I would like to make a tribute to a very special person in our families life. She has been with our family through the thick and thin. In the darkest hours of my life, she was a guardian angel that helped me know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me.
Three years ago yesterday, October 20, 2010, Michelle came into our lives. She was the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse who cared for Emmett the day after he had the button battery removed from his poor little esophagus. I still remember talking with her the first time she came into Emmett's room. There was something about her, a light that I desperately needed. Emmett had coded (code blue) the previous night. The doctor's in the PICU were uncertain of Emmett's condition and whether he would survive the hideous accident of ingesting a button battery from the remote control of our DVD player.
I remember feeling life-less, empty, terrified and desperate for a miracle. My dad came to be by Emmett and my side. Michelle, noticing my defeated body language, suggested I take a walk outside. I remember looking at her and thinking, "lady are you seriously crazy. My child is hanging on for dear life and you are suggesting I take a walk." My sweet dad looked at me and nodded for me to leave the room and get fresh air.
So I did, I remember walking down the south sidewalk of the old Phoenix Children's Hospital with tears streaming down my cheeks. The sounds of construction, worker's, machines and tractors were all swirling around in my head. I needed to escape. I began to pray... and I needed to pray there and then... I started to pray out loud. At that point I didn't care who heard me, I needed the love of my Father in Heaven to surround me. I needed Him to wrap me in the arms of his love! I can not recall how long I was walking for, but I remember coming to a point of exhaustion. I sat on the side of a parking lot wall. I noticed that all the noises of the world that were filling my heard before, seemed to be silent. Every worldly noise except for one little gentle sound... I looked slightly to my right to see what was making such a sweet simple noise. It was a little sparrow.
At that point I laughed inside of myself. This beautiful little bird is a creation of our loving God, I started to realize that just like that bird our Father in Heaven has created and is in charge of all things. I knew that my Father in Heaven loved me and that there was only one other person who understood my heart ache and Emmett's pain... It was my Savior.
To this day... I have a special place in my heart for Sparrows.
I came back to the room in the PICU were Emmett was medically sleeping. I thanked her for helping me to "get out of the room". Right then and there I asked her if she would be willing to be Emmett's primary nurse. I am sure she was shocked by my forwardness, but she smiled and said she would love too.
There was plenty of rough days ahead for Emmett. He struggled for life most of that year. Michelle was always so gentle and loving with Emmett. When Emmett's face would wince with pain, Michelle would stroke his distressed forehead and place a little stuffed animal right next to his face, arm or hand.
Although Emmett was fully medically sedated for months, Michelle recommended that I sing to him, read stories or just talk to him. She stated that although his body was not responsive that he could still hear my voice. I remember a time when Emmett was in a lot of distress, as Michelle and other medical staff were rushing to his aid, Michelle desperately said, "Karla talk to him, he needs you". With tears running down my face, I began to sing him a Primary song, a song about Jesus. There were so many moments that year I felt hopeless as a mother. My child was suffering and I could not cuddle him or take his pain away. I am so thankful for Michelle, encouraging me to speak to him. Those simple acts made me feel as if I could still be a mother even though so much was out of my control. Thank you Michelle.
That year it was difficult for everyone in the family. Ethan would come to visit his brother in the hospital. Michelle always made an extra effort to help Ethan feel secure and comforted when he saw his brother laying sick and helpless in the hospital bed. She took the time to explain to Ethan what each of the wires were for and why he needed them. To my surprise his little 3 year old mind seemed to grasp it. Amazing. There were plenty of days, I just simple needed a hug, chat or reassurance. I am so thankful she was there!
Michelle helped me start the Emmett's Fight Foundation. She, Michael and I brained stormed ideas for several weeks on what we could do to prevent another child from suffering like Emmett has. She is now a board member of our campaign! She helped give me the confidence to speak out to anyone who would take the time to listen. Before Emmett's accident, I would have never spoken to large groups let a lone a News station. When I wanted to run the opposite direction because of insecurities and fears, she helped me remember that I have a "voice" that needs to be heard! Michelle has a phenomenal family: Michael, David, Aidan, Keali and Jameson. Thank you for sharing Michelle. We love you Michelle! Thank you for changing our lives for the better! I hope you know you are stuck with us now forever. Thank you for being such a terrific nurse and a loving friend!
- We all LOVE you!
Karla, Michael, Ethan and Emmett