I am so glad that we have a bench in this park with Katie's name on it. It's a very pretty place, one that we enjoyed together countless times when the children were growing up. We have been to many boat rendezvous there, walking the docks, admiring beautiful wooden boats, enjoying the dogs and cats who travel with the boats' owners. We used to walk on the boardwalk, along the shoreline, and down Front Street, peeking in storefronts, browsing in the "used book" store, buying a cookie or a donut in one of the bakeries, seeing people we knew...all of which is part of the beauty of living in a small town, especially one where your dad (and his parents) grew up! We still do this, and it's still fun.
The directions are by request from Linda, who is one of the fantastic physical therapists at Seattle Children's Hospital. I wish I had a photo of Katie with her. Linda worked with Katie many times (when she was an inpatient); Linda's colleagues were also very helpful to Katie and to us, but I want to tell you about Linda, today.
This movie is of Katie, in August of 2006, just one month prior to having any symptoms of illness, two months prior to her diagnosis (and a year before her death). We had walked 3 or 4 miles to get to this place, and had to walk 3 or 4 miles back to our car. No problems, at the time.
When Katie was admitted to the hospital in October, she was considered to be in grave danger...chiefly because the enormous tumor had made its way into her heart. The concern was obviously that it had begun to affect her heart's function, but also that a piece of it could break off and kill her, at any moment. In fact, we were told that the surgery and emergency departments were "aware" of her condition, and were "prepared." This made it problematic to know what was possible for a (recently very active) 11-year-old girl to DO. Enter Linda, who came with her Physical and Occupational Therapy expertise, and helped Katie work on range-of-motion exercises, gave her massage, talked & listened to her.
One of my favorite Linda stories was when the day of David's birthday (November 21) was drawing near. Katie had been in the hospital since October 10, and was not allowed to leave. She wanted to do something for David's birthday, but shopping in the hospital's gift store was not what she had in mind...she wanted to make something. But what? Linda found out that David liked Lemon Bars, and what did she do? She got a box of the Krusteaz cookie mix, brought in a pan and ingredients, and let Katie make David's gift for him. Linda then took the pan of batter, baked it, and delivered it to Katie, so she could present this gift to David as a surprise. It was a real gift of love, made with Katie's own hands...and Linda's insight and thoughtfulness made it possible. I wouldn't have known how to make that happen in a HOSPITAL. That is the kind of care that we received at Seattle Children's Hospital, and Linda, Peggy and their colleagues were a vital part of that caregiving. Thank you, Linda!