Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Afternoon in the Trauma Waiting Room

Spending the afternoon in the area where families wait to hear news of their loved ones following some unthinkable trauma is not how I envisioned spending my Monday afternoon.  However, nobody is ever prepared for a horrible accident to happen, and unfortunately one did happen Sunday morning to a relative of my daughter's husband.

It's a sad story, and I guess I am sharing it in this blog, because if you are a person that believes in prayer, I would appreciate prayers for this suffering young man.  Not only that, he is simply heavy on my mind.

Mark (name changed for privacy reasons) was down on his luck.  He had attended a local college for several semesters when unexpectedly his financial aid didn't arrive.  He had been staying (the family thought) with friends.  Without the funds to live that should have been a part of his financial aid, Mark was unable to come up with money he needed for various things.  His glasses broke; he couldn't afford to fix them.  His car needed repairs he couldn't afford, so he was borrowing his grandmother's vehicle.  

Intending to get his finances under control, Mark left college and began full time work at Sears to earn money and provide for his needs.  Here is the accident in a nutshell:  he was at work in the garage at Sears, and one of the other mechanics somehow revved a truck and ran over him and pinned him.

Internal injuries (4th degree lacerations of his spleen) and a horribly smashed up knee and leg resulted.  Later after the accident when Mark's own car was retrieved, it appeared that he had been living in his vehicle.  As sad as the accident itself was, he must be frightened now, wondering where he will go when discharged and also that he will be needing 24 hour nursing care.

In the day and a half since the accident happened, he has already had two major surgeries:  one to try to stop the bleeding from and save his spleen, and the other to start repairing his leg.  Each time the doctors have said  "it's worse than we had thought."

And so that's how I came to be sitting with my daughter in the trauma waiting area this afternoon.  I had plenty of time to look around, contemplate the accident, and study my surroundings.  And pray.

First I took notice of the wall poster across from my seat, "Welcome to the Adult Intensive Care Unit."  This is your standard stern listing of how to behave when visiting a patient in a trauma cubicle.

Another wall hanging was the "Visitation Guidelines" poster.  Basically it reiterated the rules listed on the "Welcome" poster.  Both are reminders that serious stuff is going on in this place.

Across from me was a shelving unit filled with various informational pamphlets:

     Alcohol Effects on Health
     About Traumatic Brain Injury
     Preventing Adverse Events During Surgery
     Have Faith
     Final Stages
     Alcohol and Drug Use
     Letting Go With Dignity and Grace

I didn't see even one person go near the brochures, and I found myself wondering if they are really of any help at all.  I guess every family's situation and needs are different, depending on the type of accident.  What we needed were pamphlets by the names of "Spleen Damage and How To Fix It"  and "How Surgeons Rebuild a Shattered Leg."

My views out the windows in any direction were of other parts of the hospital.  This is a very large medical facility with many different buildings and parking areas.

Other than studying my surroundings, various things caught my attention as we passed the hours.

1.  I heard the landing of the Life Flight helicopter on the roof above me several times.  

2.  With fascination I watched a robotic medical cart meander down the hall outside of the trauma waiting room.  I saw the name "MADDIE" on the rear of the cart.  The second time she went by I followed her, and was amazed when she turned the corner, stopped in front of the elevator, and said "Calling elevator, calling elevator."  Amazing.  Freaky too.

3.  I read the complete recent issues of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Prevention magazine. I was about to start on People magazine, but I wasn't feeling much in the mood for gossip.

4.  While reading I kept one eye on the muted television shows "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and "Chew."  I wish I could have heard the directions for the recipe they were making.  It looked like some sort of Italian powdered donut dessert.  However, I'm sure the other families holding vigils wouldn't have wanted the distraction of pastry baking.

5.  I listened to cell phones ringing all day with good and sometimes (obviously) bad messages from the trauma teams to the families of victims.

6.  I observed how people hold their vigils:

     Some play games on I-pads.
     Many check Facebook on laptops.
     Some folks pace.
     Many visit the soda and snack machines repeatedly.
     Some pray.
     Some cry.
     A few sleep.

I share all of this because I am burdened for this young man right now.  I share because he is suffering and needs help and healing.  And prayers.  THANK YOU.


  1. Thanks mom...he needs the prayers more then the blog here even explains :) rachel

  2. Jill, I will Share with the family and we will be praying!!!!

  3. With his accident happening at work his employer is partly responsible for the actions of the other employee. They should be paying his medical expenses as well as his lost wages.

    With everyone around him being positive it will help him to get through the tough recovery period ahead.

    We'll be keeping him and all of you in our prayers.

    It's about time.

  4. Oh so sorry to about the accident. Of course he will be remembered in my prayers.

  5. wow how tragic...how very tragic i agree with Rick and Kathy work/employer should be helping him for sure...with his lost wages, medical expenses and rehabilitation...but that sure doesn't help right now does it...hes definitely in my prayer basket Jill...please keep us updated...god bless

  6. Most certainly Mark will be in our prayers tonight, tomorrow and until we know he is healed. We will pray that he is going to be okay. He sounds like a strong young man, that did the best he could in a difficult and tenuous situation and was in the wrong place when his coworker decided to be stupid. I am sure Sears is a great company and will do everything it can to help.

    Our best to you, your family, Mark and his family. Take care.

  7. Thank you to all for your kind offers to pray. We are so grateful. Signs show the spleen is still bleeding and another surgery is planned on the leg tomorrow. The spleen may take priority though.

  8. Thank you for starting this prayer brigade for the man. Mark is in our prayers. God heals.

  9. What can WE do? Times like this one feels so helpless. If there's anything your freinds can do for this young man, please let us know Jill. In the meantime, we'll keep praying.

  10. Thank you everyone, he's back in surgery right now for his leg. If they don't find anymore necrotic tissue, the hope is to save his leg. He has received blood for a dangerously low hemoglobin level which they are keeping a very close watch on today due to his spleen. Rachel