Everyday, our girl reminds us how extraordinary she is.
She just takes everything in stride, especially this new life we're leading.
It's been almost a year since Jeff's injury, and she has handled everything so well. Sometimes she talks about things she and Daddy used to do together before the accident, but there's never sadness associated with it. She talks about how Daddy used to take her through the car wash and turn on the air vents full blast so they could smell the bubble gum-scented soap. She also talks about how Daddy used to tickle her. But now she reaches out to him, puts her little fingers on his arm, wiggles them and says, "tickle tickle tickle."
Jeff has two ventilators at home. When we transfer Jeff from his bed to his chair (and back), we disconnect him from one vent, and hook him back up on the other vent. He breathes on his own during the transfer, which takes about 30 seconds to get him from one vent to the next. The transfer routine requires some important timing. We need to have both vents on at the same time to ensure there is adequate air for Jeff. Then when he's moved from one vent to another, the one he's no longer on has to be turned off or else it will alarm like crazy.
Evie's job is to operate the vents during transfers.
And she does it like a pro.
Yesterday when we were getting Jeff from his chair back into bed, I made note to watch her while she completed her task. As my mom and I were getting the sling around Jeff and began to lift him using the manual lift, I called out, "Evie ... we need you!"
"Coming!" her little voice chirped from down the hall. Soon we heard her quick footsteps patter toward us. Her first stop was Jeff's room. There she removed the vent cover, turned it on by pressing and holding one button, waited for the vent to activate and begin blowing air, then pressed the silence button. She put the cover back on then came out to Jeff's chair in the living room to work on that vent.
My mom disconnected the tube that runs down the front of Jeff's chest, and gave Evie an"Okay" so Evie knew when she could turn off the chair vent. I began wheeling Jeff in his lift away from the chair and toward his bedroom, but this time I watched Evie while she worked. Her face was serious and her bright eyes scanned all the buttons on the vent, searching for the two she would need. And just as quickly and confidently as she had turned on the first vent, she turned off the second one.
By this time, Mom and I had Jeff hooked up to the bedroom vent. Evie passed us as she made her way, nonchalantly, back to her room. "Thank you Hunny Bunny," Jeff said to our little girl.
"Welcome," she said as she skipped away.
Last week, when my mom picked up Evie from school one day, she came home and told me and Jeff the most heartwarming story ...
When Nana walked in to Evie's preschool classroom, all of the kids were sitting around a table eating their snack, and Nana was surprised to find all of the kids focused on Evie who was telling them a story. By the time Nana got close enough to hear them, this is what they were saying ...
Friend: "So your Daddy can't move his legs?"
Friend: "Can your Daddy move his arms?"
Evie: "No. He can only move his shoulders and neck like this" [Demonstrating]
Friend: "So your Daddy can't hug you?"
Evie: "No, he can't . . . But I can hug him."
And with that, Evie opened her arms wide, hunched her shoulders, and held tight to the air, showing her classmates exactly how she hugs her Daddy.