Congratulations to Anita C., Caregiver for her adopted daughter in Midland, TX
Anita was one of five caregivers awarded the $250 runner-up prize in Shield HealthCare’s 11th annual “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest.
Anita’s Winning Story:
I guess loving Ana just came naturally to my husband and me. As friends and as foster parents, we have had more than 19 kids in our home, and love them all to different degrees. But this child came to us in a totally different way.
Ana was born with multiple anomalies that affected many of her internal organs. We were told she probably wouldn’t live more than a couple more years.
I met Ana as her first home health nurse in a foster home when it was determined her parents would not take care of her properly, they went back to Mexico. I was to assist the foster parents how to care for her urostomy, colostomy and other needs. She was a very angry, hurt and basically from what everyone saw, was just a “mean child!” I decided that day I wanted this 5 year old in our home. She just had so many other needs than just being abandoned and all the medical issues that needed to be done to her and for her. She needed to know what family really is.
Before we were able to get her placed with us, she had been through 4 foster homes. She came to us in 2004, knowing me as her nurse and Gary as that silly man who likes to have fun. Since that time she has gone through 21 surgeries. She was on home dialysis for 3 years, and then she and I had to live in Ft. Worth (5 hours away) at a Ronald McDonald House and motels so she could go onto hemodialysis every other day for the next 58 weeks.
In March 2010, she received a kidney transplant, so 6 weeks later we got to come home to Midland. During that time other things were happening in our lives. For another miracle, after she had been on hemodialysis for a short time, she started experiencing seizures and blackouts. Then in May 2009, she went into cardiac arrest while in dialysis. They ran the gurney across the street doing CPR on her, where the hospital staff at Cook Children’s Emergency continued to work on her for 2 hours. They normally don’t work on people that long, but she kept waking up calling “momma where are you?” I kept telling her, “Baby I’m right here, I won’t leave you.” The doctor came to me and said he thought they could bring her heart back, but her brain had been without oxygen for too long for her to function normally. As a nurse, I know that, but it was so hard to tell him “It’s ok, you can let her go, I understand.” But I really didn’t, I wanted her to stay and I sobbed. I went over to the Chaplin and prayed “God if she can’t come back as Ana then take her little hand and walk out of here with her now.” Then she woke up again and asked for me, then she said loudly “I can’t remember my verse!” I said do you mean Isaiah 41:13? For I am… she stopped me and finished the verse…”For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear I will help you.” Then she said “but these people are scaring me and my chest hurts!” The doctors were amazed at her speaking, they just looked at each other, then at me, then started barking orders to continue.
The next morning in PICU (after she and Gary had been playing UNO), the ER staff came up to see her, they couldn’t believe she really had pulled through. They said out of all the children they’ve done CPR on for that amount of time, only 5 have pulled through and none of them mentally.
She has also told us that God told her she will come to Him someday but not right now so she told us she will never be afraid of death again, and she really isn’t. Every time we face a crisis, we remember what she said to us.
Back in 2007 Gary and I realized how important she had become to us and the thought of CPS taking her away was unacceptable so we asked her if she would come into our family forever, and become our 6th child. (Our youngest was 24 at the time). Our kids thought it was a great idea. Even though she still has many challenging procedures we have to do each day, she just seems to take them in stride, she has become more than quite a blessing to our family. She is 15 ½ now, she will never be bigger then her 4’5”, or 75 lbs (even though she gets G tube feedings every night). Her new kidney is doing well, but the doctors don’t want to put more weight on her short body. It becomes so difficult to breathe. She says at least we got to stop those shots everyday! We know she will probably be with us for the rest of our lives. We just tell her she better stick around so she can take care of us someday.