On Oct 14, 2004 in Wilmington, NC a friend of mine was in a horrible car accident. He lost his wife and pretty much his will to live. The hospital he's in has let his personal grooming go to shit, they haven't washed his hair since the accident or cut his toe nails/finger nails. Beij can't talk, he's got a trach and can't communicate unless he writes things down. He's lost his house and his dogs (which he loved like his own kids). I'm a member of ISCABBS and the community there is doing what we can to try and help Beij by providing things to liven up his room, bring up his spirits and help him feel even just a little better. People have set up for a hairstylest to cut his hair and nails, there are volunteer groups that are going to go and see him, but he's still got a horrible room. I'm cross posting what was posted on ISCA...
(To avoid confusion, Beij is a TG male)
Beij was lying on the bed, looking at the door when we arrived. I guess he
heard us getting ready, we still have to gown up completely with gown, gloves,
and mask. Apparently it's to prevent passing on the dreaded hospital virus
(it's got an M and an S in it, but I cant remember the name). Kinda ironic to
me that we have to do all that, and not the nursing staff, cos they are the
ones in contact with all the sick people, not us!
Anyway, he seemed VERY happy to see us. I got the impression that his visitors
are almost non-existent, cos the nurse on the station with the rainbow
stethoscope around her neck got all excited for him that he had visitors.
Beij is still communicating primarily through mouthing the words and having the
"listener" read his lips. He had the nurse explain how I could put my finger
over the tube in his throat, and hear his voice, and so naturally I did
immediately. It was SO WONDERFUL to hear his voice! Unfortunately I almost
smothered him in my excitement, as I didn't realise that you had to take your
finger OFF the hole between speaking in order for the wee poppet to breathe!
Well, we all ended up arriving at the hospital later at the same time! It was
lovely to introduce Terry to Beij. While we watched Terry work, and begin to
bond with Beij, we realised that this young man had been placed in our path
directly. He was perfect. His sensitivity was amazing, he was absolutely
perfect in every way. What should have been a visit of around 30 minutes took
more like two hours, with Terry taking on the role of nurse, protector and
stylist all together. Just as well he had some experience in hospitals, as he
was able to adjust Beij's bed, find the appropriate pillows etc, and move him
with some expertise, cos the nurses NEVER ONCE CAME IN TO HELP even though we
had asked, and were told they would, and we there for two hours cutting his
hair. We did it ourselves eventually cos we got tired of waiting.
Terry was patient and kind, and stopped frequently (Beij became nauseous a
couple of times due to the moving of the bed and his head), again there had
been NO response from nursing staff to Kris telling them that Beij was choking
and gagging and nauseous, and he never once tried to rush things or made it
seem like it was a bother. He was truly wonderful, and we told him that we felt
that he was chosen for this job, by the way we walked straight into him when we
were on our mission.
I think he felt that to be the case too.
So Beij got a haircut. He also got a shampoo. This might not seem much, but at
one stage Beij made a face and said that his hair stunk. He said he had NEVER
had anyone wash his hair since the crash. Not so much as a wet cloth run over
his head during washing. I was appalled. There were many things about his care
(or the lack of it) that appalled me. Beij said that "this ward isn't very
good" compared to the last one he was in... but clearly nobody had ever
attended to any of his personal (non-medical) needs in the previous ward
His toenails were long and yellow, and his fingernails were almost as long as
mine. Kris cut his finger and toe nails, and rubbed lotion into his dry,
cracked feet while I massaged his hands with lotion.
He wept because he was so grateful that these things had been done. He asked
"why are you/people doing this?" about all the things we shared with him that
people are doing (the trust for him, the fundraising through ebay that someone
through another site has started for him, the prayers and the positive and
loving thoughts). He seemed genuinely surprised that people could be so good,
so loving towards him, even people that didn't know him.
I told him about NYFemme sending me vouchers for accommodation and gas to help
us fund the trip, and how much it made a difference to us being able to share
the outside world with him. I will be forever grateful to NYFemme for that
altruistic gesture. Her generosity brought Beij to tears again, and he asked
that we pass on his gratitude to her and everyone else who sent him thoughts of
love and caring.
I can not imagine how it must be to lie in a bed for six months with full
feeling from the neck up and never have your hair washed. Can you imagine how
itchy that must have been??! He is unable to reach his head, and can't signal
to anybody (in the rare times that anyone is in the room to help him). He
doesn't even have a call button!!! If he was choking, and nobody heard it, I
dread to think of what might happen...
Just don't get me started on what I think about all that. It seems to me to be
intrinsic to recovery that professionals need to attend to the physical and
emotional needs of a patient TOGETHER to maximise chances of an effective
When Beij asked me what had been happening in the world, I told him about the
tsunamis in Asia, and the avalanche in Ohio, and turned the tv on for him.
Apparently he doesn't have anybody who turns it on regularly, as he knew
nothing aobut those things. My heart broke for him, a vibrant and intelligent
man trapped in a tiny room with very little intellectual or emotional
stimulation, and only his deep deep sadness to keep him company. It made me
incredibly sad for him.
The ISCABBS community is trying very hard to raise money through auctions on eBay to help with his medical expences and we're looking for contributions for these auctions. If you're interested in donating something to be auctioned off, please message me and I'll get you in contact with the girl that's handling that aspect.
We're also sending Valentines to Beij from Feb 1-14th. Not only to cheer him up, but they want to get him in the World's Record for most valentines. If you'd like to send Beij a valentine or make somthing to cheer him up please do.
Beij is one of those rare people that would give everything he had to help out another human being.
Beij Beltrisi (patient)
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
2131 South 17th Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
To send Beij an email: http://www.nhrmc.org/body.cfm?id=1680
Contact Laura : firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations for Stiletto's expenses can be made by Paypal to: email@example.com