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Giving Thanks

In just three weeks Canadians will gather around the table to the sights and smells of a deliciously cooked turkey and all the fixings, giving thanks and reflecting on what they’ve been thankful for. For me I am thankful for my incredibly supportive family and friends, employment, and good health just to name a few. Of course it’s all the things that we typically give thanks to, but there’s one thing that I am especially thankful for and that I think deserves a public acknowledgement of thanks.

Being a blogger entitles you to have a voice and with that voice we choose what we talk about in our day-to-day postings. Some use it for good, some for bad and some just use it to get things off their chest. Writing is cathartic and good for the soul, allowing you to get things off your chest that you might not be able to say anywhere else.

January 2013 will mark the 30 years that The Children’s Hospital of Manitoba saved my life. It’s something I rarely talk about, and some of my friends don’t know about, but I thought that I would share it to let CHM know just how thankful I am for their amazing talent and care.

This was me almost 30 years ago. Just a few short months after I was born my parents experienced the worst nightmare of their life – one winters day I became suddenly ill, with no warning signs. I stopped eating and my breathing was extremely shallow and short. They rushed me to the hospital and it was then I was diagnosed with a type of pneumonia common to infants – RSV (Respiratory Syntactical Virus). Could you imagine being new parents for only a few short months and then your brand new baby girl falls ill and nearly dies? Even at 30 I cannot fathom the pain and heartache my parents went through. While they can always talk about it and describe it, I guess you can’t understand or feel it unless you are a parent yourself.

I was the largest baby in the ICU, given my age. I wasn’t a newborn, but just a few months old and because of that, they had to construct an incubator that would allow me to sleep inside – made out of a plastic pail and thick plastic wrapped around it (see the photo above). The doctors, nurses and support staff worked feverishly around the clock trying to improve my health and status… it was very difficult as my little body was trying its hardest to fight alongside them.

As time progressed I wasn’t getting any better. The doctors suggested that my parents bring in our family priest to pray and that’s what they did… he came in, blessed my soul and they prayed. I don’t even know what it’s like for my parents to hear the doctor tell you that your baby probably won’t make it through this. My parents were fighters, just as I, and never gave up.

The next day, came a miracle. With the help of the Lord above and the amazing doctors, nurses and support staff as well as modern medicine… I was getting stronger and better. My parents fondly recall the orderly bursting through the doors shouting, “She’s getting better!” with my blood test results in his hand.

Nearly thirty years later, I’m still doing better. While I’m not the perfect picture of health and I developed asthma (as a result of the illness) which is now non-existent, I am here sharing my story and giving my thanks to those who deserve it. Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Foundation don’t seem to receive the recognition they deserve. Sure they have their yearly fundraising drives (which I more than happily support), but I don’t feel they get the credit where credit is due.

To the past and present staff of Children’s Hospital,

I want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to help sick kids like me. While some make it through, and some don’t, your efforts are not forgotten and I want to thank you for your efforts in saving my life. Your endeavors have saved a lot of lives and given much hope to those who are looking for a little bit of it when things seem grim. You let them know that they are never alone.

Your fundraising accomplishments are not only incredibly amazing, but astonishing. Each year you strive to collect funds to help keep you going and each year Manitoban’s open up their wallets and hearts to help. From the Radio-thon, Book Drives and the current, and most delicious, Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign, we’re always wanting to help out and from a former sick kid… the generosity of many makes my heart feel so good.

Thank you for saving my life. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Your friend for life,

M.

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4 thoughts on “Giving Thanks”

  1. What a touching and beautiful story. I am so happy for your parents and you that you made it through and are living life and here today blogging for us ! It’s scary that illnesses as an infant affect your whole life (asthma), but I am glad the asthma has disappeared! My brother was often ill as a baby and has so many allergies and fairly severe asthma, I have seen how difficult it can be for a child to have to worry about those things.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Health has always been a constant struggle and still is…. I just found a way to deal with it now that I’m an adult. You’re right… as a child it is difficult to worry about those things. Children should be children and not have to worry about things like that.

  2. Hi – I enjoyed that blog but I have one thing to comment on. Did you mean that RSV is no longer in existense? Unfortunately, it still is. We still get babies into the PICU (I work there – still with Sybil in the NICU!) and some still need to be intubated. A weapon that has been developed is a vaccine that is incredibly expensive and needs to be administered every 4-6 weeks. In Manitoba, we have an extensive network ensuring that babies all over the province receive it, but I don’t know if it’s as widespread elsewhere.

    1. Hi there. Thank you for the comment.

      I did not mean that RSV is no longer in existence. If you re-read it, it’s my asthma that is now no longer in existence. I will fix the parentheses position so it will no longer create confusion.

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