Yesterday morning I went down to visit the Harborview Hospital Neuro ICU. I spent nine or ten days following my bicycle accident last July. The trip was definitely worthwhile.
I walked up to the nurses station and told them that I’d been a patient with them about nine months ago. A small group of people gathered around while I stammered out my thanks to them for saving my life, and for treating my family, friends and I so nicely.
Some of them remembered me as the guy who they had trouble fitting into a bed (because of my height). This inspired lots of laughter when I relayed the story to Kris and my parents. They remembered this being an issue at the time.
When I talked a bit about the circumstances of the accident with the Harborview folks, more memories were sparked. I know they have hundreds of patients go through their doors every year. From their perspective, I could have been yet another Traumatic Brain Injury patient.
I’ll remember the looks on their faces for a long time. Quite a few of their patients don’t make it. Others are never able to return to "normal" life. Some will require constant care for the rest of their lives. Many of their patients are from different states too – that’s because people are transferred into the premier trauma center in the Pacific Northwest. In any case, they don’t get to see many of their (former) patients up and walking around, let alone working, running, swimming, driving, and blissfully returned to ‘normal’ life.
People who work in the ICU see patients and their families when they’re not at their best. The folks in the Harborview Neuro ICU treated my family with compassion and respect, and offered me great medical care. I’d been wanting to make a visit like this for a long time. Seems like the least I could do.