LISTENING IS LIFE-SAVING - A Thank You Doesn't Seem Enough to Show My Gratitude

Real Estate Agent with | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 228209

LISTENING IS LIFE-SAVING - A Thank You Doesn't Seem Enough to Show My Gratitude

Life has a way of throwing you curveballs - unexpected challenges, to which we never dreamed we would have to rise! Last Saturday was one of those calls to attention for me!

Living with a C-6 quadriplegic has taught me so much about routines. Ray's challenges have become mine but, have also taught me so much about planning over the last 27 years. In those 27 years, I've never lost my appreciation for planning - and planning well - DETAILED!

We have very regimented morning and evening routines and we are both programmed not to stray from those routines. Last Saturday, my hubby opted to sleep-in, a rare request. He slept in again...and again...and again. He later opted not to even turn on college football on the TV, a REALLY rare phenomenon! He developed a fever over 102º and became even more dis-interested in basically, life itself.

Near the end of the day, I texted his internal medicine physician who instructed me to get him directly to the emergency room. I did and believe me, it took everything the two of us had to do so. Ray's words, "I'm not paying for an ambulance - no, I'm not going." 

I feel like my life is one, never-ending string of negotiations - in both personal and business life! Ray FINALLY (2 hours after his doctor instructed me to get him to the ER) agreed to let me take him. By the time we got to the emergency room, he was incredibly weak and it wasn't long before he 'crashed' before my very eyes.


In fact, if you do a search for "levophed leave 'em dead," you will understand why this former nurse may have freaked out, just a bit, when the doctor told me they were sending my hubby to the Intensive Care Unit on Levophed. It was surreal!


He was in incredibly good hands but, I could not help but, worry that Levophed was Ray's last-ditch effort to keep him alive. The doctors asked me to go home to retrieve medications that the hospital doesn't normally keep in stock and return to one of our area's major medical centers.


I'm thankful that they did because, it wasn't until after his discharge that I was informed that he was airlifted to that major hospital. Let me add that being a nurse in my former life is not always a good thing - especially when someone you love, more than life itself, is in a critical state! 


Thankfully Ray's youth (54 years old) helped him pull through this life-threatening diagnosis. And, THANKFULLY, after one VERY LONG WEEK, we have a diagnosis of sepsis. Yes, it took nearly a week to get us a diagnosis but, it's such a huge relief to know that all we need are some serious antibiotics and he'll be just fine in a week or so. 

I'm so very thankful for the incredibly intelligent physicians and nurses at our local medical centers. I'm thankful for the nurses and doctors who literally saved my husband's life last weekend. I cannot imagine being in a remote location and not being able to convince him to go to the emergency room; I am convinced that he would not have made it.

I could not be more thankful for those same physicians and nurses, none of whom would leave his room until they had answers, none of whom would leave my side until they knew they had given me their most detailed answers and all of whom were at our beck and call, for an entire week.


We still don't have the full diagnosis - it is expected tomorrow - but, I cannot express how grateful we are for the wonderful care we got from the staff at Atrium last week. I cannot thank them enough for, LITERALLY, saving my husband's life. I cannot thank them enough for answering every single question I had and for not making me feel that I was annoying to them for the endless barrage of questions. Each and every nurse and doctor actually LISTENED to my concerns, ordered tests, based on the information that I provided and held my hand in the middle of the night when there was no one else to do so. 

While I used to be a nurse, I don't believe that I ever fully realized the impact first responders have upon patients and families. The fact that those first responders actually LISTENED to me had EVERYTHING to do with them being able to save my husband's life last weekend. 

Much has been said about listening to continue a conversation and listening to LEARN - to actually HEAR what others are saying. In this case, LISTENING WAS LIFE-SAVING. 

This Thanksgiving will be ever-so special for our family. We came painfully close to losing one of the most special people in many of our lives (especially mine!). Today I am so very thankful for those who give so much of themselves to not only save others but, to give their families incredible support and compassion. 


***The photo is from the early morning sunrise from the CVRU (ICU) waiting room. I was escorted out of the room (I actually beat the helicopter to the unit) and walked into the waiting room, facing this sunrise. For those of you who know Ray and me, this was another surreal moment.


© Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | | A Thank You Doesn't Seem Enough to Show My Gratitude

Comments (30)

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Although I don't write or comment much on AR these days, I do spend time reading what my fellow ARers are up to, and yours wrenched my heart.  You are a strong partner in Ray's life.  Hang in there.

Nov 21, 2022 09:34 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I so appreciate you stopping by, Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® - we miss you every day here!

I know that Ray would be 100% the same for me so, I could never let him down in times like this. We're hanging in and looking forward to an uber healthy 2023!!

I hope you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving, Hella.

Nov 21, 2022 08:20 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

OMG Debe Maxwell, CRS you are an amazing woman. Thankfully you took him to the ER on time even with him saying he did not want to pay for an ambulance. How lucky is he to have you in his life? Your love for each other is so beautiful and I will forever keep you both in my prayers . God Bless 🥰

Nov 21, 2022 10:06 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Ahh, thank you so much, Hannah Williams! I can't tell you how hard it was being 'firm' with him to get him to go. When someone feels bad, you naturally want to make them comfortable and get rest. I knew it was a big deal but, it took a LOT of negotiating to convince him! You know, men are incredibly STUBBORN!! 

See you tomorrow, doll!

Nov 21, 2022 08:22 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Debe that was a very scary experience.  You were very blessed to have such wonder care available for Ray, and blessed that Ray ended up listening to you and letting you take him to the hospital.

Nov 21, 2022 11:00 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You bet, George Souto! I have no idea how we got through that but, I"m pretty sure our higher being carried us for this past week!

Nov 21, 2022 08:23 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi Ed Silva! Yes, thankfully it gave him a chance to overcome the sepsis - but, no, maybe not the mental issues! LOL

I'm sorry to hear that you had an incident too. Thank goodness your wife gave you the ultimate ultimatum! Kudos to her for giving you the only two viable options! I love your wife and I have never met her!!

Nov 21, 2022 07:56 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It’s all about actively  listening to what people have to say and then respond into it in a way that makes everything interesting and engaging

Nov 21, 2022 11:17 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Yes, I'm a fanatic about that, Laura Cerrano! Being aware of who listen vs. those who actually listen AND hear helps you understand how much to repeat yourself when you have something very important to say! It makes all of the difference!

Nov 24, 2022 02:34 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Debe,

I'm so glad Ray is improving. My prayers are with you both every day. That was another scary experience for you and may be one of the scariest. I've not heard  of levophed but your post had me going to an online search. wonder this was so scary! Sepsis is o fun as I know Gene had it several times. You had excellent medical care and can see why you are so grateful. You are amazing hoe you handled everything.

Nov 22, 2022 05:36 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I know, Dorie Dillard Austin TX, I thought of you and Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 several times through all of this, knowing that you both have experienced what I was going through. Most people focus on 'how's the patient' and forget about how much WE, as caregivers, are hurting, need consoling - heck, need HELP with things that we don't want to ask for!

You both gave me strength, just knowing that you made it through these challenging times on many occasions.

Nov 24, 2022 02:37 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

WOW, he got a helicopter ride but couldn't enjoy it. Thinking about both of you and am so glad he is doing better. You, my dear, are fantastic. Prayers to all, and happy TG to you and yours.

Nov 22, 2022 06:46 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Now, that is cute, Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 - I'll have to remind him of that! We were talking to family about how scary last week was for both of us. He was telling everyone he had no idea how he got from one hospital to the other. Such a scary time for us both and I so appreciate your kind words and support.

Nov 24, 2022 02:39 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

Thankful that Ray listened to you, too! There was a lot of listening going on, on all fronts. I'm glad he's on the mend, Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2022 08:34 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

It's rare but, I am extremely happy he listened to me, Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417! I hope you and yours are having a delightful Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:39 PM
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

I'm glad to hear that Ray is doing better. Enjoy Thanksgiving as much as possible.

Nov 22, 2022 09:38 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I was determined I was going to host this year, regardless, and I did. It was such great therapy for me, Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc! He definitely enjoyed time with family and some pretty good food too! 

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:40 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Debe:

You and Ray have been in my thoughts and prayers since I first heard the news. Thank goodness Ray was convinced by your persistent negotiating and got to the hospital in time. What an amazing and supportive medical team you had - you and Ray were truly blessed. Thanksgiving will have a whole new meaning this year!


Nov 22, 2022 11:23 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You're so kind, Jeff Dowler, CRS and I so appreciate your prayers; we both do. It's been a bit of a challenge but, we seem to be on the positive side of it all now. 

We are truly blessed, indeed! And, you're so right, today was extra special, knowing that he's going to be okay. I hope you and yours are having a great Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:42 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Debe, Glad you were able to recognize Ray's need for urgent care and to find the right team to give him that care and that he is recovering!

Nov 22, 2022 12:08 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

We did - THANKFULLY, Liz and Bill Spear! I'm so thankful that we had a great team at the hospital as well. 

I hope you and Liz had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:43 PM
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Super woman, that's what came to mind reading your blog, but not some fairy tale silly comic character. You are truly a super woman who has the intellect and gift of patience to have helped your husband and yourself through this ordeal. Many prayers for you and your family~

Nov 22, 2022 02:51 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

LOL One of our AR members met up with me in FL at an ActiveRain Camp and brought me a Superman/woman cowboy style hat! I need to post about that - I still have that thing!

I so appreciate your kind words, Cathy Criado and truly thank you for your prayers. They helped us through this!

I hope you and yours are having a delightful Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:45 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debe, my heart broke reading this post until you got to the good news... so glad you managed to have Ray get through this hurdle.... Told Diane we are praying for good mending... Ironically my mother passed on the 19th many years ago and it put a damper on our Thanksgiving... so glad you got good news, Endre

Nov 22, 2022 09:15 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, that really does put a damper on holidays when you lose someone so close to you, so near the holiday, Endre Barath, Jr. Believe it or not, Ray and I had this conversation - I told him I was so afraid I was going to lose him and would have been made at him if he died on me at a holiday!

Of course, I was joking but, then we started ranking the holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. as to which one(s) we would be forbidden to die if we left the other one! Hey, you have to have levity in life, right?!!

I hope you and Diane are having a lovely Thanksgiving (Friendsgiving) today. Hugs to you both!

Nov 24, 2022 02:49 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

What an ordeal you two are going through. Praying things are much better. May you feel the Lord's hand upon you during this time. Blessings.

Nov 23, 2022 06:19 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, Dr. Paula McDonald, we have felt it and are so very grateful for our prayer warriors. Thankfully I notified the right people because my prayers were answered!

I hope you are having a lovely Thanksgiving and that you & yours are filled with blessings today and every day.

Nov 24, 2022 02:51 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

How terrifying...I'm so happy to hear it had a good ending and that he got the care he needed. OMG to think how many wives have not gotten their husband to agree to go and suffered the consequences. You certainly have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2022 08:53 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You are so right, Sharon Tara! I hadn't thought of that but, I sure have been UBER thankful that I was able to negotiate that trip to the ER. I'll never let him talk me out of that in the future - NEVER!

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:52 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Wow, such a close call that ended well. You and your family will have much to celebrate tomorrow!

Nov 23, 2022 10:14 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Hi Margaret Goss! So good to see you! 

Yes, a close call indeed! We have spoken about our gratitude for the outcome all day today. We are truly blessed!  

May you and yours have a perfectly wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 2022 02:53 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I'm so thankful you were finally able to convince Ray he needed to go to the hospital. I understand "up to a point" that we think all we need is bedrest but thankfully you knew something more serious was wrong and got him the help he desperately needed. I just sit here and shake my head when I think of how stubborn some people can be. I'm thankful for the doctors and nurses who listened and found the answers you needed.

Nov 24, 2022 09:25 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thank you, Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty and YES, it's puzzling that people can be so stubborn - especially when their lives are at stake! Ray has always been a 'negotiation' for me when it comes to needing medical attention. Every time he promises me he won't fight me next time but, something in his brain doesn't remember he ever said that! LOL

I'm very thankful for them all - they were all amazing and truly catered to me, which was unexpected but, boy, did I need it this time!  

Nov 26, 2022 10:39 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Debe, finally made it to read your Post.  I knew Ray was in serious trouble, but didn't know all of the details.  Thank GOD he listened and agreed to go to the hospital. You were a good advocate for him and were there for him.  Reading all of the comments to make sure to see updates without asking, since you've been asked a gazillion times.  I'm glad you all had a good Thanksgiving!   

3 different trips this month put me seriously behind on reading posts. I'm very glad to have seen yours! 

Nov 25, 2022 07:41 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Aww, thank you so much for stopping by, Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ! I hope you enjoyed your travels and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Yes, I'm so thankful he listened. Now we're still muddling through the sepsis but, I am hopeful the new antibiotics work - and SOON!

See you on Tuesday!

Nov 26, 2022 10:43 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ

🙏🙏 You guys are on the brain.  Hope and pray he is better VERY soon!

Nov 27, 2022 04:26 PM
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Debe Maxwell, CRS so happy and glad for the outcome.  Life disappears in a nano second.  Why many men are so stubborn is beyond my comprehension.  When mine had a stroke he would not go to the hospital for more than 24 hours.  I could see the droop on his entire right side including his mouth.  He now sees folks who can no longer speak or use their limbs without assistance.  He recovered to perhaps react differently in another crisis.

I am certain you will not wait for Ray to give the ok for an ambulance should the need ever arise again.  Speedy recovery wishes to both of you. Yes, you!  Caretakers take the brunt and are stressed out beyond belief.  You are now at your happy place on the lake.   Looking forward to hearing about your planned trips so I know Ray will have the will to get better.  Let me know if you need anything GF😎

Nov 26, 2022 11:07 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hey girlfriend! I'm so thankful for time to heal as it has been a tough 2 weeks - YES, for both of us! You get it and I can say that for the first time, I experienced true exhaustion and finally learned to accept help when people offered. I have no idea how many people now have my keypad code to my house! LOL But, I did realize that if I didn't accept help, I didn't have the capacity to do everything. As you know, that's a RARE thing for me.

Yes, we are both at our happy place now and have watched the sunset a few nights since we've been home. It feels SO good to have him home!

Hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving. I know you have so much to be thankful for as well.

See you on Tuesday!

Eileen Burns 

Nov 26, 2022 10:51 PM