Spring is in the air. April is finally here, but it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal since winter wasn’t so bad this year. This blog today is about inspiration. The reason I chose it is because I’ve been inspired and sometimes as a writer people ask me where I get my inspiration from. Writing is second nature to me so at times I actually have to stop and think where my inspiration for telling stories comes from. At this time in my life, I don’t have to think about it.

My mother, Gladys Reaves who I love so much is fighting for her life in a Critical Care Unit at Grant Hospital in Columbus Ohio. I was there last week with my sister Carol and my partner Mr. Karl Davis. We are completely devastated. Our mother who is 75 years old has had her health issues over the last couple of decades. She is a 20 year breast cancer survivor and struggles daily with asthma, hypertension and atrial fibrillation. During the last six months she has had some concentrated troubles that included many stays in the hospital. Three weeks ago she was rushed to the emergency room with blood sugar so low that they thought she might lose consciousness. The ER doctors had to flush  fluids and antibiotics through her body by any means they could; any minute wasted took minutes from her life. Still in New York I was getting all of this horrific news from my terrified sister who was with her in the ER. A few days later I heard the news that my mother is suffering from a condition known as Sepsis. Prior to this I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this condition, but after living online during the worst crisis of my mother’s life I’ve learned quite a bit about this deadly disease. It is estimated that over 750,000 people develop sepsis in North America and let me add there seems to be certain levels of this disease: Sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock. 30-35 % of individuals with severe sepsis do not survive. From what I’ve gathered, my mother appears to have severe sepsis. It’s a serious illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria. It can occur from one of many reasons, all of which my mother has had over the last few months. Frequent hospital stays requiring multiple iv drips, needles and surgery and all the poking and prodding that occurs in a hospital setting. I call them necessary evils. Although not certain, I believe my mother’s infection came from surgery that she had on her groin area to remove a blood clot recently. The frightening thing about this disease is that it’s hard to detect until the symptoms are already reaching severity levels.I caution everyone, especially those with aging parents who’ve had frequent hospital stays and surgery to please study this disease and look for bizarre symptoms that don’t seem to make sense. In my mother’s case she had developed a fever that went up and down and she began to feel extremely weak and even though she had a hospital stay two days before the emergency, nothing had been detected. For more information on sepsis please log onto: http://www.survivingsepsis.org/introduction/pages/default.aspx.

Now for my inspiration. My partner Karl and I had arrived in Columbus and to the CCU at Grant Hospital after hearing the news that my mother was critically ill. Seven days I spent at her side, even having to wear a gown and gloves to visit after she developed an infection in her urine. Her liver and kidneys had begun to fail and she started dialysis treatment as multi organ failure is common among sepsis patients. I never knew what surreal meant until this situation. Seven days I hung around, holding my mothers hand, talking to her, looking in her confused eyes hoping that she’d recognize me. I spoke to several doctors and nurses, but let me tell you; it was the nurses that stood out. I have a newfound respect for them. Definitely nothing against the doctors, but it’s the nurses who spent time with my mother, caring for her, keeping her  clean and encouraging her. I was impressed with them and have to shout them out. Matt, Reagan and Chris. They really cared for my mother and made me feel safe leaving her when visiting hours were over. I can’t imagine what we’d do without good nurses.

One evening sitting around the CCU, I had finally taken a breath from all the chaos and looked around. What stood out to me were all the other families of other critically ill patients sitting around with me. People that I looked at, nodded to or smiled at. I realized that they had been there everyday just like me. People of all races and walks of life. I looked at their faces and even though we didn’t share the same features, we all looked the same. We had dazed, preoccupied looks on our faces. We were all scared that we’d lose our loved ones. I even hugged one gentleman that was there for his father. It was then that it hit me; I wasn’t alone. These other people in the waiting room were just like me. We were all waiting to hear the outcome of our beloved. Inspiration is a bitch! I now had a new story idea. Yet to be titled. A four part short story series about a CCU waiting room. I haven’t written a word of it yet, but I guess it’s a good time to start.

As of this writing, Gladys is still fighting. She shows good signs in some areas, other signs not so good. We were told she wouldn’t survive a few nights ago, yet she’s still here, waiting, just like us. I hope she wins.

Franchot Karl