Jan 25, 2008
I can remember the night. It was cold. Sometime in late February. 1997. Ten years ago. It was about 2am. I woke to my daughter moving around in her industrial hospital crib. With numerous lines, it was easy to hear any movement she made. After this long in the hospital, I knew what to do. I could tell with unbelievable accuracy her core temperature. As I went over to feel her head, it was as hot as it could be. I went to get the thermometer, and remember the red line went to the very top in seconds and stopped. Is that possible? I got the electric one, after it hit 104, I dropped it and ran to the nurses station. My favorite nurse (Kathy) looked at me and knew. She ran with me to the room. She had decided that we MUST get her temp down quick. Her heart rate was well over 200. First she gave her some meds. Next, we had a basket that all her teddy bears had been in, so we decided to give her a cool bath on the hospital floor. I can remember sitting with Kathy and Abby for hours as Abby splashed in this small tub. She was just able to sit, but not much more. I kept looking into her eyes. She looked so sad. Almost like, why can't you make me feel better dad? She wasn't even one yet. Kathy never left me that night. We sat for almost 3 hours. Finally the meds kicked in and her temp fell. About 5am, I wrapped Abby in her favorite blanket (we actually had ten blankets as she would get sick from the Chemo so often that we needed backups). I often would hold her in my arms and rock her in a chair for hours. She was so at peace when I did this. The nursing staff would laugh at me as I could rock her for 4 to 5 hours at a time.
Nurse Kathy would do these things with me over and over. Things always seemed to happen when the doctors were at home. I had so much faith in her that it really didn't matter. She was the one (of many) that got our family and most importantly Abby, through this mess! This last week, I called to Children's Cancer Center to try and find Kathy. She has since retired.
Since I could not do it face to face I wanted to thank her publicly as well as ALL the others at the University of Wisconsin for giving my family the best gift of all. Life. I would do anything to thank you all. I would give anything to pay you back some how. I know I could never give back what you all gave me.
This year, the SimplyStu WorldWide Triathlon and Community Outreach will be a bit different. It will be a weekend of giving thanks. I want to thank so many people. Not just those in the hospital, but those who have taught me how to live. Those that have taught me how to be more healthy. Those that have guided me through the maze of sport. I plan, and I hope you join me, in celebrating life, sport and anyone and everyone that has guided you. We are all so lucky to be healthy enough to participate in a sport. Time to enjoy!
So I say it again - THANK YOU!