Today, I want to share a letter written by one of Will’s nurses, Misty. Misty took care of Caroline and Will during their time in the PICU and I cannot describe what an amazing person she is. She loved Will and was with us through everything, from the beginning to Will’s very last day. I cherish this letter and we will always hold Misty in a special place in our hearts. Please take a few minutes to read her beautiful about what Will means to her.
If I could count the times I’ve thought about you, and your amazing family I could probably create a new number. There are many people that we meet in our lifetime who make lasting impressions, impacts, or imprints on us. Each has a different story, some of our stories continue being edited daily and some are written deep in our heart, and hopefully will never be edited or erased. I always get asked how I am able to do my job, that it must be so hard. But, I think of the special trusting relationships and the loving bonds I build with my patients and their families, and I always answer with, “I can’t imagine doing anything else”. I met you shortly after you and your sister came to the PICU, I still remember hearing your nurse call to me, “Hey Misty, I think he’s having SVT” (that’s a type of really fast heart rate). I walked in and saw your dad standing in the corner, he looked worried, and you did in fact have that fast heart rate. I helped your nurse stabilize your heart rate, and told your dad that we were going to run some tests and that the doctor was going to start some new medications to help your heart. I wasn’t your bedside nurse until you had faced ECMO, and your parents had walked through some of the scariest days of yours and Caroline’s hospital stay. I would watch you from her room as I cared for her, gave her medications, and even washed her once she was stable enough to really get a bath. Once she was able to leave the PICU, I watched as your mom brought her to your bedside to see you, you were still so sick, on the loud ventilator, but fighting like a little warrior. I remember the look on your mom’s face, she was scared to leave you, but was happy that your sister could graduate out of the PICU. My heart hurt for her, I knew that she and your dad would have a difficult time trying to be in two places at once.
I loved being your nurse. You kept such a sweet angelic face and even a gentle smile while you endured the medicine, IVs, procedures, dialysis, and extensive nursing care. You were my “why”. Your dad and I would talk about Disney trips, so of course Disney classics and lullabies had to fill the room. I remember giving you my famous bath and putting the blue sleeper on you, and using the star blanket (it was my favorite of yours because I called you my superstar), I may have taken a picture, but I’ll never tell the truth. I was so happy for your family to see you dressed. I loved keeping faith with them, and praying silently while they watched you sleep. And your sweet grandmother, she would read books to you, she was nervous of all of the equipment, but she knew that reading to you and letting you hear her voice was comforting, both for you and her.
As your hospital stay lengthened, and you started facing some more challenging days, I had my concerns, and fears. I never let you or your family know my worries. I would pray and hold back tears. You were so special to me. You ARE so special to me. Then the day came that I feared, your family started asking me difficult questions…. You are so loved. You and your family have stayed on my mind since that day. I didn’t want to leave the hospital. I sat in my car for a while before I drove away. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your care, thank you for that sweet smile, thank you for coming into my life and sharing with me your family of ultimate faith, unwavering love and selfless giving. Will, your strength and fight will be a “why” that I tell future nurses about to encourage them, and remind them that no matter the length of time you know someone, you can have an impact on their life, but more importantly they can have a lasting impact on yours.