mom died when I was 8 months old. I almost died too. I was born too
early and weighed 2 pounds. After my mom died,
I was scared,
after all, who was going to love me or stick up for me? I had
tubes and wires hooked up to me instead of cool clothes and toys.
The only brothers and sisters I had were other patients and my only
mom and dad were nurses and doctors who did things to me.
My arms and legs didn’t work very well so I couldn’t reach for
anyone. My eyes didn’t see real good and my lungs didn’t grow big
either. Most of the time I couldn’t do anything except just try to
breathe, it was really hard.
Nobody came to see me cuz the doctors
said I would die soon.
No one wants to visit a kid who’s sick,
especially one who is dying. Nobody played with me either, well,
almost no one. There was this one nurse who dressed me up real cute
and took me everywhere the other kids went. She took me outside and
to the store and even to a Twin’s baseball game.
I liked it when she took my hand and helped me pet the therapy dogs
but I didn’t move cuz I was scared. I must not have loved my mom
enough or she wouldn’t have died. If this nurse saw me, she might
die too and how could anyone like me. I was sick and little and the
big shots said,
“There is no hope for him.” They called me some kind of a
‘vegetable.’ It’s hard enough to be a good boy when you don’t have
epilepsy, cerebral palsy, lung disease and are dying.
I didn’t want the diseases either, but I couldn’t get away, they
were attached to me. I wanted my mom back and to go home, play and
sleep in my own bed.
So, I just stayed inside myself. One
While searching for my George Clooney look-alike doctor/husband to
complete my Cinderella life I, a single, fun loving nurse, was
assigned to care for a little boy who was in a “chronic vegetative
state.” He didn’t respond to anything, not ever painful stimuli.
The doctors, my peers, said,
“He’ll be dead by morning, don’t waste your time, he’s not worth it.
He won’t amount to anything. Just do what you have to; it
won’t make a difference anyway. There are thousands of these
kids. They probably shouldn’t have been born.'
took him everywhere the other kids went. Then the pet therapy dogs
came I dressed him in his cutest clothes, it was like dressing a
Raggedy Andy doll. I placed my hand over his and moved it over the
fur of the dogs. They even licked his face, but he didn’t even
budge. When his roommates went to a Minnesota Twins baseball game
we went along with a wagon load of medical equipment in tow. Kirby
Puckett hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning
and the crowd went wild! If he couldn’t hear or see then at least
he could feel the vibration as the stadium rocked. Yet, this
beautiful little boy didn’t even budge.
For a moment I thought maybe his doctors were right, “his brain is
already dead, and we should let him die.” Maybe the politicians
were right, “he’s not worth the resources, save your energy,” maybe
the public was right “lights on but nobody’s home” and maybe my
family was right, “don’t get involved, he’s going to die and break
Stephen was my patient so I decided to care for him as I cared for
all of my other patients. We went everywhere. Whatever the other
kids did, we did and when I didn’t know what to do, which was most of the
time, I read to Stephen. One night in my hurry to clean up and get
out of the busy ICU room, I over-filled a tray with medical
“…this silly nurse dropped a big tray of stuff and woke me up. The
noise was so funny I laughed out loud. I tried to be quiet, I
really did, but I just couldn’t stop laughing.
She picked me up. I
knew she wasn’t scared of me cuz she looked right at me and smiled,
so I just kept on laughing.”
couldn’t believe it, Stephen was laughing. His whole body shook,
his face was beet red and heheheheheheee was heard all over the
room. Stephen Michael Rondell, the little boy who “will never wake
up” was laughing. I scooped him up in my arms and saw his eyes for
the first time. He looked right at me and smiled.
There really was
a little boy inside of that beautiful shell.