Posted by Bruce Miller
Essie Simms, a dear friend to many of us, is in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital. She is recovering from what may have been a fall related to her diabetes. It does not appear that she has had a stroke. She has been “stabilized,” but remains in serious condition.
That’s all that I can tell you about her condition and prognosis. That’s all anyone would tell us.
Essie has to be Richmond’s most steadfast theatre supporter. She goes to see EVERYTHING. And I do mean EVERYTHING. And if she likes the show, she goes twice, or many times more than twice. And she always buys a ticket.
Essie has seen every Barksdale production since our very first show--Gold in the Hills in 1954.
I learned from a contact at Westminster-Canterbury early yesterday evening that Essie had been taken via ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital. She was found unconscious on the floor of her room after neighbors reported that she hadn't picked up her Saturday or Sunday papers.
Phil and I visited Essie this morning in the ICU, only to find her unresponsive and semi-conscious. The good news is this: when I returned to visit Essie this afternoon, she was speaking a few words, although she still couldn’t open her eyes. She called me by name.
Julie Fulcher, who has been like a daughter to Essie for years, has been with her most of the day today. Audra Honaker also stopped by this afternoon for a visit. When I asked Essie if she’d like me to come back and visit again tomorrow, she said “Yes, please.”
The ICU discourages visitors, so I’m not meaning to encourage them. Visitation is limited to family only. But the truth is, we are Essie’s family—her only family. And we certainly don’t want her to be alone during this recovery.
If you are very close to Essie, and I know many of you are, please comment to this post and we’ll put you on a list of folks who are willing to visit Essie to make sure she has an appropriate amount of company during her recovery. Julie mentioned that she’d like to put together such a list, and I offered to help.
In the meantime, please keep Essie in your thoughts and prayers. She's a tough cookie, and I don't think she's through with us yet. Thanks.