Thursday, October 26, 2006

Our Weekend With Lance - Part 8

Part 8
Sunday - October 15, 2006 - around 5:30 pm

Okay ... so where were we ... Oh yeah ... Riding down the highway heading to Austin Surgical Hospital. Connie keeping pace with the ambulance glances over at me and asks:

Connie: Aren't you freaked out?
Pammy: No. I'm not. I can't believe I'm not ... but what else can I do? Everything is out of my control. I just have to pray everything is going to work out okay. If we were in Pennsylvania, I'd have him at York Hospital, and I'd know the anesthesiologist I want, Dr. Butera would be doing the surgery and he'd be taken care of. Here ... I have no idea where is the best place to go.

Work out okay it did! Little did we know that not only were we blessed with being referred to the best "hip" orthopedic doctor in Austin, but the Austin Surgical Hospital is a very specialized hospital. They do not generally take emergency cases. And they are only a 20-bed hospital. 20 Beds !!! All of their surgeries are scheduled, so us showing up late Sunday evening could have thrown everyone into a tizzy, but the staff was wonderful and very efficient getting Jimmy settled. We didn't wait one second.

After pulling into the parking lot, Connie and I followed Jimmy and the EMTs through a maze of corridors ending at Room 111. This was a huge room, as big as our room at the Hyatt, and just as nice (for a hospital). After the staff and EMTs got Jimmy transferred to his bed and settled down, I thanked the EMTs for their help and kindness and headed into Jimmy's room. This room turned out to be our "home" for the next 6 days.

Jimmy was still enjoying his pain meds while I was attempting to have a conversation with him trying to figure out whether I should stay at the Hyatt for the week, or check out and move to a hotel closer to the hospital. Should rent a car or depend on taxis, etc. Jimmy kept saying "what every you want to do" ... Thanks Jimmy -- Big Help! The nurse hooking up Jimmy's tubes, and such, looked over and said,

Mary Ellen: You can stay here.
Pammy: In the room?
Mary Ellen: Yes. That chair (point to a floral print chair) folds out and you can sleep on it.
Pammy: Oh that would be great. Is there a charge to stay in the room.
Mary Ellen: Oh no. There's no charge. Family members stay here all the time.
Pammy: Wow -- that's a relief, huh Jimmy?
Jimmy: [sound asleep, ... those drugs were really kicking in ... He just looked so sweet there ... snoring away ... ]

SIDE NOTE: One of Jimmy's and my favorite movies is Forest Gump. So many great lines we quote all the time. One of Jimmy's favorites to quote is :
Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. So then I got a call from him, saying we don't have to worry about money no more. And I said, that's good! One less thing.

Pammy: Jimmy ... Sweetie ...
Jimmy: hmmmmmm? [still in la la land]
Pammy: I can stay here so I'm going to check out of the Hyatt tomorrow morning as planned. We won't have to worry about me getting a hotel close by.
Jimmy: Oh good, one less thing. [then gives me a goofy smile and goes back to la la land]

LOL ... That Jimmy ... he cracks me up.

So I give him a kiss on the forehead and Connie and I head out to her car. We got lost heading back to the hotel, but Connie finally figured her way and found the Hyatt. I have to say Texas has the most screwed up highway roads. We were on Loop 1 leaving the hospital ... Now if a road is called Loop 1, you would think it was a loop ... kinda like 695 around Baltimore ... but noooo ... It's a straight road that heads south .. away from downtown ... out into the vastness that is Texas.

Connie pulls into the Hyatt, jumps out, gets Jimmy's stuff from the trunk and gives me a big hug. I know she hates to leave ... but she does have a life and family and work ... so she heads home and I head into the hotel. Damn ... forgot to get some of her emergency Valium

I forgot to mention in the previous emails ... that when I called Autumn from the Smithville Hospital, she (as you can imagine) freaked out. Autumn and Jimmy are very close and I could tell she was just on the edge of losing it. Autumn is a very controlled person when she has goals, so I asked her to contact my boss, Gene, let him know that I'd be off work this week and we'd let him know more when I knew more. I also asked her to get in touch with George, Jimmy's boss, since I could only get his voice mail and tell him what happened. I also asked her to contact the Hyatt to see if our room was available for the week and could I stay if I needed to.

When I walked up to the front desk at the Hyatt, I introduced myself, explained the situation, and the person I was speaking with was the actual person that Autumn spoke to, so she understood everything. So nice not having to explain everything again. I told her that I was going to stay at ASH and I would be checking out tomorrow morning as our reservations were originally arranged. She said it was no problem. They had room to extend my stay if I wished or they would assist me in checking out and getting to the hospital tomorrow. So nice to deal with friendly, helpful people. I ask her if she knew where the bikes were being disassembled from the LAF and they directed me to a banquet room behind the bar area. I head back and the room is empty. Oh geeze .. now what. Just then a very nice young lady comes around the corner and I ask her if she is working with the bikes from the Ride for the Roses. She says yes and asked:

LAF Volunteer: Are you Mrs. Fortney?
Pammy: Yeah ... How'd you know.
LAF Volunteer: We have one bike left, your husband's, and I thought it might be you. How's he doing?
Pammy: Well ... he broke his hip and he has to have emergency hip replacement surgery tomorrow.
LAF Volunteer: Oh no. I hope he'll recover okay.
Pammy: Yeah -- I'm sure he'll be fine. Do you know where his bike is?
LAF Volunteer: Yeah -- It's right over there [pointing to Jimmy's bike case]. We packed it up and it's ready for you.
Pammy: That's great. Can I have it shipped home?
LAF Volunteer: Oh sure .. fill this form out and we'll take care of everything else.
Pammy: Fantastic.

That was so easy ... and I have to say that everyone at LAF staff and volunteers were FANTASTIC all weekend. Everyone Jimmy and I came into contact with were the best. I don't know what type of customer service training they receive, but it is top notch!

After I fill out the shipping form and they take the bike off to ship home I head up to the room, pack up everything and crash. I can't sleep, just tossing and turning ... so I end up watching Chronicles of Narnia ... 3 times. I finally drift off around 4 am ...

The alarm goes off at the next morning at 6 am (early for me) and I drag myself out of bed, get dressed and call for a bellman. He shows up in 3 minutes ... takes my luggage downstairs and already has a taxi waiting for me. I check out and head out to the taxi. I tell the taxi where we're going and he doesn't know, nor has heard of Austin Surgical Hospital. I get out and we head back inside (no the meter isn't running yet -- thank goodness) and ask the Front Desk for directions to ASH. They haven't heard of it either, so they go on the computer and Google ASH and print mapquest directions. Thank God for Google!!!

As we get back in the tax, it begins to rain harder ... torrential downpour ... Great ...

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down