Craig Harrison drove Mary Alston to physical therapy Wednesday and helped her walk into the building. Not long ago, the roles were reversed, and it was Alston who was taking care of Harrison in the intensive care unit at Doctors Hospital.
Harrison is known around the hospital as the “french fry guy” after a freak accident last September when he tore his esophagus trying to cough up a french fry lodged in his throat. He ended up spending 96 days at Doctors, much of it in the ICU, where Alston and fellow ICU nurse Linda Gordon tended to him.
Even if he wasn’t her patient that day, Alston “would be in my room checking on me,” Harrison said. Eventually he was able to recover and head home with fond thoughts of his care from the doctors and nurses.
“You all are my heart,” Harrison said.
On Dec. 16, as Alston was headed to Atlanta to visit her grandchildren, she blew a tire and was hit by an 18-wheel truck and knocked off the road. Rescuers had to cut the roof off her SUV to get her out and then airlift her to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Alston had so many fractures and broken bones that she sometimes forgets one or two when she lists her injuries.
“She had so many broken bones, each doctor didn’t know where to start,” Gordon said.
Harrison said he got a call from his wife, Carrie, about the accident and went to see Alston the next day. He and Doctors employees such as Gordon have been trying to take care of her needs ever since, making sure she gets to appointments or has a meal and “making sure I have extra stuff,” Alston said.
Harrison “felt he needed to give something back,” Gordon said.
“I just try my best to get her what she needs,” Harrison said, “because that’s what she did for me.”