Monday, February 15, 2010

Sometimes they are more like FAMILY

Earl, we love this man, what more can I say! Let me tell you how Earl came into our lives. When Owen was still in the NICU, we would come into the unit wash up and then round the corner to look at the wall chart with nurse assignments hoping to see a familiar name. One day, not too long after Owen had been there, we looked at the chart and saw Owen with a nurse named Earl. 'Earl' we thought! Yes, the Dixie Chicks song came right into our minds. We walked down the hall wondering what we were going to walk into. Little did we know, (this is why you don't judge others), we were going to meet one of the most loving and caring nurses there. Sorry we ever doubted you Earl! If I remember right we walked in to see Earl holding Owen up on his shoulder with the most gentle hands. By the end of the shift Earl asked if he could sign up to be a primary nurse for Owen. He said "When I was holding him, he looked into my eyes and I fell in love with him." We gladly accepted his request and fell in love with Earl ourselves. In fact, when both Lenn and I were home with Bentley and Abby I would call to see how Owen was doing each day. It never failed when I got off the phone I was hit with the question of who is Owen's nurse today? We were all relieved when it was Earl or one of the other favorites.

Last month Earl was going to visit his Dad and he asked if he could come visit. Of course he can visit! Earl made a huge detour to come and visit. We were all glad to see him, even Owen. Owen hasn't seen Earl since July of 2008. At that time he was 6 months old. When Earl came in and said hello, I could tell that Owen knew exactly who he was. Owen has a way with his eyes and he didn't give him the 'who are you and what are you going to do to me' look. He gave him the look of 'wow, it's been awhile, where have you been?' look. Thanks Earl, it was great to see you and thanks for surprising us with your love and knowledge of nursing.

I did try to get both of them to smile but no luck!

Last week we took Owen to some routine appointments at Primary's. They all went well and all the docs said he looks great and keep it up. While we were there we saw two people that have come to mean A LOT to our family. I realized we didn't have one picture of either one of them so I was on a mission . I don't know if Toni was too excited about a picture, but thanks anyway. (Hopefully she isn't hiding from the law or anything!) We had to convince her that we didn't just want the back of her head we wanted to see the face that we will always remember. She did get some smiles out of Owen but I am telling you the camera can not catch them very well.

Thanks, Toni for all you have done and continue to do for us along this journey.

Next is Chris, to put it modestly, we wouldn't be able to keep Owen home without her. She is more than willing to help us with whatever we need help with over phone and email. I am sure that is not protocol but she does it because she knows how badly we want to stay home. We can not thank her enough for what she has done and the stress I am sure she goes through when handling crazy situations with us over the phone. Thanks Chris.

When I asked her for a picture she jumped right over Owen's tubes and gave him a big kiss on the forehead, then turned and gave us a big smile!!

These are only a few of the people that have become our 'NICU family', they are just the most recent pictures. We have been blessed to have met so many good people through our journey with Owen. I am not sure what our lives would be like without them. The nurses, doctors (some anyway), social workers, RT's, other parents and the palliative care team have become more like family. We will always have a special place in our hearts for all of them.