The secret lives of hospital staff members

When a loved one is in the hospital, you come into contact with a whole array of professionals that you might not meet otherwise. During Dad’s November 2011 hospital stay in Albuquerque, we met a fascinating respiratory therapist.

While he was twirling dials and recording data off of Dad’s ventilator machine that he was in charge of managing, the respiratory therapist told us about the novels he had written. One was about a serial killer, and I can’t remember what the other one was about, but it had a complicated plot line. He said the two books had TV rights picked up by HBO. There was no particular reason to lie about it, so I guess he was telling the truth. With all of the events that have transpired this year, I haven’t had time to follow up on his projects to see if they ever saw the light of day.

But beyond discussing his writing, he was just a fascinating man in general. He could fly helicopters and would help in search-and-rescue operations. He was an intriguing mix of risk and responsibility.

Since I would love nothing more than be a successful writer, I had to ask why he was still working at a hospital. He simply replied that he loved the work. I was glad to know that someone so dedicated to his work was personally taking care of my dad’s breathing needs while he was under sedation.

Recently I thought about this interesting man again, and wondered if he’s still working at the hospital or if his writing career has really taken off. As a writer, I hope for the latter, but for the patients’ sake, I hope for the former.

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