On Monday Jordan had gone to work but wanted to try to get off around noon and come to the hospital. Jenny told me that Jordan had called Webber’s construction to let them know about Shane being out.
I had breakfast with Jenny and left the trailer afterwards to make my way to the hospital.
It was a strange feeling that overcame me as I parked my car in front of the hospital again. All the times I had been to Charity in the last couple of months for Jay and now I came to a hospital again to see my boyfriend. It seemed unreal.
When I told them at the Emergency Room reception who I was and who I wanted to see I was relieved when they had my information on record and let me go right on in. At the door to the closed unit I had to ring the bell again and a nurse opened. She didn’t look familiar to me from the day before.
I told her who I was there to see and she let me come in, “I think Paul is in there with Shane right now but you may go on over to his room.”
When I came to Shane’s room, Paul turned out to be a nurse. I peeked in and he looked up from his task.
I felt a little like an intruder but he smiled, “Hi, are you here to visit with Shane?”
He didn’t wait for my answer and added, “I’m almost done, give me two more minutes.”
I didn’t know what he was doing but I did get a glimpse of Shane’s braces on the floor in the corner of the room. Shane was covered up to his waist with a blanket.
I stepped over to the side and just waited.
Paul eventually came out and turned to me, “Are you family of Shane?”
“I’m Anna, his girlfriend.”
I didn’t remember this nurse from the day before neither but he replied friendly, “Nice to meet you Anna. I’m Paul.”
I smiled and nodded.
Paul explained, “So Shane is still on a slight sedation but he wakes up on and off. Unfortunately when he woke up last night he was not very happy. They tried to calm him down and work without sedation but it just wasn’t possible. He was very combative verbally and physically. They did take his braces off last night as well and he was put on a Foley catheter. Dr. Salas should be in soon as well.”
I knew about Foley catheters from Jay in the hospital. When he couldn’t get up anymore he had been on one for months.
I nodded and Paul added, “You may go in. Just keep the door open, okay.”
I walked into Shane’s room. It was still empty, except for both Shane’s crutches and braces were in the corner now. He was covered up to his waist with a thin blanket, he wore a hospital gown now and his wrists were still restrained to the side of the bed. The ankle straps hung over the side on the foot end of the bed. No one needed to worry about Shane’s legs doing anything. It wasn’t that he could jump up and run off. I saw a bag with urine attached to the bed by the foot end.
Softly I let my fingers run over the strap around his wrist. It was padded on the inside but fit snug around his wrist and he didn’t have any wiggle room. His eyes were closed and I just looked at his face for a moment. His eyelashes were long and dark, a shadow of a beard was coming through and his wavy dark hair lay around his head chaotic and stringy. I ran my hand over his cheek. He felt warm and moist
There was no chair and so I just sat on the edge of the bed and watched him sleep, holding his hand. When I softly said his name he didn’t move.
I was startled when Dr. Salas walked in, “Good Morning.”I sat up quickly, “Good Morning doctor.”
Dr. Salas came closer and looked at Shane. I moved off the bed and stood next to the doctor.
He smiled, “How are you? Anna, right?”
“Yes, I’m okay.”
Dr. Salas stepped closer to the bed and I asked, “So how’s Shane been?”
“Well, he wasn’t very cooperative last night when he woke up so we had to keep him sleepy. Let me check his heart beat.”
He listened to Shane’s heart with his stethoscope and then checked his pulse.
He nodded, “He’s calm right now. Everything is all right so far. I think I can let him wake up all the way today”
I asked, “Did you have a chance to get his medical information from Charity?”
“Yes, I did get his records faxed over.”
“So what’s going to happen to him?”
“Well, I do have to talk to his family about some things.”
I tried to let him know that I was really the one to talk to, “If it’s anything about his health, he just came back home to Morgan City. For the past 14 months he was in New Orleans, first at Charity and then he actually stayed with friends there to be able to do his outpatient rehab at Charity. His brothers don’t really know much about Shane’s health.”
Dr. Salas nodded and thought for a moment, then looked up at me, “Do you know anything about the medications Shane has been on?”
I tried to remember any medications Shane was taking, “Well, I know he has something for his legs when they get spastic. I don’t think he’s on anything else.”
Dr. Salas nodded knowingly, “Well, I need to talk to him about this. It seems he should be on some anxiety medication and some anti-depressants. I need to find out if he has been taking his medications. Upon his release from Charity he apparently initially picked up some prescriptions but he never went back to get refills when he should have.”
I really didn’t remember Shane taking any other medications at my house or when I was with him.
Dr. Salas added, “I’ll talk to him when he wakes up and if he feels like it.”
I wanted to know more, “So you’re saying he deals with depression and anxiety?”
Dr. Salas didn’t answer, “I’m sorry Anna, but I can’t discuss anything else pertaining to his health with you.”
I didn’t push anymore and just nodded silently.
Dr. Salas explained warmly, “You’re welcome to stay with Shane as long as you want.”
After Dr. Salas had left I sat on the bed again, just stroking Shane’s face until he softly moaned and he blinked his eyes some like he was looking into a bright light.“Shane, baby. I’m here.”
He opened his eyes all the way and moved them in my direction.
I looked at him, “Hi baby.”
His eyes were falling shut again but right away he opened them again.
I stroked over his cheek and was surprised when he turned his face away from my hand.
I pulled my hand away, “Shane, can you hear me?”
With a scratchy voice he asked lowly, “Where am I?”
I explained to him where he was and he asked, “Why the fuck am I in a hospital?”
I leaned toward his face a bit, “You had a break down at Jordan’s house yesterday.”
I saw him ball his hand in a fist and his biceps flex, “Why can’t I move my arms?”
I was worried he would get angry and explained softly, “Your wrists are strapped down to the bed baby.”
He ordered, “Then untie them!”
He said it lowly and with difficulties, catching his breath.
I swallowed, “I’m sorry Shane. I can’t do that.”
He demanded again, “Untie my fucking hands!”
“I’m not allowed to do that baby.”
He was breathing heavier now, his chest rising up and down quickly. He lifted his head some and looked around the room confused. He then let his head fall back onto the pillow.
His eyes were dark on me when he asked, “Why the hell did you let them bring me here?”
At that moment I was glad when the nurse came in, “I see someone is waking up. Hey Shane!”
Paul walked over to the bed and stood opposite of me.
Shane asked again weakly, “Why the fuck are my hands tied down?”
Paul stayed friendly, “You didn’t feel good last night Shane. It’s for your safety.”
I saw Shane’s hand still balled into a fist, “Safety my ass. Get my fucking hands untied!”
The nurse stayed calm, and I got nervous at Shane’s obvious frustration.
Paul explained, “I’m sorry Shane, for right now we’ll leave the restraints. Doctor’s orders.”
Shane swallowed, “Then let me see the fucking doctor!”
His chest was moving up and down quickly.
I said nervously, “Shane, they’re just trying to help you.”
His dark eyes shot back at me and he replied under quick breaths, “Help me? I’m in here because of you in the first place…leave me the fuck alone!”
He was pulling against the restraints.
My eyes filled with water. I was devastated at him waking up like this.
I really didn’t know what to say to him.
I touched his fist and I could feel him trying to pull away but the restraint didn’t permit it.
Paul leaned over Shane, “Shane, what’s going on? We were hoping you would wake up in a better mood.”
Shane followed Paul with his eyes as she walked around the bed and checked the IV bag.He hissed at him, “You need to untie me and let me get the fuck out of here now! Where are my clothes and my fucking braces? There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Paul explained with a more stern notation, “Shane, you won’t be leaving right now. The doctor is going to come in here shortly. Your girlfriend Anna is here to support you and we’re all here to help you feel better. But you do need to work with us and calm down my friend.”
Shane’s voice was louder now, “I don’t need to calm the fuck down. You need to let me go!”
I stood next to the bed and was scared to say anything else because I was afraid Shane would snap at me.The nurse demanded in a friendly but unyielding tone, “Don’t raise your voice at me Shane.”
Now Shane hissed into his direction, “Fuck you!”
I was shocked to hear him say this.
Paul turned to me, “Anna, I’m going to have to ask you to step outside for right now. Unfortunately he’s still not feeling too good I guess.”
I took my hand off Shane’s tense fist and his eyes shot toward me.
All I said was, “I love you Shane.”
He didn’t say anything but turned his face away again and I walked out.
I cried now and walked all the way outside to my car. I called Jenny and under tears told her about Shane’s reaction.She tried to console me, “Jordan will be over there around one Anna. Just go get some coffee right now or something to eat. Don’t worry about what he said. He may be on meds and doesn’t know what he’s doing or saying.”
I finished up with Jenny and walked back into the Emergency Department and to the closed unit.
I rang the bell and this time Paul answered the door, “Anna, hey.”
“Did he calm down?”
Paul shook his head and looked weary, “Unfortunately not. Right now I can’t let you back in.”
“What are they going to do with him?”
“Well, Dr. Salas will come in soon and talk to him. He has Shane’s brother’s number and will call him with any updates.”
“Is there any way he can contact me?”
“Unfortunately since you’re not family, the doctor won’t be able to discuss anything with you. You’ll have to get your information from Shane’s family.”
I hung my head in defeat, “Okay, I understand.”
Paul said warmly, “I’m sorry Anna. I hope he’ll be better soon.”
I walked out and tried to hold my tears in until I got to my car. I called Jordan and told him about the situation and that they wouldn’t tell me anything.“Anna, listen, I’ll be over there around one and I’ll let you know what all the doctor is saying. Why don’t you go to the house right now and just hang out with Jenny until I get home?”
I had to agree with Jordan. There was nothing I could do at the moment and soon I was on my way over to their house.
Jenny hugged me tightly when I came in.“Hey girl. I’m so sorry about all of this.”
I eventually sat on the couch and held a mug of coffee in my hands.Jenny poured herself some coffee too and came over into the living room with me.
I told her again in more detail what had happened at the hospital while I was there.
I eventually implied, “I don’t know if I can keep doing this Jenny.”
Jenny nodded and replied softly, “I get it. It’s not easy for sure. You really have every right to just take a break from it all. You’re not married to him and he’s obviously still dealing with a lot of stuff.”
“He won’t make it if I leave him….”
I swallowed, “And that’s not what I want anyways, I want to be there for him. I love him very much but it’s difficult.”
Jenny just nodded now and drank a sip from her mug.
We talked some more and eventually the door opened and Jordan, Scott and Becky came in, followed by their kids.Becky came over and hugged me, the guys right behind her.
Jordan stated, “Well, I’m just coming from the hospital.”
I sat there looking at him expectantly, “How is he?”
Becky and Scott sat down on the couch and Jordan started, “Well, they had to keep him sedated some more. Apparently he’s acting a total fool with the staff. I wasn’t allowed to see him but I did talk to the doctor.”“What did he say?”
Jordan plopped into his recliner and Jenny sat on the armrest of the recliner.
Jordan put his arm around her waist and explained, “Well, they’re keeping him calm. Dr. Salas found out some stuff from Charity. Apparently Shane was officially diagnosed with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even at Charity he tried to kill himself twice. He was on suicide watch over there for an extended period of time. He got some counseling, was put on meds and upon his discharge he should have stayed on those meds, but he never got the prescriptions filled. The only thing he has gotten filled was pain medication and the medication for when his legs are getting the spasms. Apparently he never filled his anti-depressives and anxiety meds. He should have been on those regularly.”
I felt my eyes become blurry. I realized now it was no surprise Shane was the way he was.
Jordan continued, “Well, Doc put him back on medication and they’re going to keep him in their inpatient Psych unit for a few days for observation and suicidal watch. He won’t be able to have visitors. They’re planning on transferring him to that unit today. They gave me the direct phone number and told me that a psychiatrist will be in charge of Shane there.”
I pressed my fist to my mouth and tears collected in my eyes.
Jenny came over and sat next to me and put her arm around me, “Anna, see, it’s not your fault or anybody’s fault. It was just a matter of time when the boy was going to snap. There’s nothing you or we can do at this time. You’re doing the only thing you can and that is to love him and stick by him.”
Jordan agreed, “Jenny is right, we can’t do anything for him right now. I’ll stay in contact with the doc and I’ll keep you updated Anna.”
I was devastated at finding out about Shane’s seemingly very unstable mental status but I knew there was nothing I could do. I debated to go back home.
Jenny suggested, “Why don’t you just stay here tonight Anna? You can drive back home tomorrow.”
Jordan, Scott, and Becky all agreed with Jenny and I decided to stay another night.
For the rest of the night I couldn’t stop thinking about Shane in the hospital. I was hoping very much that he was going to be okay. I barely slept that night, I actually cried in bed and the urge to call the hospital or wake up Jordan or Jenny was almost overbearing but I kept myself in check. It was around three in the morning when I went to the bathroom and then came back into the room and my eyes wandered over to Shane’s sports bag in the corner. It was the bag that he had brought from Mitch’s house with all his stuff in it.
I went over to it and looked inside and in the bottom I found his medical records, the thick folder with lots of papers. My hands were shaky as I pulled it out and with it in my hands walked over to the bed and sat down, leaning against the headboard, my legs criss crossed in front of me.
I stared at the front cover of the folder, “Shane Randall Lenalier, M, DOB 4/12/1974”. His Social Security number was underneath his name.
I slowly opened the folder and inside it both sides had papers attached to the metal clamps. I started going through some of the papers and soon came upon a plastic cover with pictures in it. There were some of the accident scene and the badly damaged truck partly submerged in water. Then very quickly I found pictures of Shane in the hospital after the accident. I pulled them out with trembling fingers and looked at them. The photos obviously showed the injuries he had sustained. They were numbered and dated, close ups of his legs, back, and neck also the scrapes and bruises all over his skin. In some of the photos he was in the ICU, intubated and attached to all kinds of medical equipment, his legs in complicated looking fixtures, his head held in a halo, and his torso in a type of brace.
Tears started running out of my eyes and at the same time I started feeling horrible at how his condition made me all crazy in a strange way. I felt ashamed all the sudden and I felt bad for having been attracted to him for his braces and how much I wanted him in them. All the sudden it all felt so terribly wrong and I looked at some of the other pictures of Shane, in various stages of his hospital stay, eventually off the ventilator but still in bed, the halo still screwed into his skull, the brace helping heal his broken back but then there was also the invisible injury of the damaged spinal cord that would keep him from walking like he used to. It was the damage to his Spinal Cord that would force him to be on crutches and in leg braces for the rest of his life unless he would get a wheelchair.
When I looked at one picture where he was sitting in bed with his eyes open I wondered if he already knew by then that he wouldn’t be able to walk anymore without assistive devices.
I put the pictures back into the plastic cover and read over some of the paperwork. I saw police reports that also referred to evidential photos. I came across paperwork that stated Shane had no insurance, the report from the EMT’s that had responded to the crash, the helicopter that had transported Shane to the hospital in Baton Rouge, then an ambulance to Charity.
I also found a paper where I read “Nickolas Samuel Lenalier, M, DOB 6/10/1975, deceased at scene of crash at impact of vehicle”. Tears were just streaming over my face now. I had to close the folder and held it in my trembling hands and cried. I dropped the folder on the floor next to the bed.
I remembered something and pulled my purse up onto the bed with me. I had left the brochures of wheelchair manufacturers in my purse since I took them with me from Zach’s office. Shane didn’t want them but now I pulled them out and started looking through them. Nice looking, sporty wheelchairs by various companies were shown in the brochures. I really liked the look of some of the chairs and I felt my legs get warm at looking at them and imagining Shane in a wheelchair. Maybe he would get used to a wheelchair and he could use it for longer distances or when out and about for longer time periods. He would still need the braces and crutches but a wheelchair would make his life so much easier in some situations. Prices ranged from $ 1500 upwards, depending on what a person would want in their wheelchair and how they wanted it made and what kind of features were important to them.
I felt my heart beat faster at thinking about the possibilities for Shane and somehow I pictured him excited if together we would pick out a wheelchair for him. Then my thoughts came back to reality and I knew at this time my boyfriend was in bad shape mentally, not very stable and a wheelchair was probably the furthest from his mind at the moment. I closed the brochures, stuffed them back into my purse and dropped my purse onto the floor next to the medical records folder. I pushed myself down in the bed, pulled the cover over me and turned off the bedside lamp. I thought of Shane, my mind was racing around him and the whole situation and from exhaustion I actually fell asleep at four in morning.
I slept in, it was Tuesday, and for a moment as I woke up I was confused at not having Shane next to me in the bed. Quickly I remembered the harsh reality I was in at the moment. I wanted to see him so badly.
I checked my phone for any messages and somehow something new about Shane. There was nothing, Shane didn’t have a cell phone and Jordan was at work and had not sent me any message either, he really didn’t have a reason to.
I had a hard time getting up and I felt like in a daze. Drowsy and sleepy I went into the bathroom and got into the shower.Jenny was in the kitchen, “Hey good morning Anna.”
“Good Morning Jenny, sorry I slept so late, I didn’t sleep good all night.”
She turned to me with a smile, “It’s really no surprise. You’ve a lot on your mind right now.”
I walked over to her and she wiped her hands on a towel and opened her arms for me, “Come here.”
I fell into her arms and she hugged me tightly saying, “He’ll be all right. You guys will be all right.”
“I hope so.”
Jenny nodded in my hair, “I know he loves you very much.”
We let go of each other. I had breakfast but couldn’t eat a lot. The coffee felt good though. Jenny told me that Jordan and Scott had gone to work and nothing was new.
I sat at the table and announced, “I’ll head on back home today. There’s nothing I can do up here and if something changes you guys can let me know and I’ll be able to come down.”
“I think that would be best. You can go to work and keep your mind off Shane. Maybe on the weekend things will be different.”
I hung out with Jenny for another hour or so and eventually drove off and back to Metairie. First thing I did at my apartment was to call Nadine and we talked for a long time. I cried on the phone with her and she was very worried about me and the situation with Shane.
“Maybe you got yourself too deep into this thing with Shane…”
I cut Nadine off, “I love him Naddy. I want to be with him and make this work. I want to help him get better.”
Nadine sighed on the other end, “Oh my, sugar, I know but the boy has so much to deal with and it’s obviously affecting you honey. I’m worried you got yourself in over your head with him.”
“Maybe I’m overwhelmed but it doesn’t change the way I feel about Shane. I want him in my life and we’ll make it through this.”
“Anna, you know Ray and I are here for you. Let me know if there’s anything we can do.”
“I know, thanks. I love ya’ll.”
“And we love you.”
I spent the rest of the day at my place, waiting for any news from Jordan or Jenny. It was around seven when Jenny called me and told me that Shane was now in the Psychiatry unit at the hospital. Even though he had been asking for me and his brothers, we were not allowed to see him at this time. I kept myself from crying again and finished with Jenny. I had another restless night.