Davis reflects on birth of son at Edge Memorial Hospital

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2019

Christopher Max Davis was born at Edge Memorial Hospital on September 29, 1969.

Seventeen days later, Max Davis took his wife and baby boy home.

Arlene Davis had a difficult delivery so baby Chris stayed in the nursery until she was ready to go home.

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“I had what was called a floating kidney and it caused poison to build up,” Arlene said. “When I got ready to deliver, I lost my memory. I don’t even remember going to the hospital and I don’t remember having Chris. Dr. J.O. Colley delivered him and, during the delivery, I had a seizure and another one when I got back in my room. I was unconscious for a week and in the hospital for 17 days. During that time, my kidneys were not functioning.”

Davis said a doctor from Montgomery came to assist Dr. Colley and, working together, they got her kidneys functioning.

“We didn’t know until later that, back then, a woman who had toxemia usually did not live,” Arlene said. “I was in serious condition but Chris was fine and could go home. Dr. J.O. asked Max if he wanted to take Chris home and Max said, ‘What would I do with him?’

“There was no one to keep Chris at home. Max’s mother was in the hospital, in a room across from me. My mother was trying to work and to look after me in the hospital.”

That’s when Arlene said a loving and caring hospital and community stepped in to help.

“Dr. J.O. said Chris could stay in the nursery until I was ready to go home,” she said. “The nurses loved having him there. They had a good time spoiling Chris rotten. Max’s cousin, Thelma Jones, rocked him when he woke up at night. When I did get home, Chris would wake up in the middle of the night and cry. Max asked ‘What’s wrong with him?’ and I said, ‘He just wants to be rocked.’”

While Arlene was in the hospital for 17 days, her husband was trying to work and spend time with her and take care of things a home.

“Max had just started his job at the co-op (South Alabama Electric) and needed to be at work but I was very sick and he wanted to be there with me,” Arlene said. “But everyone at the co-op was very understanding and supportive. I was on the prayer calendar of a lot of churches. People were so kind and caring. Mary Williams’ parents owned Wilson’s Barbecue and Max would stop by there to get a sandwich.

“Mr. and Mrs. Wilson wouldn’t let him pay. With me in the hospital and us with a baby and Max missing work, they knew we were struggling. We’ll never forget their kindness.”

Arlene said the hospital staff cared for her and little Chris in such a loving and caring way that much of the stress of the situation was relieved.

“Those doctors and nurses, everybody at the hospital, cared for me like I was a member of the family,” Arlene said. “Max could go to work knowing that Chris and I were in the hands of caring people.”

Arlene said much of those 17 days is a blur. She doesn’t remember the pain she experienced only the comforting words and the loving care.

Arlene and Max Davis left the hospital with baby Chris owing a debt but an even greater debt of gratitude.

They don’t remember much about the cost of the stay, except it took “until Chris was in college to pay it off.”

The Troy community continued to be supportive after mom, dad and baby were home.

“We had managed to get a washing machine but we didn’t have a dryer,” Arlene said. “I was well enough to go home but, it took a while before I was able to do very much. A dryer would be a real blessing.

“Max went to Boyd & Porter, here in Troy, that had been Brantley Brothers Hardware. Bill and Pat Boyd told Max to take the dryer home and pay along as he could. That’s what it’s like when you live in a small town that has a heart as big as its hospital.”

Arlene said TRMC is a hospital with a heart that extends outside its reach.

“I don’t care how big a city is, there is not a hospital anywhere the cares for its people in a more professional, more caring and loving way than Troy Regional Medical Center and we find that same caring spirit in our community. It makes me feel good to know that we live in that kind of place.”