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In sickness and in health; Hospital hosts wedding after bride falls ill on wedding day

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, November 10, 2018
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I Do

I D0 – U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Andrew and Christina Crowhurst exchange vows during their impromptu wedding at the Wise Health System’s chapel Monday. Crowhurst was hospitalized on her wedding day and missed her wedding. The two got married two days later at the hospital. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Instead of wedding bells, the dings and beeps from the Critical Care Unit filled the hall Monday night as an impromptu team of nurses and staff at Wise Health fashioned themselves into bridesmaids.

An audible had been called and the groom, dressed in his U.S. Navy uniform stood patiently outside the hallway, waiting for the bride. An all too familiar feeling after the last 48 hours.

“We’re trying to figure out telemetry and dress,” registered nurse Jessica Hoffman announced, before bursting back into the hospital room where a full-on operation was underway.

Hair, makeup and Christina Crowhurst’s health were all top priorities.

They managed all three. And at 6:30 p.m. Crowhurst was wheeled down the aisle by a convoy of Wise Health staff to the tune of Megan Adams, a nurse at Wise Health System in Decatur, singing “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. It was a beautiful moment, one that no one could have planned.

On the day of her rehearsal, after a year of planning her dream wedding to Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Andrew, Crowhurst fell ill.

All Hands on Deck

ALL HANDS ON DECK – U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Andrew and Christina Crowhurst exchanged vows during at an impromptu wedding at the Wise Health System chapel Monday. The Wise Health staff helped put on the wedding with just hours of notice. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

She went to a nearby clinic and planned on toughing it out. She didn’t think it was anything serious. They thought it was just a cold.

But the next morning, with her family waiting in the wings, fresh off long flights from California, things got complicated.

“We thought we had everything covered up,” Crowhurst said. “But on the day of my wedding, I woke up and went to go shower and fell and hit my head really hard against the tub.”

The nightmare had begun. Crowhurst was rushed to the emergency room at Wise Health System.

The staff didn’t feel it was safe for her to be discharged due to her fever. On the day of her wedding, she was admitted into the Critical Care Unit.

“The ER told me there’s a lot going on with me, and they admitted me,” she said. “I was hysterical, bawling.

“My wedding came and passed.”

Marriage HQ

MARRIAGE HQ IN THE CCU – Family members and nurse Jessica Hoffman work hand in hand to prepare Christina Crowhurst for her impromptu wedding at the Wise Health System’s Critical Care Unit in Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Andrew experienced the wedding Crowhurst had planned for a year alone at the wedding chapel that Saturday night.

“Saturday was rough,” he said. “Everything went downhill. We were just hoping she would get out.”

He cut the cake that night, but he couldn’t manage much celebration.

After the wedding came and passed, with caterers and bands being sent home, and family members heading back to their return flights to California, Andrew faced a tough reality.

His bride was still hooked up to the EKG in the Critical Care Unit. Another wedding would be months away with his leave from the Navy coming up in four days. He was due back at base in Florida that Thursday.

But Dani Manetta, the CCU social worker on the third floor at Wise Health, who’s currently in the Marine Corps, thought she could do something for the fellow service member.

With just hours of notice, a hospital wedding was planned.

“I just wanted to do something,” Manetta said. “I gave them the option that you can always get married another time, I don’t want to step on your toes, but whatever you want us to do we can do.”

“A lot of days on CCU, we don’t get to have very happy conversations,” she added. “Any day when we’re able to do something to serve our patients and our service members is the best day ever for us.”

The Wise Health staff came together. A mass email was sent and the word of mouth spread across the hospital. They found a wedding singer in Megan Adams, a registered nurse who was recently signed to a record deal.

Tiffany Patino, who had spent 10 years as a hair stylist before joining the nurse staff, swooped in to style Crowhurst’s hair. Another nurse found spray glitter in their car. They found a minister, Karen Green, who attends Andrew’s church. It was all hands on deck.

“I was trying to come up with plan B’s. Then this morning they told me about Dani and her idea,” Andrew said. “Anything to get married to her.”

After 48 hours of trauma, the couple and the staff at Wise Health wrote a storybook ending to what once was a sad story, as Crowhurst and Andrew exchanged vows at the Ray Hawkins Memorial Chapel on the third floor, just outside the CCU.

“I just kept saying, with everything that was happening, by the end of the day I want to be married,” Crowhurst said. “I’m just happy, beyond happy. It all just came together. I could never imagine I would have a wedding like this here. I just thought we were going to get married on my gurney. It didn’t feel like a hospital wedding to me.”

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