September 25, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if we lived in the greatest town in America? Okay, so Iíve already used that line to introduce one of my editorials, but what can I say Ė we are blessed to call Memphis home.

Sure big city life has its advantages like all-night pizza delivery, major league sporting venues and public transportation. But these perks cannot come close to replacing good old small town community. We witnessed this once again during the birth of our third daughter, Hannah, on September 4th.

Just a few hours after this little bundle of joy came into the world she already had a leg up on the rest of the family as she became the lone member of the Feeney family to ever have ridden on a helicopter. Granted it wasnít a joyride, but fortunately it wasnít a matter of life and death either as Hannah was taken to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit in Columbia to be treated for breathing problems. It turned out not to be anything too serious but that didnít help the 101 gray hairs that had already sprouted up on papaís head during the first 24 hours of the ordeal.

The doctors determined it was either pneumonia or a severe case of TTN (fluid in the lungs of newborns that can sometimes be significant enough to initially cause some breathing problems). Two days of a CPAP tube in Hannahís nose and she was as good as new and today itís as if nothing ever happened as she is all about 12 square meals a day combined with about 20 hours of napping. She was kept in the NICU at University Hospital for seven days.

I flew (drove myself) down to Columbia that Thursday just after the helicopter lifted off and I was at the hospital until Monday morning when mother was released from the Memphis hospital and got to come see her new addition. She was worn out but if they hadnít let her out you likely would have been reading about the jailbreak at Scotland County Memorial Hospital. I took advantage of my relief as I knew I had lots of work waiting on me at home and it simply was a matter of Hannah running out the seven days of antibiotics as she was 100% healthy in every other form.

It was truly nice to pull into the driveway at home that afternoon. Then again, I had felt like I was at home the whole time I was in Columbia thanks to the wonderful aid of family and friends. I was seldom alone at the hospital as folks rearranged their schedules to lend a hand or simply to be there for us.

Remarkably that did not stop when I arrived home. Neighbors were taking care of the daily routine for us. Someone had put my trash out at the curb and the mail was waiting inside my door along with a stack of newspapers. People from church had lined up meals for me and the kids and are still delivering dinner each night to help us get back into the routine. Still other friends were calling to ask if they could help at work, take pictures at the games or drive the newspaper to the printer. The flowers, cards, and gifts helped ease the stress of this trying time. Sure as Iím sitting here writing this late night column Iíd love to dial up a pizza delivery, but Iíd much rather be able to offer my thanks to so many wonderful people that showed they truly care, than chow down on a slice of pepperoni or ride the subway to work in the morning.

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