How Charles Osgood Helped Save My Life


When the Daily Post put up their topic today regarding talking about a journey you may have taken, I immediately turned to one that for me is physical, emotional and in a way, spiritual. It takes me back to my illness in 2009, that affected me greatly then and still has an effect on me now. There are many things that helped me get through the entire ordeal, not the least of which is the support I received from my family and friends both in person and through prayer. I am convinced that if it weren’t for all of them, I would not be here to write about all of this today.

But today I want to write specifically about one of the final legs of that journey for me. I have written about what happened to me many times in the past several years, and if you want to read more about it, you can check this post here. I am sure some people are tired of the whole story, so I won’t bore you with it again, but once I came out of the coma and was well enough to be moved from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, they moved me to Helen Hayes Hospital. Helen Hayes is a rehabilitation hospital in Nyack, NY, which is much closer to my home here so it would be a lot easier for Michelle and others to come and visit me. I can distinctly remember being loaded into the ambulance for the ride north to Helen Hayes. I could barely lift my hands at this point, let alone do anything else, and it was going to be their job to help get me moving.

It was weird being at Helen Hayes at first. I was placed in a room by myself because they really had no idea what had made me so sick and didn’t want to expose me to anyone else who might have illness or have me pass something on to someone else, so I was basically in isolation for the first couple of weeks. The only people who came in were the nurses to give me medication, my visitors, the therapists who worked with me in the room for the first few days and then someone sat with me in the room all night long because I was still on oxygen and had a speaking valve, which they took out at night so I couldn’t talk. It would be eerie to wake up at 2 AM and see a shadow sitting in a chair in the center of the room watching me (or not watching as they did seem to fall asleep sometimes). It reminded me of the nightmares I used to have in Columbia Presbyterian at night (a whole other story).

Anyway, things at Helen Hayes move quickly at first. They want to try to get you moving right away and my goal was to try to get out of there as soon as I could. In order for that to happen, you have to progress. There were people who had been there much longer than I ended up staying there. They would help me into a wheelchair every day to bring me to one of the therapy rooms for physical therapy twice a day. When I first got there, occupational therapy came to my room twice a day as well. I also had speech therapy as I had to re-learn how to talk and  I had breathing therapy as well. you wouldn’t think you would have to learn how to breathe correctly, but there is a lot more work to it than you realize when you have spent months on a ventilator breathing for you. It was a lot of work, 8 hours a day, five days a week.

Which brings me to how Charles Osgood helped save my life. As the weeks went on I worked harder and got stronger. There was no therapy on the weekends so you had that time to yourself. When I first got there and for many weeks after, I was not allowed to try to get out of bed on my own, so I would be stuck in bed until someone would come to help me into a chair or a wheelchair. Visiting hours started a little later on weekends so I would have time to myself. When your immobile, time to yourself is not fun. You can’t really do anything, so I was at the mercy of my television. I had just started to get use of my hands back so I could do things like change the channel on the remote now. Sunday mornings I would have my breakfast (and the food at Helen Hayes was a thousand times better than Columbia Presbyterian) and watch TV, which is when I discovered CBS Sunday Morning. Now the show has been on for many years, but I never watched it before. For all the weeks I was at Helen Hayes though, Charles Osgood and crew and the stories they covered were my link to the outside world and what was going on. I could watch about all kinds of stories and Charles’ approach to all of the stories was informative, relaxed and while often serious, he always seemed to have a friendly tone. More than once I think he helped me through some pretty lonely moments and mornings when no one was around. In a way, he inspired me to do more on my journey to try to work harder to get home.

After 2 months in Helen Hayes, I was allowed to go home on Halloween 2009. It was a Saturday. Everyone was glad to have me home, though I still had a lot of work to do. I was still on oxygen, could only walk with a walker and still had many months of physical therapy to go through. Just getting in bed that first night was tough. I would wake up in the night and hear my oxygen machine humming, but I was glad to have Michelle by my side instead of being alone. Then, the next morning, there was my good friend Charles, almost as if he was welcoming me home and making me comfortable. I was able to watch him from my own bed and feel even better about myself and my situation.

Now here I am, almost 4 years later, no oxygen, walking only with a cane, typing away here at my keyboard. Sunday morning has just passed into Sunday afternoon, but I still enjoy my mornings with Charles and gang. They continue to help me on my journey, giving me things to think about, laugh about or even get emotional about. My journey still continues on; it will always be there as some part of me, almost as my legacy, but my experience has vastly changed my approach to life overall and, as hard as it may be to believe, that show has played a role in it. Thank you Charles.


3 Responses to “How Charles Osgood Helped Save My Life”

  1. 1 The Right Apparel For An Emotional Journey | The Jittery Goat
  2. 2 Journey: Stairway to Heaven | Khana's Web
  3. 3 You never know how strong you are… | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

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