Friday night into early Saturday was full of chaos. Aunt Becky had come up from the coast when she got the call. She brought Papaw to the hospital. Me, Monica, Nick and Momma spent several hours just going back and forth from Room 7 to a nearby prayer room that was private. On the night shift, we got to know Jeremy, the night nurse. He kept us updated on what they were doing. I managed to catch an hour nap around 4am on the floor of Room 7 and it was the best nap. I remember just wanting to close my eyes a bit because they were so scratchy, but the whirring of the ventilator lulled me to sleep. I can’t think of the other guy’s name, but he was Abby’s (the day nurse and a sweetheart) husband, so I’ll call him Mr. Abby. Anyway, he would come in with Jeremy and answer our questions. We struck up a conversation about football and the LSU-Bama game later that day. He offered me and Monica the use of the staff vending machines until the cafeteria opened.
We were up at 6 and went to eat in the cafeteria. I remember picking out eggs grits and bacon. I was starving but had zero appetite if that made sense. Adrenaline rush had worn off and all that was left was a nauseous stomach. I knew I had to have real food if I was going to be able to stay on my feet and the last thing this family needed was a sugar problem from me.
The morning wore on and more tests, more monitoring, drugs, IV’s, and just constant thoughts and prayers for him to stay stable. By lunch Saturday, he was in very critical condition and not breathing on his own. His blood pressure was being controlled by a drug because it was so low. He was still getting dilantin. And, he was getting a ton of steroid drugs. We saw Dr. Jones, the neurologist. He told us the CAT of his brain showed seizure activity when first brought in, but the one done Sat. morning showed no new seizure activity. Hopefully, the dilantin was working that out.
That day, we were introduced to Abby and Scott. Both were there Friday afternoon, but me and Monica had not met them yet. What struck me about Scott was that he talked to Daddy as if he were awake and hearing. He called him by name, told him what he was doing, asking how he was doing, etc. That meant a lot. Abby was very kind to us. We were in this tiny room, invading their space, and they were not used to long term ER people. At this point, it had not been 24 hours yet, but we had definitely camped out enough in Room 7 for them to have the right to be annoyed by us. But if they were, they never told us. They both told us that they were waiting for a bed to open up in ICU but we were better off in ER because we could stay with him round the clock.
By 2 pm, I had a decision to make. I had enough juice in me to drive to grandma’s and catch a nap or try to find an extra room for some sleep. Mom said to go to grandmas. I got there and stripped down in the laundry room then right to the tub so I could shower off the flu. I kinda sorta watched the LSU/bama game, but maybe 5 minutes. I woke up in time to see the last 2 mintutes (ROLLL TIDE!!!!!) then I drove back to see how he was doing.
Daddy was sick. That’s all there was to it. Sick and getting sicker. His blood was now growing bacteria from the pneumonia. He was fighting sepsis now. He had been on the dilantin for almost 35 hours and it was time to start dialing it down. It was a long term sedative that doubled as an anti seizure med.