To The ICU Nurses of Newport Hospital

First, I want to start this with an apology. This is something I should have written a long time ago but every time I sat down to write it I would fill up with emotions making it difficult to get it all on paper. I am hoping my key board can withstand better.

365 days ago, December 18, 2016, my husband and I were visiting to celebrate our engagement anniversary. The whole thing revolved around the tower on the winter solstice however while at this spot so special to us he started to have one of his deja-vu feelings that he often had but this time it never stopped. After 45 minutes his body couldn’t fight it off any longer and at the age of 35 he had his first grand mal seizure and went into respiratory arrest as I was driving trying to head home. My first thanks (if this letter gets out there) is to the people who heard me screaming in my jeep and came to help him and revive him. Also to the kind lady that opened my door in a moment of pure panic to calm me, so I could follow my police escort to the hospital. In the ER my husband suffered his second grand mal, again turning blue, so it was determined he would need to be admitted to the ICU to be tubed if he should have a third. That is where this true story begins…

When I got to your department I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening and if my husband would be okay. I didn’t know what the next few minutes held never mind the next few hours. You greeted me with such kindness and compassion. You comforted me. When you found out we lived a couple of hours away you set me up with warm blankets to spend that first night next to him incase anything should happen again.   You didn’t just take care of him, he took care of me. You made sure I stayed hydrated and when you found out I had celiacs and couldn’t eat much of what the hospital had, you shared your leftovers from your lunch or dinner and searched for anything that I could eat until my father in law came to my rescue in the morning. You reassured me that my husband was okay and explained to me what the medications were doing and what some of the things I could expect were. When my husband finally regained some form of consciousness he didn’t know much. He knew me, he knew we had three kids but that was about it. When you saw the panic and pain you distracted me with stories of your own lives, a much-needed distraction from my own reality. When I was tired and couldn’t keep going you helped my father in law convince me to go to my parents about an hour away to get some sleep. You reassured me over the phone before I fell asleep and answered right away at the crack of dawn telling me about his night and telling me I could come back at any time.

We were with you for three days. It took three days for my husband to rejoin me back in the real world (sort of. His memory is still greatly impacted from that time). He often jokes how he doesn’t remember any of it, however I do. There is a lot of pain and fear still associated with this event. We went on to see an amazing neurologist at home who found scarring deep in his temporal lobe most likely from development. This was not something that was going to go away and confirmed this was something he had been dealing with most of his life, just constantly misdiagnosed. His body just couldn’t fight it off any longer.

Just about everything from that day is now gone. I threw out the clothes we had been wearing, my engagement ring is completely broken from an incident with our freezer and is sitting at the jewelry store but due to money not getting fixed any time soon and just last month a tree fell on my jeep totaling it. However, one thing remains that completely trumps the continued daily fear and it’s the kindness that you showed to me those three days he was with you. It is that kindness I want to lead every day of my life with and what I chose to remember on the anniversary of all this. Your nursing staff was my silver lining in a sky of very dark clouds (other than the fact my husband is still by my side today) and I am eternally grateful.

I hope to one day be able to visit your town again, but it is still too soon to even think about it. In all honesty, I may never be able to return but please know the one thing I will always hold very near and dear to my heart in regards to Newport, Rhode Island is you.

Thank you again and Happy Holidays

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