Friday, March 14, 2008

On Being Patsy

There's one person I rarely mention when I talk about Anthony's journey to transplant, and I'm not really sure why. My mother's cousin, Patsy, is an RN. When we found out we were heading to Omaha, Patsy drove to our house (an hour away) to talk to us, and to offer herself to us. To be honest, it was more like, "You need me. I'm coming." She didn't ask if we needed her, knowing we'd probably tell her no...she just said, "I'll be there."

Mark and I arrived in Omaha with absolutely no clue as to what was going on. It was like we'd been teleported to some foreign place and we had to forge our own path. Patsy arrived a few days after we did, and she was truly a breath of fresh air. Mark left to go home five/six days after we arrived, and I thought I was going to die when he left.

The day Mark left (February 14), Patsy and I were in the hotel room at the hospital, trying to organize (she's great at that) and figure out how best to go about a daily routine. All of a sudden, the fire alarms go off, and a "Code Red" is called. I looked around and said, "If we need to go, we HAVE to grab the lap top!" Patsy looked at me and said, "Um. And Anthony?" DUH. She kept me laughing...and with her awesome humor, kept me sane.

Before she came up, Patsy called, "Do you need anything?" I had just spent a sleepless night with a fussy baby; I didn't want to wake Mark because he had spent the previous night up with I just plopped Anthony in the stroller and we walked, and walked, and walked. So when Patsy asked what I needed, the only thing I could think of was a small coffee pot and Community Coffee. She didn't laugh, didn't ask if there wasn't something more important than that...she just went out and got a coffee pot that percolated straight into a travel mug, and a few bricks of my Dark Roast Community Coffee. I tell you, that first sip was like liquid gold.

Throughout her week in Omaha with me, Patsy made sure I had not only what Anthony needed, but what I needed, too. She found someone to take her to a store so she could buy a proper tub for Anthony. She brought me coffee to Anthony's room every morning. She made me take walks, go to the cafeteria to eat lunch, take pictures, sleep a full night in the hotel, and talk openly about how I felt about what was going on. She listened. She got Anthony to take a few ounces of formula by mouth when all I could do was hold the bottle to his mouth and cry.

If you told Patsy today what a wonderful person she is because of everything she did for us (and believe me, I've told her!), she would probably say, "I did nothing more than was needed." But I've learned something: my family is awesome. When they're needed, they go above and beyond to answer the call. I've seen how wonderfully supportive my family is; and I've learned that we're the exception to the rule...we are NOT the norm. There are so many parents that struggle through the illness of a child without support from anyone. That is so sad.

Because I can't imagine how I would have survived my first week in Omaha if it weren't for Patsy.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Laurie: Patsy sounds like a wonderful person. I can't imagine going through what you did. Someday, I will tell you about our bout with Fred and polio.
Love, Gram

Sarah said...

How great for you to have someone like that in your life Laurie, but you already know that!

Andree MacDonald said...

When you are born of an awesome God, you get an awesome family. Yes, Patsy is a treasure to us all, thank you for reminding her of how much we love her and need her. Love you- Andree
cya on Easter!

Amanda said...

I am pretty sure Pasty was there the first night I took care of Anthony. I think we talked for quite a while :o) Tell her hello for me!

Patsy said...

Laurie, thank you for the kind remarkable words......but I only do and say what I have been given the ability to. I remember when I heard about Anthony and the possibility that he was sick and going to have to endure a not so normal first few months.......I immediately thought about you and Mark. A loving couple that I was privilged enough to have seen be wed and spend time with at family functions. I could not have imagined what a young couple would do with such a hard set of circumstances facing them. My heart could not stop yearning to help. I always say "I was born to be a nurse". If I am right about that then I was compelled to help; I was directed to help. I remember when I drove to your house and talked to you guys and I asked "Are you bringing the stroller?" You said "NO, I don't think so". I then said "Yes, you are bringing the stroller". After a while in Omaha you said "God, am I happy you told me I was bringing the stroller". God works in mysterious ways.......He always surprises me with what he gives me to do. I often feel like I want to be a "Patient Advocate"; which would allow me to advise and guide someone through an illness or hospitalization. I would not work for the hospital or Dr.....I would work for the patient. One day I will go forward with my dream. I don't feel like I deserve the praise as I just did what I wanted to do for YOU, MARK, ANTHONY. There are times in everyone's life that they need a little help.....that is all it was...a little bit of help!!!!!! I enjoyed my time in Omaha, as it was an example of our family and its generousity to help each other in times of need. I should also mention that I was also the recipient of my family's generosity after Katrina when at Easter 2006 I recieved a gift of love and kindness to help me and my family recover from the devastation of Katrina. I will be ever so thankful for my family and their open arms when I needed hugs and strength. I hope and pray that we never have to go back to Omaha but if we ever suitcase would be packed and ready!!! Thanks, Laurie!!!! I love you and your growing family lots!!!!! Patsy