There are many ways to say “Goodbye”. It can have many different undertones. It can be sad or even happy in some cases, and other things in between.
My brother has hit a milestone in recovery from his work accident. After 46 days in the hospital, he has been transferred to rehabilitation in Boston. There, he will get his first prosthetic and soon start walking again. We have been preparing for this day since he was out of the ICU.
J.J. doesn’t remember much of the ICU. How could he? When they first brought him in, he was hooked up to multiple machines and had 19 different bags of fluids hanging from what the nurses called his “Christmas tree”. As they days went on, and specifically after the amputation, periodically the nurses would come in and trim the tree. And soon enough he was down to barely a shrub. During his stint in the ICU, those nurses were his lifeline. They were our lifeline. They barely left his room. We relied on them for everything. And they never did disappoint.
The day that J.J. was moved from the ICU to a regular room was one of those confusing types of goodbyes I’m talking about. We said goodbye to our lifelines, and cried a little. It was tough. The uncertainty of it. What this new floor, with the new nurses was going to bring.
These men and women were every bit as amazing as the last bunch. The nurses seemed to love J.J. like a member of their family. Some brought him in homemade food. They hung out with him in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep. They checked in on him even when he wasn’t assigned as their patient. J.J. loved them too. He had a system, how he liked things. Certain pillows in certain places on the bed. All the nurses knew this secret, sometimes unspoken system, and obliged. If they were ever bothered or annoyed by his requests, they certainly didn’t let on.
On Friday November 18th, J.J. was told that he was ready for Spaulding. He would leave Monday morning. I asked him a few times if he was excited. He response was always the same. “Yes and no.” I know the decision to leave CMMC was a hard one for him. But his case worker assured him that Spaulding was the place to be. That Sunday, we said goodbye to a couple of our favorite nurses. Shelby, Kristen and Abby. I started to cry, and so did they. J.J. said “way to go, Darc.”
Monday came, more goodbyes were said. I’m sure there were fewer tears considering I wasn’t there. They loaded him into the ambulance and headed to Boston. He’ll be at Spaulding for about 4-6 weeks. The facility is amazing. It’s a state of the art, futuristic looking place right on the harbor. While the first day was tough, just getting accustomed to their way of doing things, J.J. knows this is where he needs to be. And in time, saying goodbye to the people here will be just like before.
To all his nurses at CMMC, we miss you terribly!