Monday, September 27, 2010

Pray for Madyson Grace

We live in an awesome community. Our families are close, and our friends are family. It's never more evident than when one of our family members is in need.

It's Friday, Sept. 24. There is a welcome calm after a roller coaster week for the Watts family. Madyson Grace Watts has been in stable condition for about 24 hours, the longest stretch since the accident that kidnapped her from her daily activities she loves so much.

Last Saturday, her mother Sonya was driving Madyson and her sister Mikayla to their grandparents' camp in Mississippi. When Sonya got off the Osyka exit, she was traveling on a highway at a speed normal for such a path. She had a blowout and flipped her Ford F250 twice and hit three trees before the truck rested in someone's front yard.

Sonya, a nurse on the surgery unit at North Oaks, jumped into action. She climbed out of the truck and to Madyson's aid while Mikayla was screaming for her sister. Sonya began immediate CPR to revive her daughter. Always afraid should that situation arise, this nurse didn't miss a beat; her instincts as both a medical professional and a mother were dependable and evident.

The Watts family has felt many blessings this week, starting at the scene of the accident. Off-duty emergency first responders stopped to help and were aiding Sonya in her efforts. Now, prayer groups have formed at their home church, New Sharon Baptist. People who they don't even know have sent messages and Facebook friend requests. They are overwhelmed with the outpouring of prayer and offers of help.

Sonya's neighbor, Robbie Robinson, is taking care of her animals, even cleaning out the litter box for Madyson and Mikayla's beloved cat Ginger. Dachshunds Jessie and Tippy have full food bowls, and the horses are grateful for his diligent efforts. Mr. Robinson even cut their grass.

Best buddy Anita Roberts is taking care of the house, making sure that there is always someone home. She's also making frequent trips to Jackson, bringing items from home that will comfort the family.

The children at Darlene Willie's child care in Loranger are making cards for Madyson. Her little friends at her daycare want to be in the mix of people sending well wishes. The visitors to the hospital keep coming, and they also are receiving love from other families that have children in the ICU.

Little Mikayla just wants to see her "sissy." At the age of three, she's not old enough to go be with the sibling she has been with since her birth. She has been with her mommy all week.

Although swollen and bruised, four-year-old Mady (five in November) is fighting. Her inter cranial pressure has seemed to have stabilized and although still higher than normal, is seldom requiring drugs for relief. Her vital signs have normalized, and she is starting to rely on her own body for strength instead of getting all of her energy from machines.

There are so many people who ask what they can do to help. Here's the answer: pray ... and then pray again. The family is drawing strength from the constant blessings they are receiving. They don't yet know what they will have to deal with when they get answers, but right now, the prayer is keeping them strong.

Also, if you feel compelled, there is an account that has been set up in Madyson Watts' name at Florida Parishes Bank. There also is an account at E Federal Credit Union in Madyson's father Brian Watts' name. Make a donation to help with the many meals this family is having to buy and the hotel room fees they are incurring. Sonya and Brian may be off work for a while, and all donations will be appreciated so that they may spend this time with their precious little fighter without the stress of piling bills.

North Oaks and Exxon Mobile have been wonderful to Brian and Sonya, understanding their indefinite need for time off. Sonya's parents, Paul and Suzanne "Peanut" Miller, are members of the Policeman's Union, which also is sponsoring fundraisers. God bless our community businesses.

When we were growing up, Sonya was my best friend. She still is. Anything that we can do to help make sure this little girl grows up to be somebody's best friend will be greatly appreciated. She has a wonderful role model, and Madyson will be a blessing to her family -- from those who share the blood that runs through her tiny veins to those who care enough just to friend her mom and dad through Facebook. Let us all be family to this family. They need and appreciate all the support.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bogey Narro (2001-2010)

He came into our lives when we certainly didn't need any new animals. We were living in a two-bedroom apartment and already had a cat. We also were in the middle of building our house, which was its own headache.

When I was leaving the construction site one day, we found them. There was a black kitten, an orange one and a white one. They were curled up right on the side of the road -- I almost hit them with my car. Shayne was with me, and we went back to check on them. It was love at first meow.

The vet aged them at about two weeks old. Our neighbor at the apartment complex took the orange one, and we were left with Birdie and Bogey, named for my husband's love of golf. Their names fit perfectly as Birdie was never any trouble. Bogey, however, was trouble from the start.

When we moved into our house, he got in fights with the neighbors' cats, and he never learned to get along with our dog. While they didn't hate each other, they had an understanding. And until Bogey's dying breath, J.P. respected that Bogey was here first.

Bogey brought us many presents. There were garden moles, mice, rats and even squirrels. Several geckos and lizards lost the battle with Bogey. Just last week, when one thought he could outsmart Bogey in his feeble state, a gecko saw his final moments. We joke that a few weeks ago, he had 'roid rage (he was taking them to control his pain) and killed his last squirrel.

For the last four months, I watched my once 14-pound cat (16 at his heaviest and under nine when he died) struggle through cancer. And this morning, I had to make the decision I didn't want to make. My vets were wonderful; the staff was amazing. It was quiet and peaceful, and he hurts no more.

My first reaction was that I never want another animal again, but I thought about the joy he gave us. He was a hunter and fighter by night and a sweet, cuddly kitten by day. As I whispered in his ear when he was taking his last breath, I am thankful for him.

Thank you, Bogey. I hope my next kitten is half the everything you were and always will be.