Spouses' Anecdotes on Brain Injury


After two weeks on the ventilator, when Steve could barely whisper, I told him that he had had a heart attack while driving. The staff had been concerned that his vocal cords would be permanently paralyzed, as he thrashed the whole while on the respirator. But, he looked at me with great concern and said "Was there anybody else involved in the accident?"

Unrelated: Am I the only caregiver who is immediately transported back to the hissing of the respirator in ICU when they read the word "vent"...no matter how it is intended?

Madeline Fitzgerald Pearson

I recall one incident where my husband was receiving plasma...(suffering a bleeding ulcer from the stress his body was under). The plasma container said O+, my husband was O-. We were unsure whether blood type mattered in plasma.

I had come off the elevator from taking a shower in the maternity ward, my hair wet, etc...I walk into "MY" waiting room, my husband's family all begins talking at once (and they're a big family) telling me about the plasma. Well of course I panicked, went tearing through the NICU (Neuro Intensive Care Unit) doors to my husband's bed and demanded to know what was going on.

The little nurse started stammering (I must tell you I am 5'8", she about 5'0", and I'm sure I looked like a maniac). I demanded to know if it was OK for him to be receiving O+ plasma...she COULDN'T answer me...well that really set me off. I placed my hand on my husband's IV and told them it was coming out if I didn't get an immediate answer. Well, that caused a little stir!

They got on the phone with a doctor (in the mean time my brother-in-law and a sister-in-law are on other phones to the blood center)...Finally, my brother-in-law came running in to say it was OK, plasma didn't matter. So I instantly calmed down, smiled and said "OK" and walked out.

I went to sit down in the waiting room. Everyone quieted down. Then a thought occurred to me which slipped out of my mouth..."Well, then why the hell do they label the bags?" The room just fell out in laughter.

And for those of you wondering: My sister-in-law asked the blood center; they have to know the source of the plasma.


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Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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