Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 26, 2013

GLYNN: Hospital stay taught a valuable lesson

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "That woman in the red coat is back with the baby in the stroller," Harry reported, "And that little Irish Terrier is walking right along side of them, like he's part of the family." A short time later, another update from Harry for his isolated roommate: "The blind man's ready to cross that intersection, And, guess what, Ben, there's that friendly cop stopping the traffic again so the guy can make it all the way across the street, safely."

Nothing escaped Harry's attention even if Ben didn't realize or appreciate it. There were full details on every accident, even the fender-benders, where those fire trucks were heading, and when the next ambulance pulled into the emergency room ramp.

Harry was sensitive too. He didn't want to overwhelm Ben with a lot of unpleasant news from the street and he was acutely aware when his roommate just wanted  

One night past 3 a.m., Harry was experiencing sharp chest pains. When he couldn't reach the cord behind his pillow to summon the nurse, he asked Ben to push his own button to call for help. Ben turned a deaf ear; he wanted no part of it. He waited until he was certain that Harry had stopped breathing. Then he summoned the nurse like he was a good Samaritan.

Within minutes, two doctors, three nurses and a couple of aides appeared on the scene, quickly enclosing Ben's bed with those curtains that run overhead. They worked feverishly to save his life.

The room gradually grew quiet. The medical team left. Ben overheard someone in the hall say that Harry had suffered a massive heart attack. The next of kin was to be notified immediately.

One of the nurses had hardly returned to her desk when Ben called, demanding that the room be re-arranged with his bed moved over to the window. "We'll take care of that, sir, in the morning," the nurse replied, struggling to contain her emotions about Ben's selfish request — less than 30 minutes after his roommate's body had been moved to the downstairs morgue.

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