The next couple of weeks are filled with Facebook memories of Tom’s time in the Oklahoma Heart Hospital.

He had been taken to the hospital in Enid on Sunday afternoon in diabetic emergency and had pneumonia. While he was there, they discovered what they thought was a big blood clot on his heart and sent him to the heart hospital.

It turned out to be a benign myxoma tumor that required open heart surgery to remove. Because he was already so sick when he got there, he had to have some time to get stronger before they could do the surgery and they would not release him. So we were there what felt like forever.

During that time, I began to realize just how important it was for hospital patients to have an advocate there for them, especially during longer hospital stays.

A year (and several hospital stays) later, when COVID hit and they were not allowing anyone in the hospital with patients, Tom looked at me and said “If I get sick again, I am NOT going back to the hospital. I do not want to die there alone”. It was just a couple of weeks after they had stopped his chemo treatments, so we knew we were living on borrowed time anyway. I understood and respected his wishes because I knew the issues we’d had in the hospital visits we’d experienced.

If you know someone in the hospital, make sure someone is there to advocate for them. They need it.


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