Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Part III: Fire in the ICU

Hi Lovelies. I promised you a thrilling part III, I hope I can deliver. Here is the third and final part of my special series, A Healthy Dose of the Hospital. If you missed part 1 or part 2 you can check them out here. Now to begin. 

Last I left off I had come out of surgery quite gracefully (insert sarcasm) and was beginning my recovery back in the ICU. Normally, this would be where my story gets boring and trails off to vacant thoughts about the whole experience, but not so. This is actually where the story gets really exciting (and almost unbelievable). 

I was just about to finish my first walk through the hall post-op. My nurse opened the ICU doors to find the nurses scurrying in panic to the room two doors down from mine. My nurse stopped one of the other nurses that was running past, "What's going on?" she asked. The other nurse answered back, "There is a fire." My nurse rushed me back to my room and told me to stay put while they put out the fire. I saw from my window into the ICU one nurse rushing to the other room with a fire extinguisher. Five minutes passed with my family and I held up in my room, watching as more nurses and now, admin staff ran into the other room. 

Turns out, they couldn't actually put the fire out and it had spread to the room next to mine. The area outside of my room was beginning to fill up with smoke. My nurse reappeared with a panicked look on her face, barged into my room, "You're the only patient in the ICU that can walk and it looks like we are going to have to evacuate everyone. So I want you to head on out now." She handed mom, dad, and I all masks to wear as we left the ICU. 

Ok then, I said to myself, with a little shrug, far too drugged up on pain killers to really fully grasp the situation. Off we went, Dad on one side, Mom on the other, masks on. As we left through the ICU doors firemen in full gear came running in. I shuffled to get out of their way. We made it out safe so I plopped down on a chair in the waiting area in the hall. My parents and I watched as more firemen rushed from the stairs into the ICU. Holy cow! Was this seriously happening right now? A fire, really? 

So naturally, with all the commotion I got sick...(a basic theme throughout my hospital stay). Thank god for mom! In the midst of all the chaos, she had thought to grab a pillow and a puke bucket! All a girl could ever ask for! I puked right there in the lobby in front of who knows how many people. 

A nurse came running up to my Dad who had been sitting next to me in the lobby, "Sir, can you help? We need as many hands as we can get." Dad jumped up and off he went into the smoky ICU to save the day and help evacuate patients. 

Dad came back 10 minutes later with quite the story. He had aided in the evacuation of a helpless patient on a ventilator. The patient had just undergone some pretty serious surgery judging from his wounds. Dad said the nurses were pulling cords out of the walls left and right trying to get him unattached from all of the machines. I was just glad to have my Dad back safe and sound. 

Another truckload of firemen arrived and came flooding up the stairs, past me, and into the ICU. Surely, they could get this fire under control. At the same time, a nurse had arrived at my makeshift space in the lobby to wheel me away to some place safer (and preferably with a bed).  Off I went, away from the fire. I settled in to a nice room downstairs in the overflow area of the hospital where I would stay until discharge in the morning...

Quite the day, I thought to myself. Did that seriously happen?

You'll be happy to know that no one was hurt in the fire or evacuation process thanks to my Dad, the tireless nurses, and the firemen. The ICU was closed for two days after the fire for a deep cleaning and rebuilding. One nurse mentioned it was the first fire in the hospital's history. 

Thanks for a thrilling visit, Emanuel! A life changer for sure! 

But in all seriousness, Thank you to the amazing nurses and doctors of the Nuero ICU! 
You are beyond kind and caring!
I will see you all again in January for operation numero dos.


  1. what!??! that is so crazy! i almost don't believe it!!!

    and WHAT?!?!? surgery number 2?!?!? why do you have to have another surgery!??!?!


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