grace:the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
I am in a hospital room going on day 3 with a very sick Toots. She has influenza B as well as pneumonia. She cannot maintain a healthy or even semi-healthy oxygen level without being in a continuous flow of oxygen through her nostrils. I thought yesterday, after hearing about the pneumonia, that she couldn't possibly get any worse.
I was awakened this morning at about three-thirty by a screeching alarm. I flew up out of my fold out chair-bed to check on Tessie. She was seizing. The good news? It really wasn't too bad. How odd does that sound? A seizure...and me saying, "eh, it's not so bad." She seized 3 or 4 times in a half hour period but again, I really didn't get too worked up because she was handling them like a trooper and they were very mild and short compared to her 'normal' seizures. I guess even Tessie can catch a break from time to time.
The rest of the day I have watched The Toots sleep. All day. Spike a fever, become restless, seize a little bit, cough and then scare herself because she cannot manage the phlegm from the cough and chokes, and then sleep some more. It has not been a banner day for Tessie.
And so I have been sitting vigil. The hubby came to sit with me and see his "littlest princess" for himself and our CNA Brooklynn has been faithfully here as well as Sheila and a special visit from Leo. The phone has rung off the hook with family calling to check on her. All worried. All pretending not to be. All wanting to do something to help. All knowing there is nothing they can do.
Except they are helping. Many people are helping and probably don't even realize it.
Let's start with Blake and Ellie. They are helping just by being who they are. Awesome girls that I know I can count on to behave at home when I am not there. That is a HUGE help. My hubby. Because he is the father he is, I am able to be the mother I am. And then there are my parents, Ma, Ann and Dad. All picking up the slack on the homefront while I am away and letting me know they would be here in a heartbeat. I need only ask. There is Kris. She would say, "what am I doing to help you right now?" but the thing is, I know she would. Again, I need only to ask. There are Karen and The Bean. Always ready to be a support system for us. Then I have Lucy, "Auntie", who talked me down off a ledge when I frantically called her a few hours before bringing Tessie into the ER the other night because I was scared and wanted to hear a reassuring voice and has been checking in with the girls at home to see if they need anything as well as calling me here to check in. Can you imagine how much worry and stress that knowledge actually takes away from me? All these people just wanting to help make things easier for us. There is also, always, Heather. My cousin who is more like a sister. A phone call to her and she would be on whatever request I asked of her with the diligence and intensity of a mafia sister. We also have Brianna. Tessie's "Buh". The love of her life. Brianna and I have been through more together than most couples will in a lifetime and you know what? We still like each other. And my good friend Kellie, who I met because of Tessie's medical issues. She was The Toot's speech therapist and now is one of my best friends. How is that for a blessing in disguise?
Then there is Jen Desmond. My Toodle Bug's go to gal for health problems until we can get her to the mainland for help. Day or night she is there. On call or not, she is there. I cannot say enough about Jen. There are no words to express my gratitude to this woman. Suffice it to say that if Jen were not the doctor she is and the woman she is, Tessie would not be able to live in such an isolated location. She needs that much attention a lot of the time. And Jen gives it to us with a smile on her face.
Who else? Oh yes, Sheila. Our port in a medical storm and my own personal security blanket. Just how we lucked in to getting her as the home health nurse for Tessie I have no idea but I thank God everyday that we did. Sheila is the best. Pure and simple. And she has a boyfriend, Leo, who has fallen in love with my Toodle Bug. And she has fallen in love with him. Again, God putting the best people in our lives at just the right times. Believe it or not, the choice is yours, but how else do you explain all of these angels?
Lastly but not less important, is our little island. Our community. Vinalhaven. We gossip and back bite and can be very petty at times but the thing is, when the shit his the fan, we've got each other's back. People are quick to let me know they are sending us good thoughts, prayers, and love. It is just what I need when I feel all alone sitting here watching my baby hurt. And many often wonder how I can be strong or tell me they admire my strength but the reality is, any one of them could do it too if it were their baby. There is no secret to how I can get through the tough times and still laugh and be silly. It's really quite simple...people are essentially good at heart and are willing to extend themselves to someone who needs it. Especially a child. Even the people I don't know that well but still will reach out and tell me to hang in there or that they have put Tessie on a prayer list at their church. There was a time when I was very quiet and private about the 'travels with Tessie' but I have learned, that by putting myself out there, warts and all, people just want to help.. and they do. They let me know I am not alone. And what more can you ask for?
So when you think about the word grace, really think about it, isn't that what I have been given? I think so...