Whenever I needed to haul anything, I just put the top down and away I went. I bought the table and chairs at a second hand store called Charlie’s on South 6th St. Kelvin had the Blazer and what I couldn’t haul in my convertible he picked up in his Chevy Blazer. The new house was starting to look like home.
I passed my test at Care Givers and started to work right away. In September of 1997 I was assigned to care for a baby named Emily. She had been born in June and spent the first few months of her life at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. She needed tube feedings and to be catheterized every day. She was hooked up to a heart monitor. She had been born with Spinal Bifida. She had to be monitored carefully, at times she would turn blue and pass out. Although she was 3 months old she looked and weighed as a newborn. I’d take her out of the crib and place her in the swing. She liked the swing and would smile, then she would turn blue and pass out. I would simply pick her up and jostle her a little, this would bring her out of it but if she was a little slow coming to then I would have to give her mouth to mouth and put her on Oxygen.
As the months went by she got bigger and smiled more. She had toys and music players in her crib and liked to look at those. She slept a lot so while she was sleeping I cleaned the house and did the dishes; I even cleaned the microwave oven. I did mounds of laundry to keep busy while Mrs. Greene visited her mother in Savannah. My director of nursing said I didn’t have to do anything but watch the baby but to help out the mother I might want to straighten up the place while Emily was sleeping. I charted in a notebook and turned that in to Caregivers at the end of the week. I made phone calls to the Doctor’s office and gave her medications through her feeding tube. She had blonde hair and big blue eyes and a smile that lit up the room. One evening after work Mrs. Greene called me and said she, Emily, was having difficulty breathing and had made an appointment for her to see the Doctor at 1:00 PM the next day, Monday, August 16th, 1998. I was supposed to meet her at the hospital at 1:00 PM then stay at her house while she took the other children to the school for enrollment. They had been home schooled up to this point but thought they were well enough behaved now they could be trusted to attend a public school. They had bought a two story house, much like the one they were renting in Fillmore, but this house was in Mound City, just a few miles north of Fillmore. After all, the oldest hadn’t tried to burn the house down for at least a year now. He was fascinated with matches and had climbed the steps to the attic to try out his skills.
I had gotten up that morning on the 16th of August 1998 as I was used to getting up early to go to the house in Fillmore which was about 20 miles North of Saint Joseph where I lived. I got a phone call from Caregivers telling me not to go to Fillmore that day as the baby had died at 6 AM that morning. In the mornings she always had hard time breathing and the monitor would go off, then she would need suctioning. She would turn pink and ready for the day of tube feedings and catheterizations, suctioning etc… That morning when the mother went to the bedside she was dark blue and didn’t wake up or turn pink again. It always took about an hour for the ambulance to get there from Savannah even though Savannah was only 10 miles away.
I felt sick. I kept thinking I had to go and suction her out, a treatment of putting a tube
through her nose and suctioning off the phlegm and then inside her mouth, inside the tracheotomy until she was breathing easily again. Care Givers said, “No” not to go up there and disturb the family at this time. So I stayed home and thought of Emily’s little face and the musical toy she had clamped to her crib. I thought of her big blue eyes and blond hair and her sweet perfect little smile. The Doctors had said it was a miracle that she lived to be 1 year and two months old. They had thought she would never make it at all. Caregivers and Children’s Mercy had commended the family and the “nurse” who had taken such good care of the baby that would never walk or talk or smile ever again.
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