Because of their injuries, they have no memory of the first few days at home in the hospital or even the months after the accident, when they were unable to eat, walk, or talk properly, their left leg was totally paralyzed. Even after that time, there is no one close to them, and there are no visits. They are in the hospital every day, but like in their home, and like everyone else, each person at the hospital can only see them when they are alive. Because of this, one of the worst things that can happen to someone at the hospital is when someone they care about dies.
To help give Sosa the comfort and guidance he needs, his friend, Scott, traveled to Florida on December 27. Sosa said that Scott, like many others at the hospital during the time he was there, had the very same dream, and it was to return to the United States, and be with his family. Without a doubt, Scott had the most difficult journey of all the patients. Like the other patients he saw, he had no access to a television set or radio, and there were few reminders of his home country: nothing except the name of his mother, Patricia, and a few letters from his mother. There is no mention of Patricia’s birthplace on either side of the border that Scott would have to travel through.
Sosa was also placed in intensive care on December 28, just a few hours after they delivered his 3-year-old sister. Once the nurses decided to put Sosa on what was called a ventilator, it was the first thing an operating room doctor said to him: “Are you sure it’s a ventilator?” At that point, Sosa was unconscious, but he recovered.
The nurses left him to rot as some of them were waiting to give him intravenous medication, which could have led to severe shock. A pediatrician diagnosed Sosa with traumatic brain injury, and for 3 days he was under hospital lock down until he could be transferred to a hospital in Memphis. In the meantime, Scott remained at the hospital.
After being transferred to San Antonio, Scott’s condition deteriorated and he was slowly dying. Without oxygen, his life was rapidly decreasing. His heart couldn’t pump enough, the ventilator was beating only 4-5 beats per minute, and the patient could only have half of his brain function left. He couldn’t be fully turned around or walk yet, and doctors were afraid that he would never regain his ability to speak. Once again, he was in an inpatient ICU at UTMB.
Once every three months, Sosa’s family would travel to Florida or the TennesseeTexas border. It was there that the two younger girls, then 3-year-olds, would receive him into their lives.
Sosa’s final wish was that people in the hospital be nice to his loved ones. Scott and Sosa never had a particularly nice time when they were there when they were growing up, even though both of them were pretty sweet people. “I can’t tell you how happy we were to be there on Christmas,” says Scott when asked why he wishes the hospital had been more kind to him when he was there, “but, in talking to you now, I know that it’s been something I’ve wanted for as long as he’s been here.”
Since the accident caused no permanent damage to any of the brain’s areas, Sosa is expected to retain all of his memories of his home country and the days surrounding the accident. He is also hoping to reunite with the other children who were at the ICU, and he even has dreams of reuniting with his son, who never made it home. “I’m still excited that he’s here, and I keep thinking about that,” said Sosa. “It’s not just the little things that make you happy,” said Scott. “I still think about my wife, my kids, and how we got here, and how lucky we were. It brings us comfort.”
In Sosa’s words, his goal now is “to say a little thing here or there, or have a person talk to me. I want them to realize that this is my home. I still love this country, I think all the people here are wonderful.”