This I Believe

Carlos - Coral Gables, Florida
Entered on August 22, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, hope

Yesterday Sunday…I believe.

Yesterday Sunday, when I woke up, I didn’t know what exactly was going to do during the day. You know, my wife and my four kids are away, traveling, vacationing…no seven years itch though. As for the last four weeks, I woke up every morning in the emptiness of our home. I miss them…

But yesterday was a different day, completely. I was planning to attend the 11:00 AM mass, my wife already called me and reminded me: “don’t forget about the weekly envelope for the church!”; anyway I woke up early, took a shower, didn’t shave, and went to my routine Starbucks ride….Yes my Grande mild but in a Venti Cup…addictions!!! But the day had a surprise for me…My wife mentioned earlier yesterday morning that she had spoke with a good friend of hers that early morning, Isabel.

Isabel has had a very strenuous and complicated last 16 weeks. Her youngest daughter, Karin, has been diagnostic with Krabbe Disease. When I first heard about this news, three month ago, and not having the slightest idea of what they were telling me about, I immediately called a very close friend of mine, a gynecologist who, by coincidence, was the doctor who attended Isabel when Karin born nine month ago.

I asked him about this Crab, Crabby, whatever disease, I didn’t even know how to spell it, neither my friend M.D., since he wasn’t sure what I was telling him on the phone- you know, Edward, he has bring to the world, I would say, 10,-15,000 babies during his entire career- my guess…but this case, Karin’s, was a first for him. Finally he clearly knew what I was trying to ask him, and to my surprise he simply said to me, it’s very serious and fatal. It can’t be, he said, this only happens in one in every two hundred thousand newborns- it’s seems impossible.

So finally, yesterday, around 10:00 AM, trying to make enough time so I could go to mass right after this visit, I took my car and drove to visit Isabel and Karin. I heard they were at the Miami’s Children Hospital, not that far from my house. I got there, and entering the room Isabel greeted me with a “smile”. She was talking to a doctor, who was visiting them. Karin, there she was, laying on her hospital crib, sleeping, with an IV and other kind of feeding tube on her, but she seem calm and peaceful. She looked like and Angel.

This was a first experience for me, here is a baby, who has been diagnosed with a fatal disease, with no know cure, lying before me within my reach. Isabel immediately gave me the latest news; Karin is already “blind”. She seems healthy and normal, but internally her nervous system is all screwed up. From what I understood, her brain cells are been destroyed by some kind of degenerative malfunction. This is extremely cruel, since you begin to loose your regular nervous functions, in a painful way, within the next year or so. Just think about it, here is a baby, who is suffering enormous limitations and pain, and not knowing what is going on with her. She can hear her mother voice, she can hear her siblings voices, she can recognize her dad voice, she is hungry, as any normal baby, but she can’t move her limbs, or see, she can only cry, in desperation like trying to say: It hurts, what is going on, I can’t move, help me mommy!. Tough very tough to say the least!

I personally wasn’t prepared for this. I stayed most of the time quiet, simply watching and admiring Isabel. Here she was, taking care of Karin, pampering her, kissing her, talking to me, to the nurses, other doctors, assistants, other visitors, answering her cellular phone, which rang constantly, feeding the baby, hugging her, having serious conversations with the different hospital staff, about what is this and that, and what is next… Then, among all these, she never stopped smiling, like “nothing” was happening.

I thought I was going to stay for few minutes, suddenly, and three hours later, I was still there, numbed and fascinated, watching a mother coping with a horrible situation. At the end I simply understood, Isabel never had lost her faith and hope. She is really convinced that Karin will recover…and now I believe in that too. Last night I prayed for Karin…