The wedding featured one doctor singing Ave Maria and another playing violin.
The groom rolled up the aisle in a wheelchair and said “I do” despite a tube in his throat, bringing applause not just from family and friends but doctors, nurses, therapists and other hospital staffers.
“I can’t imagine a better wedding,” said Jessie Cooksey, 19, the bride. “It turned out great.”
They may have trained on Gray’s Anatomy, but the trauma unit at Memorial Hermann-The Texas Medical Center turned to the Book of Love last week for Jessie and Larry “Trey” Cooksey, who were injured in a car accident in Livingston in early January.
Broad-sided by a pickup at an intersection, they had to be cut out of their Geo Prism and airlifted to the Texas Medical Center.
Unborn baby was lost
The accident nearly took the life of Larry, who, in shock when paramedics arrived, required a transfusion of eight pints of blood and a ventilator to enable him to breathe. It did take the life of the baby in Jessie’s womb, 7½ months along.
The accident also caused the cancellation of the couple’s wedding, which had been scheduled for mid-January.
When Dr. Rosemary Kozar, chief of trauma at Memorial Hermann, heard about the cancelled wedding, she suggested they have it at the hospital’s chapel. Jessie, who was discharged as a patient after five days, wasn’t so sure. But she couldn’t refuse someone who liked the idea: Larry.
“I wanted to marry her,” said Larry, 20, when asked why not wait until getting out of the hospital. “I love her.”
Kozar scurried into action. She knew one of the surgery residents, Dr. Sasha Adams, had played violin since she was 4 and performed at the occasional wedding. Adams knew a urology resident, Dr. Jennifer Taylor, who sang. Others, from a social worker to physical therapists, were enlisted in the planning.
Nothing too fancy
“It just took on a life of its own,” Kozar recalled this week. “There wasn’t one person I asked who wasn’t happy to do what I suggested.”
There were challenges, of course. Doctors didn’t initially know if Larry, who suffered internal injuries in the accident, would be well enough to leave his floor.
Just days before last Thursday’s wedding, he progressed to the point where his feeding tube valve could be reduced in size so he could speak.
One reason the crowd erupted in applause was it was the first time many had heard him talk.
The wedding was nothing fancy — “no jazz band, no extravagant flowers, no rice being thrown, just a ceremony to celebrate life and the union of two people in love,” said one doctor in attendance.
The Rev. Paul Boyd, the non-denominational pastor who officiated, said it was hard to keep his composure without choking up, so evident was it that “the couple was in love.”
The big moment came when Jessie, wearing the wedding dress she had picked months before, walked up the aisle.
Larry, dressed in black scrubs with a rose on his lapel, took one look and broke into tears. In response, so did Jessie — and many in the pews.
The couple, who are students, are planning a low-key honeymoon in Galveston sometime after Larry is discharged, which doctors said could be in a couple of weeks. He should recover fully, they said.
“My first thought when the idea was suggested was, ‘Oh Lord, how are we going to do this,” said Jessie, who has been sleeping in a chair in Larry’s room for the last month. “But there’s something nice about having your wedding arranged by the doctor who performed the surgery to save your husband’s life.