuts, mints, crackers, fruit, gum, reading material, small notebook, pen. Maybe even some cash.
4. Stay in contact and don’t be offended if they can’t answer their phone. Texts and social media work well.
5. Offer to help with kids, animals or the home if you can.
6. Pray more.
We vowed “in sickness and in health”, but in our times of “sickness”, we wives feel the heaviness of our husbands being hurt or ill and need support. I will always remember those that were there to support me.
And because of that, I want to support others…..