Hospital here when needed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

When you're 33 years old, you don't pay much attention to how important healthcare is to you, because you usually don't need it.

Last Tuesday night, I learned the lesson in the hardest way.

In a nutshell, I ran a low-grade fever most of the day and when I finally went home, that fever spiked to 107.9.

When I collapsed, it became obvious that my loved ones needed help in helping me and that I needed medical assistance as quickly as possible.

The system worked.

They called the E911 service and living 10 miles out of town; GEMS ambulance was dispatched to my home.

When they arrived, they found me quite wet after I stepped into a cold shower fully clothed all in an attempt to reduce the fever that was causing me to be quite delirious.

I don't know how many of you who have had a fever go this high, but for those who have, you know that walking becomes difficult, breathing is labored and it seems your eyes are burning out of your head.

The paramedics took me to the emergency room at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital where the ER staff took over my care.

Although I remember very little of it all, my parents said the care I received was phenomenal. My sister said it was akin to something you see on one of the television medical dramas where eight different people are all working on the same person at once, yet they never get in each other's way.

I vaguely remember at one point simply having this nurse hold my hand.

The room had settled pretty much and I remember thinking," I can't go, I'm not ready."

I must have said it aloud because she squeezed my hand and told me that I wasn't going anywhere, they had me.

I cannot say enough about the medical professionals at Stabler's after that scary night.

I believe fully in my heart that had they not been there, I would not be sitting here writing this column today.

Their expertise and compassion lasted throughout my visit and I thank them for everything they did to keep me on this side of the grass.

As I was leaving the hospital after all the tubing and such was removed late Wednesday, one of the nurses told me good luck and to take care.

She added, "We're here if you need us."

To me, that reassured I'd be fine in the future if I did in fact need them again.

Thanks again to all the staff of the ER, the first hall nurses and to GEMS Ambulance.

You'll never know what you mean to me.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-383-9203, ext. 136, via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com or at P.O. Box 507, Greenville, AL 36037.