Wearing a party hat and a smile, a young man celebrated his 18th birthday in his hospital room at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Jabari has spent the last 100 days as a patient after being seriously injured in a terrible car crash. The staff wanted him to feel special on his birthday.
“Everybody came together to do all this. It wasn’t one person. It was the Regional family. We got him clothing so he could dress up for the event instead of a hospital gown. We contributed money for gifts so he could buy video games,” said Melissa Harte, vice president of trauma services.
The hospital staff decorated his room and posted inspirational signs on the walls. Jabari was not only surprised, but touched by the effort. “I was shocked because I didn’t know any of this was going to happen. It made me feel happy and stuff because no one wants to spend it in the hospital. It makes you feel cared for,” said Jabari.
Jabari was in a car accident earlier in the year and fractured his femur and his pelvis. His case was complex because of his weight being over 500 pounds at the time.
“He would not fit into the CT scanner because of his size so he had to be managed by regular imaging,” said Melissa.
Jabari underwent surgery for his injuries and worked with physical therapists to regain his strength. It has been tough for him because even the smallest tasks like sitting up have been challenging such as taking a shower. He’s grown close to his care team at Regional. Melissa remembers a pep talk she have Jabari when he was feeling frustrated one day.
I told him “You’ve lost over 100 pounds here. That’s amazing work, alright what can we do, what can we commit to? You and I…anytime you need me, you call me you just ask for Melissa from trauma and I’ll come see you, but I need you to work on it too. He said, I will and he got teary and said can I have a hug?”
Melissa said it was moments like those that reminded her that even though Jabari is officially an adult now, he is still a teenager and needs extra caring and guidance.
The team of physical therapists at Regional have become a second family to Jabari helping him in his recovery. “I love my physical therapists. They make my days better especially when I’m having bad days. They come and see me and even when I like I don’t want to get up or anything or stretch or do physical therapy and they tell me I need to do it gets me wanting to do it,” said Jabari.
That’s hard for a 17 year old who would normally be in school. That is why Regional worked to make his 18th birthday special. “Regional as always, comes together like a family. It’s something else, you feel it in the hall…the camaraderie and the jointness, the sensitivity around everybody coming together made it special,” said Harte.
A special milestone for someone who has touched many at Regional Medical Center.