One of my favorite movies of all times is “Speed” with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. They discover love and passion in the midst of lots of drama. At the end of the movie, Keanu’s character, Jack, tells Sandra’s character, Annie, “I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.” Of course they hook up anyway and you assume they’ll live happily ever after until Speed 2 comes out and Jack is nowhere in sight. I have to wonder why any woman in her right mind would give up Keanu Reeves! But that’s beside the point… Do relationships based on intense experiences work? Do they last?
When we arrived at the Burn Center for the first time, we were still in shock. The nurse assigned to P.J. for the morning, Liz, quickly took us on the side to explain what had been done already and what to expect when we walked into the room. That was the most terrifying part — seeing him for the first time. What made it unusual (not sure if it helped or hurt) was that P.J.’s face was so swollen, it didn’t look like him. We saw tubes coming from everywhere and Liz quickly explained what job each was doing. Liz is a special lady, but she is not the only wonderful nurse in the Burn Center. There are many. I would start to name them all, but I know I would miss some. Every single person (doctors, nurses, technicians, staff, etc.) that we have encountered has been kind and caring and attentive. I quickly began interviewing the staff to ensure that they had my child’s best interests in mind. A.J. found this embarrassing, but I had to do whatever it would take to reassure myself that he was in good hands. I’ve stopped those interviews now because it is so evident that God chose this team of caregivers especially for our child.
As the days passed and we received the news that P.J. was in a coma and then the next day that he had pneumonia, we were comforted immediately by Cheryl and Leona, two ladies who were in the same position as us, waiting for their loved ones to heal from burns. They quickly shared their own stories with us and we became great friends. It has been wonderful to get their reassurance as we go through something they’ve already experienced. As new patients arrive, I expect we will pass on the benefit of our experiences as well. Everyone seems to “pay it forward” in the Burn Center, praying for each other and offering encouragement.
We’ve only been here for two short weeks, but already we are feeling such a connection to all of these people — staff, other patients, and their families — that I know we will miss them terribly when we eventually take P.J. home. We understand that there is a big reunion for all of the patients once a year, so I guess other families feel the same way. Will these relationships based on this intense experience last? I think they will. In fact, experts believe that when people support each other through tragedies or “intense experiences,” their relationships are typically stronger than those formed casually. Trust me, I read it on the internet, so it must be true. ; -)
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