Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 22--May 1, 2009

Priority one to mention today is a huge thank you to the other school nurses from the Harnett County School system. Beth made the journey today to visit some of her coworkers after a meeting they had in Cary. She came back a renewed person. She has had a bounce in her step and a glisten in her eye ever since. I wish I had taken count of the number of times this evening that I have heard her say how much she appreciated seeing “her nurses” today.This reprieve from the monotony of a hospital brought a ray of sunshine back into her life, if only briefly. Beth has been her “old” self tonight, laughing and joking. It did my heart good to see my wife again. For that, I thank you unsung heroines of the school system. Thank you.Also, “Katie’s Story” has drawn untold numbers of people together. I have made new friends in places that I never would have expected. It is amazing how the bond of compassion can draw would-be strangers together with a unified concern. Just today, as I walked into the County Office in order to add Katie to my insurance, I was pleased to find that many of the fine people who work there have been following Katie’s progress. It was mildly amusing though to be introduced as Andy Cole only to have a curious look and the slightly tilted head shortly followed by “You know, Katie’s dad!” and the resulting ohhhhh! I have worked for the Harnett County School system for eleven years and this was my first visit to this building, yet I was treated like an old friend, thank you ladies and gentlemen for your kind words of encouragement.As I have begun returning home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have been able to check the mail. I can’t begin to convey to you the numbers of letters, cards, and packages that we have received. Each one sealed with love. These letters and cards have become a favorite pastime right along with reading your e-mails to Beth and I. We never really knew how many people we knew, or the caring of so many strangers.Proverbs 18:24 tells us: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” We have felt the “friendly love” shown to our family by each of you, and also the love of the Friend that Sticketh Closer than a brother. You see we ARE the body of Christ. No other time in my life have I felt the awesome power of His love so marvelously displayed on so many fronts. Today Beth and Joan were able to spend a considerable amount of time with baby Katie. Beth has also been encouraged by the fact that Katie has made several small attempts to suckle from a bottle. The most she has eaten in this fashion has been about 10cc’s, most of the time it is only 4 or 5cc’s. When she is eating 68cc’s this amount is almost insignificant in volume, however the step toward recovery and a trip home is huge in our estimation.Beth was also pleased to report that Katie has not received any medication to assist her withdrawal symptoms in nearly two days. We think that she is mostly through this very difficult time of detoxification.Tonight when I finally got back to the TCN, I could hear the sweet sounds of her cries as the doors opened. I knew that pure soft voice had to be from my darling girl. The TCN nurses were quite impressed that dad had learned to pick his baby's disgruntled complaints out of the chorus of crying babes. As I hurriedly went through the obligatory scrub and rinse, scrub and rinse, attempting to dry my forearms and hands with the most pitiful paper towels in creation, and then the donning of that glorious own, I enjoyed the tune my girl was serenading.To many the muffled cry of a baby may be an irritant, but after what we have been through, it was a glorious sound to me. As I studied her vital signs monitor, I was glad to see that her blood oxygen saturation level never dropped below 96, even with her whaling. Once I had “degermified” myself to the satisfaction of the nurses there, Beth and I made our way the Katie’s Crib side. This spunky little girl had once again decided to remove her naso-gastric tube. It was clutched tightly in her right hand and gently wound around two or three fingers. Her nurse seemed to not be terribly concerned as Katie has done this several time. The nurse said she would put another one in within a few minutes. It was then that Beth and I realized that we were looking at our child for the first time in 22 days without some foreign piece of plastic invading an orifice on her face. We quickly seized the opportunity to remove the tape from her cheek and snap a few photographs of Katie all natural. She was not real happy with us, and the photograph proves it, but if only briefly we were able to soak in the radiance of Katie’s innocent beauty unhindered by medical hardware. In short order the Nurse reinserted another offending tube, and securely taped in down again. She had her periodic assessment, diaper change, and a new set of clothes. From then on Beth and I took turns holding Katie, in a room full of light, sound, and movement. However, as we caressed her tiny head, and lovingly inspected each digit of her little hands no longer drawn in pain, it was easy to forget where we were, and just enjoy the fleeting moments with our daughter.

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