Salisbury restaurateur returns after 2-month hospital stay

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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Editor’s Note: The following story is about Scott Teeter, who is the son of Nicky and Brinda Teeter of Stanfield and nephew of county commission chairman Bill Lawhon and his wife, Gail.

By Chandler Inions, Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Scott Teeter, of Sweet Meadow Cafe, was admitted to the hospital with a strange illness late last year. Upon admittance, the road to recovery was foggy at best, but 54 days later, he was finally released from full-time care.

The Post sat down with Scott on Friday over a pot of coffee at the Sweet Meadow to find out what his journey was like after pneumonia turned into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and, ultimately, respiratory failure.

Scott spent 30 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Remarkably, he has no memory of that time.

“I don’t remember anything from going to the hospital on Sunday until I was being transported to (a long-term care facility in) Greensboro,” Scott said. “Everything that happened in ICU I learned from (Ashley Farmer).”

Farmer documented Scott’s progress daily on her Facebook page. Those posts provided Scott with some insight into his grueling stint at the ICU.

“It’s kind of weird; I was trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I almost died,” Scott said. “Going back and reading the post that Ashley made when I was in trouble, I was reading those right before I got out of (Elizabeth C. Stanback Rehab Unit) in my spare time.”

Scott spent 15 days in Greensboro before being transferred back to Salisbury. Then, he spent nine days at Stanbeck before being released from care.

By the time it was over, Scott had lost more than 50 pounds, but he gained much in newfound perspectives.

“(I have a) deeper appreciation for being alive,” Scott said. “It opened my eyes for how strong that Heather (wife) was and what she went through.”

Throughout Scott’s stay, Heather was a fixture by his side. Despite the hardship, Heather said that her overall experience shone a positive light on her support systems.

“Someone asked me the other day if I wished I could have forgotten it, and I said, ‘No,’ ” Heather said. “Even though it was a traumatic experience from my end, it was also an incredibly uplifting supportive community oriented amazing gift from the planet.”

In addition to community revelations, Heather also learned a bit about herself.

“If somebody said, ‘Hey, this is going to happen, and you are going to handle it,’ I would have said, ‘Yeah right,’ but while it was happening, there was never any question,” Heather said. “It was just OK, what do we need to do next? How can we handle this? It was a constant go of the next step and I did not really stop to think about how traumatic everything had been.”

Now that Scott is out, he is slowly easing back into things. His stamina took a big hit while staying in the various care facilities.

“I’m still really weak,” Scott said. “I can walk without a cane now. I can make a pot of coffee, (but) I’m winded after a flight of stairs.

“I went to the grocery store, and when we got done, I was wiped out.”

Upon his release, he told Heather that he wanted to go by the cafe. The ensuing exchange left many eyes watery.

One of the restaurant’s workers, Tim Watson, said in a Facebook post, “Scott Teeter literally walked through the door of Sweet Meadow today, and I openly wept while taking a table’s order. Love you bud, genuinely. I’m so glad you’re good it’s ridiculous.”
During that visit, he had his first meal at Sweet Meadow in two months.

“I got a cowboy chicken sandwich and a bowl of potato leek soup,” he said.

While his return was celebrated, so too was his release. Heather and Farmer shared how the staff at Stanbeck held a going-away party in Scott’s honor. A video clip of that moment can be viewed on Farmer’s Facebook page.

Scott acknowledged that it would be a long road to full recovery but that with those systems in place around him, he’s confident he’d go the distance.

“The support from the community has been overwhelming,” Scott said. “I could not ask for more.”