Love and Death on the Third Floor
On The Cystic Fibrosis Wing Of Dallas’ Presbyterian Hospital, an Unlikely Romance Bloomed Between Two Sick Patients. The Outcome Was Inevitable
She was the princess who wore Tiffany perfume. He was the middle-class guy who raced cars. But when they met on the cystic fibrosis wing of a Dallas hospital, romance bloomed.
They first laid eyes on one another in the spring of 1986, when they were both admitted to the cystic fibrosis wing of Dallas’ Presbyterian Hospital. Kimberley Marshall was then sixteen, thin and winter-pale and beautiful, her red hair falling down the back of her pink nightgown patterned with little white hearts. David Crenshaw was eighteen; he wore his usual hand-me-down T-shirt and faded gray pajama pants and oversized glasses that turned dark in the sunlight. David would stand at one end of the hospital hallway, hoping Kim would come out of her room at the other end.
“No way,” the wing’s respiratory therapist, Doug Kellum, would say. “No way she’s going to look twice at you.”
Kim was known among the nurses as the princess. She came from a polished North Dallas family. She loved Tiffany perfume, Lancôme makeup, and clothes from Neiman Marcus. She would sit for hours in her hospital bed, reading romance novels. David, on the other hand, was famous for his bad grammar and coarse jokes. When a female nurse walked past his room, he would lean forward in his bed and shout, “Shake it, baby, don’t break it.” On Saturday nights when he wasn’t in the hospital, he raced midget cars at a local dirt track. “Can you name just one other race car driver in this country with cystic fibrosis?” he proudly asked Kellum. “Let me tell you, there ain’t one.”
“She still isn’t going to talk to you,” Kellum replied.