December Column Winner

Home is where the heart is, it really is

Jamie Berry, The Norman Transcript

Home is where the heart is, so the famous phrase says. I’ve never agreed with this phrase more, especially following my husband’s long stay at the Norman Regional Healthplex.
It all started Oct. 4 when we made an ER visit to Norman Regional Hospital and my husband was diagnosed with pneumonia.
A month later, he still wasn’t improving, and his general physician ordered that he get an echocardiogram done the next day at the Healthplex.
After the hospital discovered irregularities, he was immediately wheeled down to the ER, then admitted into the hospital with congestive heart failure — at age 30.
All of this on top of problems with his left lung, which doctors now suspect wasn’t pneumonia.
And so we began our stay on election day, with his body fighting a battle of its own. For several days, due to his heart doctor’s concern and his pain level, he wasn’t very active.
Meanwhile, it seemed like we were in an episode of “House.” He was the youngest person and most unusual case on the cardiac floor. It seemed like the entire hospital staff was on the case. They did lots of scans and drew tons of blood samples to test for every disease ever created.
Near the end of the first week, they discovered that he had a fungal infection in his lung.
Early the next week, a surgeon did a procedure to drain fluid off his lung.
Afterward, he was in ICU for recovery.
We moved for a third and final time — back into the main wing — that weekend. After more blood work, the doctors discovered that a viral infection was the main culprit that damaged his heart and created the opportunity for the lung infection.
After one last procedure, an angiogram for diagnostic reasons, he was finally released two and a half weeks later.
Throughout this entire process, I couldn’t leave his side — not for very long. I was with him overnight for all but three nights, and only then because my dad took my place.
When I did go back to our place, I felt unsettled.
I kept pacing around because it felt empty. I wasn’t home. Home was back at the hospital with my husband.
So I stayed at the hospital, sleeping on a hard pullout bed at night and getting little sleep.
Looking good and getting a daily shower were the furthest things from my mind. I only cared about his well-being and felt crummy when he felt crummy.
I helped him where I could and took notes when his many doctors came by for random visits. I entertained visitors and kept everyone updated. I ate most of my meals in his room and watched “Shark Tank,” game shows, sitcoms and court shows.
We have been home for a few weeks now, thanks to the help of countless doctors, respiratory and physical therapists, nurses and others.
Support and prayers from family, friends, church families, coworkers and bosses helped, too.
However, it will be a long road to recovery.
I am so thankful this holiday season for all of these people, but most of all, I am so glad that my husband is back and our home is back on solid ground.

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Kaye Cook wrote:
My husband and I are members of Immanuel Baptist Church where Jamie and Brandon also are members. They are both involved in our choir.
They are such an inspiration of what it means to be a Christian and of a great love for each other. To say they are admired is an understatement. We feel blessed to know them and we keep them in our prayers.

Sun, March 1, 2015 @ 8:45 AM

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