Poppie went in for back surgery on January 20, 2015. About a month later, he was readmitted to the hospital because he had a 4 inch square knot above the incision that was leaking spinal fluid. He was readmitted a third time on February 27 for spinal leakage. On February 28 he died because of numerous errors in a hospital that has very high ratings despite family members being on hand during visiting hours and one all-nighter pulled by Miss Priss.
Poppie was in good spirits the morning of his death. He was talking and joking with family and friends. He ate lunch and went from feeling good to death in less than four hours. Shortly after lunch, he vomited his entire lunch (Symptom 1). Then he got the chills (Symptom 2). The nurse checked on him, got more blankets and the heat in the room was increased. The chills slowly subsided but he seemed less aware and lethargic (Symptom 3).
Poppie’s demise began when the nurse failed to recognize his changes as something more serious. When I ran to the Nurse’s Station to report that he was in distress, the nurse failed to see that Poppie was turning blue and there were no oxygen “headsets” readily available in the room. I had to point this out and a “Code Blue” was called.
A Code Blue team quickly arrived but they did not know how to operate the resuscitation cart. They had to call for additional help from other parts of the hospital. Poppie never had a chance.
Based on our experience, we offer some recommendations.
(1) Never go to a hospital on the weekend, if it is avoidable. Hospitals are inadequately staffed by individuals whose primary employment is in another hospital. They are just picking up a shift and may not be trained on equipment.
(2) Family members are the first line of care, but this is ineffective if you can’t get help. I made two calls to the Nurse’s Station and went down there in person. Still no help came.
(3) If you do get help, and your loved one develops two or more new symptoms, demand that a doctor — any doctor — evaluate the patient for life threatening conditions. Remember, Poppie died in less than four hours after the onset of symptoms.
We will never know what caused his death. It could have been a heart attack, pulmonary embolism (blood clot) but the symptoms point to septic shock. Any of these can cause sudden death.
Poppie’s memorial was held on March 6, 2015, at 2:00 at Orange Park Presbyterian Church. His two best friends, Tom and Bill, gave wonderful eulogies and Rev. Susan Takis, who is so warm and loving, officiated the service.
Poppie’s survivors – me, my brother Bubba and my sister Miss Priss – have been having a very hard time dealing with his untimely passing. I think it would be easier if we could get an email from the other side that he’s having a grand time on a cruise ship in the Great Beyond but God calls on us to believe in everlasting life (John 3:16).
We have all complained of being in a “fog”. For me, the fog is most noticeable when I get in my car. My mind checks out. I tried to meet up with a friend at St. Johns Town Center, never saw my exit and found myself at the beach.
A few days later, I headed out with my Mapquest directions which required me to go over the Buckman Bridge. Mind you, I hate driving the Buckman because, over the years, at least three people and their cars have gone over and into the drink. I am so paranoid about that bridge I drive over it with the window rolled down. So what happens? One of the stays in my bra waited until I was on the Buckman to break with a pop loud enough to convince me someone had shot at me.
Mapquest never gives you the easiest, most direct route to get somewhere, either. It had me turning right on Mandarin Road and winding narrow roads through the woods and, to add insult to injury, a tree in front of the street sign where I needed to turn prevented me from seeing the sign. Even without bread crumbs, I managed to get out of those woods and went to the garden club to see if anyone was around who might have the phone number of the gal I was meeting. I had remembered my camera and the Mapquest directions but not phone numbers. Mary was the only one there and she had the phone number but my friend’s phone was turned off. I must have had an odd expression on my face because Mary asked if I was alright and I was soooooo not alright. I was operating in a fog, standing there with a broken bra, and absolutely no idea how to get where I needed to go. Angel that she is, Mary got in her car and led me to the subdivision. When she got me to the street I needed to be on, she got out of the car and we consulted my notes. Well, of course, we were in the 12000 block and I needed a house with a 2200 address. I finally found the place, believe it or not, and they couldn’t hear the doorbell so I had to go to the sides of the house and holler through the fence for my friend. Can you imagine how well that would have gone over if I was at the wrong house and the occupants were swimming nekkid in their pool?
After these misadventures, I decided to venture no farther than 5 miles from home. A few days later, I made a practice run to the library. If it went well, my next trip would be to the mall to see about some new bras that didn’t shoot at me.
Even the library is not safe. I was at the self-checkout minding my own business when some woman behind me said, “God bless you!” I politely thanked her and offered her the same blessing but she kept talking. I finished my check out and walked to the door. She followed. We stood outside a few minutes chatting and I tried to excuse myself by mentioning my bad knee. She decides I need a Reiki healing. Right there. In the parking lot. That was the moment I KNEW I should have stayed home. When your mind is slipping, all kinds of strange people tune into your erratic frequency. Forget the bras. I’ll do without.