Raiders came down from camp to see me regularly, but Jack Tatum was not among
them. He never came at all. Not once. One afternoon Dave Rowe and Mike McCoy, a
couple of Raider defensive linemen, had everyone in the ICU in hysterics. Dave
strolled into my room, all 270 pounds of him. pulled the covers off my legs,
shook his head and said, "Say, have there been some rustlers in
My mother looked
confused. "No, of course not," she said.
Rowe said, "well somebody sure stole Darryl's calves."
They had indeed.
I was down below 160 pounds, about 40 pounds less than my playing weight.
Then one night my
doctor friend, the Devil, came by on his regular rounds and quickly ended all
the merriment. He put the stethoscope on my chest, listened for a few seconds,
then stood back and looked sad. So sad, in fact, that I thought he was ordering
up my casket. I read the worst, the absolute worst, in his face. He turned and
walked out. Within moments, my room was filled with doctors and nurses, all
whispering to one another.
During the past
three days there have been significant problems and complications regarding
Darryl Stingley's lungs. These problems, despite vigorous treatment, persist
and are potentially life threatening. Darryl Stingley's condition is now
considered SERIOUS. His family remains with him constantly....
11:00 A.M., P.D.T., FRI., SEPT. 1, 1978
Dr. Pont told me
that my left lung had collapsed and that I had developed pneumonia. He didn't
tell me that my condition was SERIOUS. As I understood it, now that my lung had
collapsed the doctors were afraid that my other lung would go as well.
The gravity of my
situation struck me when Wayne returned to my bedside. Wayne was always
happy-go-lucky, but now he was acting very strange. As a rule, Wayne couldn't
talk fast enough while telling me about the great times he had been enjoying
over in San Francisco, but now there was a long silence. Then he said softly,
"Brother, I'm going to stay here with you all night tonight. I'm not going
When Wayne put
his head down and rested it on the side of my bed, I said to myself,
"Something's seriously wrong." Just then Tina walked into my room and
took my hand. "I'm not going anywhere the rest of the night," she said,
putting her head on my bed. "I'm staying right here with you." Well,
she had stayed with me on most nights, and she had never told me in advance
that she was staying.
Why was she
telling me now? What was up? Dammit, what was happening?