Post last updated: October 3rd, 2018

Poppie in red shirt-2504

Poppie went in for back surgery on January 20, 2015. About a month later, he was readmitted to the hospital because he had a 4 inch square knot above the incision that was leaking spinal fluid. He was readmitted a third time on February 27 for spinal leakage. On February 28 he died because of numerous errors in a hospital that has very high ratings despite family members being on hand during visiting hours and one all-nighter pulled by Miss Priss.

Poppie was in good spirits the morning of his death. He was talking and joking with family and friends. He ate lunch and went from feeling good to death in less than four hours. Shortly after lunch, he vomited his entire lunch (Symptom 1). Then he got the chills (Symptom 2). The nurse checked on him, got more blankets and the heat in the room was increased. The chills slowly subsided but he seemed less aware and lethargic (Symptom 3).

Poppie’s demise began when the nurse failed to recognize his changes as something more serious. When I ran to the Nurse’s Station to report that he was in distress, the nurse failed to see that Poppie was turning blue and there were no oxygen “headsets” readily available in the room. I had to point this out and a “Code Blue” was called.

A Code Blue team quickly arrived but they did not know how to operate the resuscitation cart. They had to call for additional help from other parts of the hospital. Poppie never had a chance.

Based on our experience, we offer some recommendations.

(1)    Never go to a hospital on the weekend, if it is avoidable. Hospitals are inadequately staffed by individuals whose primary employment is in another hospital. They are just picking up a shift and may not be trained on equipment.

(2)    Family members are the first line of care, but this is ineffective if you can’t get help. I made two calls to the Nurse’s Station and went down there in person. Still no help came.

(3)    If you do get help, and your loved one develops two or more new symptoms, demand that a doctor — any doctor — evaluate the patient for life threatening conditions. Remember, Poppie died in less than four hours after the onset of symptoms.

We will never know what caused his death. It could have been a heart attack, pulmonary embolism (blood clot) but the symptoms point to septic shock. Any of these can cause sudden death.

Poppie’s memorial was held on March 6, 2015, at 2:00 at Orange Park Presbyterian Church. His two best friends, Tom and Bill, gave wonderful eulogies and Rev. Susan Takis, who is so warm and loving, officiated the service.

Poppie’s survivors – me, my brother Bubba and my sister Miss Priss – have been having a very hard time dealing with his untimely passing. I think it would be easier if we could get an email from the other side that he’s having a grand time on a cruise ship in the Great Beyond but God calls on us to believe in everlasting life (John 3:16).

We have all complained of being in a “fog”. For me, the fog is most noticeable when I get in my car. My mind checks out. I tried to meet up with a friend at St. Johns Town Center, never saw my exit and found myself at the beach.

A few days later, I headed out with my Mapquest directions which required me to go over the Buckman Bridge. Mind you, I hate driving the Buckman because, over the years, at least three people and their cars have gone over and into the drink. I am so paranoid about that bridge I drive over it with the window rolled down. So what happens? One of the stays in my bra waited until I was on the Buckman to break with a pop loud enough to convince me someone had shot at me.

Mapquest never gives you the easiest, most direct route to get somewhere, either. It had me turning right on Mandarin Road and winding narrow roads through the woods and, to add insult to injury, a tree in front of the street sign where I needed to turn prevented me from seeing the sign. Even without bread crumbs, I managed to get out of those woods and went to the garden club to see if anyone was around who might have the phone number of the gal I was meeting. I had remembered my camera and the Mapquest directions but not phone numbers. Mary was the only one there and she had the phone number but my friend’s phone was turned off. I must have had an odd expression on my face because Mary asked if I was alright and I was soooooo not alright. I was operating in a fog, standing there with a broken bra, and absolutely no idea how to get where I needed to go. Angel that she is, Mary got in her car and led me to the subdivision. When she got me to the street I needed to be on, she got out of the car and we consulted my notes. Well, of course, we were in the 12000 block and I needed a house with a 2200 address. I finally found the place, believe it or not, and they couldn’t hear the doorbell so I had to go to the sides of the house and holler through the fence for my friend. Can you imagine how well that would have gone over if I was at the wrong house and the occupants were swimming nekkid in their pool?

After these misadventures, I decided to venture no farther than 5 miles from home. A few days later, I made a practice run to the library. If it went well, my next trip would be to the mall to see about some new bras that didn’t shoot at me.

Even the library is not safe. I was at the self-checkout minding my own business when some woman behind me said, “God bless you!” I politely thanked her and offered her the same blessing but she kept talking. I finished my check out and walked to the door. She followed. We stood outside a few minutes chatting and I tried to excuse myself by mentioning my bad knee.  She decides I need a Reiki healing. Right there. In the parking lot. That was the moment I KNEW I should have stayed home. When your mind is slipping, all kinds of strange people tune into your erratic frequency. Forget the bras. I’ll do without.

38 thoughts on “IN MEMORY OF POPPIE”

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Writing your thoughts and feeling helps a little. Just keep going through each day. Do what you feel like doing and don’t do what you don’t. You know Poppie is watching over his kids. My son will be an RN as of April 15th. He knows how hard it is to give the level of care all patients need. I’m so sorry the hospital and their staff let your family down.

  2. Omg, you are a hoot. I don’t care how many times you get shot by your bra I better not find you walking around with those twins hanging down to your knees.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve never commented here before, but I’ve been enjoying your blog for months. My family also lives in a very rural part of Jacksonville’s Westside, so I feel like we’re practically neighbors. I was late reading your last entry, and when it had been so long in between I was really concerned for your dad. I had actually prayed for y’all several times over the last few weeks.
    I could tell you and your dad were very close. He sounded like a wonderful man. In your descriptions he sounded a lot like my late father-in-law, an old country boy who could turn his hand to anything, and valued his family above all else. We were both really blessed to have had a loved one like that. it I thought you would like to know there are people praying for you that you’ll probably never meet.

    1. Wow, Bookfreak, I am so touched that you were praying for us. When he passed, my joy disappeared and I just couldn’t write. Nor did I read the posts of my blogging friends and Facebook started sending me nagging emails to check in. I tried to go out among my friends but when that proved too stressful, I just gave it all up. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading so I don’t have to face my loss. Sleeping, too. And eating too much. I don’t know how you found my blog but I find it interesting that you apparently live close to me. Sounds like you might be further out because my neck o’ the woods is losing it’s rural heritage.

  4. We will forever miss Poppie and Mom, but at least you can still see the humor in the strange things that happen – need I say it — only to you.

  5. Linda, I enjoy all your writings – the good, the sad, and the oh-so-entertaining. This one is especially poignant. I wish the magic wand would help, but I do pray that time will bring you peace.

    Having gone through three losses in the past six plus months, I don’t know what to say. Please understand that I want to do something, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do to help you and your family.

    I dearly wish I could.

    Hugs, Pat

  6. I am so sorry! You know, I was thinking about you this weekend as I finally put to garden those purple coneflower seeds you sent me. I’ll miss stories about Poppie, but know I’ll think of you and your family when they start to bloom. Love from Oklahoma.

    1. Dena – Thanks for all your kind words. Hope you did some research on those coneflowers. I don’t think they bloom the first year. Here, I can get a jump on that first year by planting them in the fall and allowing them to grow all winter. I haven’t planted anything — flowers or veggies — I just don’t CARE about anything right now. I try to get things done but flop in a chair and just sit.

      1. Darnit. I did no research at all, so I doubly appreciate the advance notice that I’ll probably get nothin’! I understand your fog, your lack of motivation. Grief is an exhaustive process.

  7. I’m so very sorry for your loss! Even though he’s in a better place, I know it is a hard thing for you and your family. My sister was an ICU nurse and was constantly frustrated by how the hospital would understaff and how she felt she couldn’t give the level of care she wanted to give with too many patients. Because of that she eventually switched over to working at a dialysis center. So sad that hospitals would not care for patients like they should. At least you’ve still kept some sense of humor, and hopefully your Poppie is up there chuckling away at the strange things that seem to keep happening to you.

    1. Indie – It’s just SHAMEFUL that these hospitals are understaffing when they are raking in millions from insurance companies. I have to admit that I filed a complaint with the State of Florida’s Department of Health. Since it wasn’t a complaint about a particular doctor, they forwarded it to a “facilities” department for further handling. It won’t bring Poppie back but it might help someone else’s family. Poppie always “complained” when I wrote about him in a humorous way. He said I was ruining his reputation…

  8. I am so sorry for your loss and what a shock for your family. I, too, have been in that fog before and ended up in places and wondered how in the world did I get there. I can honestly say, though, I have never had my bra shoot me. Isn’t it weird how funny things like that happen in your saddest moments? Will be thinking about you and sending you hugs from Arkansas.

    1. Brenda – Thanks for those hugs from Arkansas. All hugs gratefully accepted. That one trip where I found myself at the beach was so unbelievable to me I was just certain that my exit had been removed. A few days later, I went back out there just to see. That’s how convinced I was that the sign just wasn’t there. Well, guess what? The sign was there. I find that very scary — that I’m behind the wheel of a 3000 pound vehicle and I’m not fully present. Thus, the decision to stay closer to home.

  9. My sympathies and {blog-hugs}. When I have been outside, poking around for something green, I have thought of you, down there at Southern Rural Route. When that happens, it is usually my way of knowing I need to pray for that person. So, I’ve been sending up little prayers, knowing there was a reason for your blogging absence. Today actually marks the 9th year of my first husband’s death. During his two-year illness, my father passed away. I FEEL your pain. The name of my blog, justmakethecoffee, came about because of the journey through that horrific time. Try to sit outside in the sun a little each day and don’t worry about gardening yet. Find something to be your “coffee” to make. Hopefully, your cats will help with that? I hope you will continue to blog – you have a gift. The bra story is so funny …. except when it is happening to you, of course, in that moment. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    You also wrote a valuable message. It is true, unfortunately, that family/friends have to be so vigilant when our loved ones are in any type of health-care facility. Your notes are spot on!! I hope you find peace in knowing you are helping many.

    Take care, friend. I look forward to reading your blog posts.

    1. Marla – Thanks for your hugs and comments. I know what it’s like to lose family members close together. Momma passed two years and two months before Poppie. However, like your husband, she had been very ill for two years so our grieving was done during that time. Her actual passing brought out the kleenex but then we moved on with living because we KNEW she was in a better place. Poppie had not been ill, just in pain and the surgery was an attempt to address that pain. His passing was a TERRIBLE shock to us and we are reeling from that shock. I’ve had days where I can’t get out of bed until 3 in the afternoon, have no desire to do anything (so I force myself), ad nauseum. You know the drill. I don’t plan to abandon the blog but I see a future where it will be necessary to post articles that have nothing to do with gardening or rural route living because stuff just happens to me. Funny stuff.

  10. My heart broke when I read this post! I agree with the commenter who said it was time for you to get some new bras. You must not neglect yourself! You are in my prayers, and those are not empty words. I am glad you still have your humor, despite shooting bras and Reiki healings (I had to look that up to see what it was!). Only God can give you the peace that surpasses all understanding, and I pray you will have that day by day, moment to moment.

    1. Deb – It was a long time before I could even WRITE the memorial for Poppie but I’m beginning to come to terms with him being gone. I do appreciate all the prayers sent up for me because I believe prayer works.

  11. Your cautionary warning is one to be heeded.
    Words cannot begin to express my heart felt sympathy for you and yours. There is no time frame for grieving. One minute at a time. Please know that I have whispered a prayer of comfort and healing for you….and I will continue to do so. Hugs♡♡♡

  12. Ah Jones, yer somethin’ else, inserting humor when things are lookin’ mighty blue. Lovely comments from some great folks here, I’ve enjoyed reading them and yanno (or ya do now), I’ve had you in my thoughts from the get go. Didja get a bra yet? Thanks for your writing gal, it always makes me smile.

    1. Duncan – I shouldn’t have been inserting any humor there but you know I ain’t right in the head. I’m not as depressed as I was. I think a lot of people have had me in their prayers. I soooooo appreciate their prayers because those prayers lifted me up. And yes, I got lots of wonderful comments from readers and other bloggers. Got me two brand spanking new bras! I just haven’t yet had the fortitude to break them in. Worse than a new pair of shoes!

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