Notes from a Hospital Room

I came to this hospital to be with Gary on Friday.

I came to relieve his Aunt Ginny and Uncle Mike, who got in their car almost the second they heard about the accident and began driving here to Tennessee from their farm in Michigan.

Gary and his friend Scott were out on a morning run in Helena Arkansas when they were hit by a 15-person van. They were immediately airlifted across the state line to the highly respected Elvis Presley Trauma Center here at the big Regional Medical Center in Memphis.

Friday and yesterday Ginny and Mike taught me everything I would need to know to help care for someone who, as Mike put it, looks as though he was picked up by someone with supernatural powers and jammed headfirst into the pavement. They began the long drive back to their farm yesterday morning.

The medical people all say he is lucky to have survived at all and no one who saw him over those first days could doubt that.

He wards off pity though; that’s his way. Every nurse or doctor or physician’s assistant who has come into the room since this happened 11 days ago has received the same answer when they ask how he is. “Doing well!” he always says.

We feel for him anyway, however much he forbids it. And we feel too for the driver who struck Gary and his friend Scott, though Scott, thankfully, was able to walk out of the place that same day.

Gary doesn’t seem to know who that person is but we imagine he will have hard dreams for some time to come.

This basket came early last week from the company that driver works for. He doesn’t have the heart to open it somehow so it remains sealed this way, like Sleepy Beauty in her casket of glass.