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 Post subject: Letter '1981 nurse staying with Elvis
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:37 pm 
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(Recieved 81, I can not say positively anything about this lady who declined to say who she was only that I "might guess"./ Elvis never mentioned her to me, or anything about a nurse staying with him. However, I think her story could well be as she writes and so I am posting it. ) She was hired by "a friend" whom she calls "Ray" to stay a few days and look after Elvis who was very "down". This is her letter in part. I think that "Ray" might be Dr. Nick as she said she met him working at the hospital (Baptist Memorial).

I met Elvis right after his wife told him she was moving out of the house- and Elvis was playing Vegas and was beside himself with grief, anger and frustration. He didn't want to be with anyone, but his friend asked me to stay near regardless of what Elvis said or did; that Elvis wouldn't hurt me, but he might say things and to ignore his words as he was emotionally upset and wouldn't mean them. Ray said he needs someone like you, older, understanding and with the training to handle psychological disorders brought on by emotional trauma. I spent most of my time with depressed, unhappy people, some of whom were dying, many who were torn apart by other people's actions and this was Elvis' problem. He needed someone with credentials in order to understand how devastated he was emotionally.
I took on the challenge, I was paid to stay near by Elvis but I was not to tell him whose idea it was and apparently, he was never informed as far as I am aware.

Elvis wasn't up; in fact he was sound asleep (he had taken several sleeping pills thus the worries for his safety). I began putting ice-cold cloths on his face, neck and chest; he began coming around slowly. Finally he opened his eyes a little, winced in pain from the bright lights (Ray failed to mention his eyes were light sensitive) and Elvis immediately pulled a pillow over his face moaning, "Turn the F- light off, damn it!. I turned them all off and he moved the pillow asking in a raspy voice, "Who the G-D-hell are you?" That was the beginning of our "relationship" but one that became very tender and trusting through out the rest of his life.
It was rocky at the start, he asked me to leave him alone and I did, though I stayed in the next room to keep an eye on him as he actually staggered going toward the bathroom where he slammed the door and turned the shower on full. After 30 minutes or so he came out, unshaven and looking as if he had been on a wild drunk the night before though I think his eyes were red and bleary from crying over broken dreams. He hardly glanced my way, purposely avoiding my eyes. I asked if he would like something to eat, he shook his head no, then mumbled coffee and some toast. I ordered that and some burnt bacon and scrambled eggs because I knew he liked those. He sipped a little black coffee, had a couple bites of toast, picked up the paper I had been reading and ignored me. Finally, he laid down the paper and without looking at me asked, what I was doing there and what did I want from him?
I explained briefly that I was there to keep an eye on him, as he wasn't feeling well and a good friend of his had hired me to look after you for a few days. He gruffly told me to "get lost" and headed back to his room, closing the door and locking it. I had a key.

After a while the door opened and he came out dressed, shaven and looking like Elvis should, he thought. I didn't laugh because I knew he liked to surprise people with his choice of clothing. The funny thing about that is, he looked great in whatever he chose. This time he wore a light blue jacket with a very high colar that was trimmed with black cord running down the lapel and on the pockets. A loudly patterned shirt, his award belt with a Karate inspired belt above that complete with gold chains and a mulitude of rings, bracelets and of course the gold eye glasses with a rosy tint. Oh yes, white pants and white boots trimmed with silver bars on the heels and a cane with a big golden head finished the picture. He mumbled that he was going out and went out the door into the hallway where several guys were hanging out. They all left.
Elvis was better when he returned though he still avoided looking my way. I didn't bother him; he stayed in his room with the tv on and the door open, ignoring me. I don't know when or where he got it, but when I went downstairs for a few minutes and returned, I found a white rose on my pillow-the maid didn't leave it there. He said nothing, neither did I but I made sure he saw that I put it in water and set it beside my bed. It was his way of saying he didn't mean to be so grouchy and I gladly accepted.

He did the shows that night, came in late and went to bed without saying anything. His door was shut but he didn't lock it and after I thought he was sleeping I opened it just slightly to be able to hear if he needed help-I was told he had nightmares when upset. He wasn't asleep; he said, "Come in." I did, he gestured for me to sit beside him on the bed but he didn't look at me. I asked him how the show went, he said "Fine." I asked if he would like something to eat, he said no and then reached for my hand and said very quietly with a slight stammer here and there, "Thank you for staying with me-could you, I mean would you mind sleeping beside me-not with me-" he added with a quick glance at me and then away again. I said I would be happy to sleep beside him ( I had been warned of this habit) and said I would be right back, just wanted to get the comforter off my bed. And my bathrobe-his room was cold as any freezer! I think he requested a special airconditioner system for his rooms; something like a meat locker might have.
We settled in, he with his back to me for a while, then he turned over and started talking and talking, and talking-
It poured out of him and I listened. he ended up crying in my arms, reminding me of my youngest son when he was deeply wounded by a dear friend who let him down.
My instructor at college told me never to become involved personally with any patient's problems; to keep things abstract and separate but it was not easy to do with Elvis. He was hurt, full of guilt and shame for having "lost" his wife's affections and blamed it on being "Elvis Presley", for loving that more than he loved his wife, for ignoring her needs for his own wants. I let him pour it out, until there was nothing left in him to say; it was the only way he could get himself back together, to be able to look at things clearly.
Finally he slept quietly; I'd cover his shoulders and back and he'd thow it off in his sleep. As cold as that room was he wasnt' cold-in fact he often felt hot! I on the other hand was freezing wrapped up in my robe, pajamas, heavy socks and a comforter.

I was awake before him; dressed and reading the paper when he came out looking better though slightly embarrassed but able to handle it. He smiled slightly, and he certainly was handsome-that smile lit him up inside out. He ate breakfast, burnt bacon, a few bites of scrambled eggs and some toast.


Last edited by Wanda June Hill on Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:05 am, edited 3 times in total.


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 Post subject: Continued "nurse"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:53 pm 
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(Sorry, had to do this in two's power went off here)

He didn't eat alot of anything, but it stayed down-word had been that he was losing everything, including gator ade and water. He had his coffee and seemed a bit upset that I had "read his newspaper" before he did. I didn't do that again. He didn't talk much until he had coffee, then we discussed things from the paper-he had an astute opinion of events and happenings; I was surprised he knew so much about political goings on and a few other things as well.
As the next few days went along, he laughed a little, we spoke of his child and he showed me pictures of her and said he'd be seeing her that weekend, he hoped as he wanted a chance to tell her she would see him all the time even if mommy weren't going to come with her. He almost choked up but got over it quickly as several members of his group came in to see him.

I saw him differently after watching and listening to the talk and laughter going on with his friends and group members, his employee friends. This Elvis was strong, friendly but also "cool and collected". Had I not spent that night "sleeping with him" I would never have connected that man with this one!

And that's my story, there is more but this is most precious though there were other times, other special moments, the beginning is dearest. You may or may not know who I am, that is fine as I am not going to say. Just know that I read your book and enjoyed it; we both knew the same "little boy" inside that man.
--- she ended with, "May your book reach many hungry hearts." wjh



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:16 pm 
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Wanda!..what a sad but delicate journey you send me to ..I was there for a while, just watching him hurt :cry: and thinking what I would have done if I was that lady to help and communicate him.. :(



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 Post subject: Journey-
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:33 pm 
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If she is whom I suspect she might be, it was a long journey right up until near the end. I'm glad he had people such as her and some others too, who were there for him...he didn't have to carry it all alone when there was someone who would listen and with whom he didn't have to be "strong, friendly and cool and collected" all of the time. wjh



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:42 pm 
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I'm happy for each of the moments he found someone to talk to or felt at ease being with..
one more thing..I feel better in cold too but if his rooms kept that cold ,how come he could avoid of catching of flu or other respiratory dieseases..? :shock:



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 Post subject: cold rooms
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:55 pm 
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He had flus and other lung congestion but did quite well with the cold rooms-he said it was better for his vocal cords-and too, he had a higher than most body temp. plus he was nervous and didn't like to sweat in bed trying to sleep... He didn't catch flu excpet when he worked and was kissing so many different people-that is where he got infected. Believe it or not, though it didn't seem that way all that often, he had stopped kissing so many women at shows-some on tour because the stages were high or too low and it was dangerous-and other times because he was sick, didn't want to pass it on or pick up anything if he was well. And too, he had an on going tendnecy to have "trench mouth" he called it but it was actually a yeast infection that people are prone to gettting when they have liver/kidney problems-and too, his immune system was way down.
Kathy Westmoreland tells in her book and in said in interviews that it was "ridiculus" when it was told that he downed two or three big banana splits and big dishes of icecream-she said his throat and mouth would be burning from the infection and he would eat a bite or two just to cool it some-he could only drink so much water etc: and he sucked on ice slivers to...cold water hurt his teeth he had quite a few fillings and caps by then and at those times, when his throat would be burning he would try anything to cool it even for a minute. The fact of the matter is he had lousy medical care-extremely lousy and I can't buy it that it was "his fault" for not saying something-I think he did and maybe so often, they thought he was "faking" being sick, in pain, etc: when after all, he still managed to pull it together and go out and do those shows-how COULD he be SICK and do that???? I know he kept things to himself, but good grief, couldn't they look at him and tell anything? Or did the "shining glow" blind them 24-7. Charlie knew he wasn't well, so did a few others-but they weren't the ones anyone listened to. obviously. I will be interested to see if Jerry S.'s book makes any mention of these things. wjh


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:05 pm 
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Whoever this "Ray" was (maybe Dr. Nick as you say Wanda) cared enough about Elvis to know that he needed plenty of tender loving care, so I sure am grateful that someone was looking out for him. And that someone paid out of out his own pocket I gather.
It makes me happy to know this therapist was able to give Elvis some emotional support during this difficult time in his life, heartbreaking as it is to read about the suffering he went thru'.

Sometimes I wonder if Dr. Nick has been unjustly accused, tho' at the same time I've also questioned his medical care re Elvis. I have mixed feelings about him I guess. I think he lost his license over supposedly giving Elvis too many prescription drugs.
But if those who took away his license did not know just how sick Elvis was, then Dr. Nick might come across as having given Elvis too many drugs. I don't know.
I'm not an expert on the affairs of Dr. Nick. Have heard good & bad about him with regard to Elvis. But if he was the one who hired the therapist, then cheers to him for caring.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:31 pm 
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actually I hate to sweat too :roll: even my face gets red and wet immediately when it's only warm for others. :oops: :lol: But at the same time, I catch cold easily,maybe it's because I have a chronic tonsillitis problem and everytime I get that strep throat,I think of Elvis and how amazing he could sing and entertained everyone even when he had such problems, cause it really feels bad even upsetting so that it makes you think of cutting off your own throath :evil: to get rid of that burning feeling, :roll: but water really helps,actually it's the best medicine ever..



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 Post subject: the nurse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:58 pm 
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Hi, I just read the interview with Marion Cocke the nurse who was Elvis friend and met him in the hopsital 75 she says so the one in the letter above is NOT her-perhaps she is the one who was "hired" to stay and dole out his medications? I have no idea now. I thought pretty sure it was the lady who wrote I Called Him Babe which was a good book. On Elvis200l.net you can read her interview and Myrna Smith's and also purchase Marion's book if you would like. Joe was good to do that for her. He's a nice guy, and after he reads WR,E I agreed to do an interview with him. There there are 3 other interviews-one radio one from Eugene, Or. (I did one there before) and two from the Southern states...that will be by phone...or computer-however they do that now. Anyway I won't do any until they read the book-that's my rule. wjh



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 Post subject: Dr Nick
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:09 pm 
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My opinion of Dr. Nick (I never met him but did see him with Elvis upstairs and elsewhere around Vegas) is that he may have been a good medical practicioner to some degree-but he wasn't a specialist at anything-and Elvis needed several of those. I don't think he fully knew how Elvis felt-or what to give him. Elvis was hard to decipher when it came to really seeing HIM, and not the image. I don't know if Elvis ever allowed or LET Dr. Nick know the real guy??? He trusted him to take care of him, I know that but at the end he wasn't sure about the care he got and was aware that things were beyond the scope of Dr. Nick-or the other quackers who treated him-like hotel doctors, etc: people running for the $$$$ they could make off a big celebrity. And I think they might have given him "drugs" to make him feel so much better that he thought, wow, they know their stuff-then he'd feel like crap when it wore off after a few hours... but he'd be gone by then...to the next town. Elvis pretended to be fine...after all, he WAS the man...he supported them all.
Anyway, Dr. Nick prescribed all that medication in Elvis' name because that's what Elvis told him to do but the medications were used by the entire troup-and their families. Elvis was their insurance policy on tours...he picked up the bills for whatever they needed and that included medical care...It would appear on paper that Dr. Nick had over prescribed drugs, had misused his license to practice in writing so many prescriptions-but the name Elvis Presley WAS the business...he was like a company...that picked up the tabs for it's employees. It just didn't come off that way on paper...and Dr. Nick was punished for not recognizing that and doing it more precisely and separate-who knows, maybe Vernon was the one who had it done that way? That crap about Elvis getting drugs from other doctors to "just get high" or "down" is just that-my question remains, "How did anyone get up to give Elvis ANY thing in those last 5 years without going through the "boys" first?" Tell me how that happened and I might think about believing it someday. It sure was impossible to see Elvis UNLESS they got something out of it also-or unless they WANTED the drugs themselves...more likely the latter and the former. wjh



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