Saturday, October 08, 2005


Jeff Gordon visits Bailey shorterly after her surgery in ICU.

The Thunderbirds visit Bailey in ICU.

Bailey is welcomed back to the Heart Center after surgery.

Rissy tries to soothe her sunburned arms.

Bailey hangs out in the Heart Center "unattached".

Brian Gordon "tries his hand" at a hand game
on Bailey's first trip on the train without the Berlin Heart.
He holds up pretty well!

"Hey, Tom! Where's my ride home?"

"This limo will work."

Welcomed home by friends, neighbors and family.

Our first night at home!

Bailey's ready for her follow-up appointment with Dr. T.

We made it to Indiana Dunes!

Sunset on Lake Michigan.

This says it all, doesn't it?!

Tom gives Bailey a lift and heads for Mt. Baldy.
(Now who's gonna carry Tom?)

The top of Mt. Baldy!

The view on the other side.

Resting at the foot of Mt. Baldy.

Picking blueberries.

The harvest.

Rissy wins!

Bailey and Josie racing go-karts.

Tom takes Rissy for a spin.

The girls try out the bumper boats.

This is the picture Rissy wanted Dr. Turrentine to have.

Nancy an d Scott with our friend Lynn.
We get the royal treatment at the Kentucky race.

Josie tries to figure out her earplugs.

Josie and Bailey in Victory Lane.

Our buddy, Brian Gordon.

Dan Wheldon takes some time to visit with us.

Johnny Rutherford takes Tom and me on a few laps around the track.

The ESPN guy in a nice suit coat - and shorts and sandals!

Bailey - a true race fan!

Our view of the start of the race.

Marissa's first day of kindergarten.

We get to meet Keith Urban!

Keith in concert.

. . . some more of Keith.

Josie celebrates her birthday in the park with her friends:
(L-R) cousin Erica, Makayla, Josie, Emily and Samantha.

Bailey writes Taryn's name on the memorial wall.

Bailey and Colin play a little football at the Heart Walk.

Aunt Cindy, Bailey, Aunt Vickie, and Lance (Colin's Dad) at the Heart Walk.

My girls.

At the zoo with nurse Jennifer.

Rissy plays soccer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bailey's Doing Well!

Hi everyone! It's been a while, huh? Bailey had a cardiology follow-up Friday and she's doing well. Her left ventricle is functioning great, and her "numbers" look good. They're doing a cath in December to precisely look at things. We thank God every day that we received such a gift and continue to receive gifts on a daily basis. It's still hard to believe that we waited for a transplant for 4 months only to go on and be able to keep Bailey's own heart.

Have you seen Bailey's commercial on Channel 13? She's cute as a button, don't you think?!

The speedway guys are working hard on the documentary. They hope to have it very close to done by the end of this month. Can't wait to see it!

Bailey is continuing with a normal teenage life. She's had her first two official babysitting jobs. She attended a school dance. She's gaining weight and growing taller! She's had two sore throats and has been able to fight them off without them turning into anything worse. That hasn't happened in years! She complains every morning about waking up and every afternoon about doing homework and practicing her violin. I think that's pretty normal, don't you! We tape Grey's Anatomy every Sunday night so we can watch her friend Patrick Dempsey. They've exchanged a few phone calls since we've been home. We continue to keep in touch with our nurses. We had a cookout at Scott's house for them back in September. That was fun! We've been to movies, out to dinner, rented movies, and visited the zoo - all with her nurses. I thought I wouldn't miss them as much the farther out from our stay that we got, but it's just the opposite. The longer we are out, the more I miss them! So, we're working hard to keep in touch, and visit the hospital when we can.

Marissa is playing soccer now. She's doing a great job! However, Grandma and Grandpa came to watch a game and she cried the whole time - I guess didn't like anyone new watching her. Her soccer pictures were a disaster! She was so distressed at everyone looking at her that she cried and cried - really hard. We got them back and she just looks like she's been completely abused and neglected. In the individual picture, she's standing there with a sour look on her face and big red eyes. In the team picture, she's standing in the back row bawling. And THEN!! I must have been completely stressed that night too because when I filled out the order form, I put "Josie" McGraw instead of Marissa, so her individual picture came back with a big "Josie McGraw" printed nicely across the bottom of it. Marissa and I would both like to just completely forget about that evening . . . so, I think we will! Rissy's turning 6 next week. Josie turned 11 back in September.

Josie's doing great at travel basketball. She really enjoys it, but it keeps her (and us) pretty busy. But we enjoy traveling on Sunday afternoons to her games - usually still in Central Indiana. She's doing a great job in school and is playing cello. She has taken on the role of "fish caregiver". She feeds her and Bailey's fish every day. She does a better job than I did! And she worked really hard at helping me "spring clean" our house when we returned from the hospital. She's a sweet and caring little soul.

One of the transplant patients who visited with us while we were in the hospital to educate and encourage Bailey passed away back in August. Taryn will always hold a special place in our hearts, and she will be missed. She was definitely a bright light in our 6-month stay at Riley.

So, we've been home 2 1/2 months, and so far, so good! I think about our "adventure" daily and each and every one of Bailey's medical team members daily. "Thank you" is not sufficient, but it's all we have, and it is sincere. I'm overflowing with such gratitude that I don't know what to do with it all! It would make me happy to be able to personally thank each and every one of you out there who read the blog, prayed for us, visited us, supported us financially, supported us emotionally, still pray for us, and/or simply passed us in the halls at the hospital and gave us a smile. Then and only then, I might satisfied that I've disbursed my gratitude sufficiently.

I'm so grateful for this blog page too. It has allowed us to share our experience with others out there and, hopefully, in the process, reveal what an incredible place Riley Hospital is; what incredible people work there and how they pour their hearts and souls into their patients; what an incredible machine the Berlin Heart is and how it can help many, many children and what a need there is for the FDA to approve its use; how God orchestrates our lives when we don't expect it or don't even see it; how grateful we are to God for the incredible gift of life he has given Bailey and our family; and it has even allowed us to rekindle old friendships. But, ultimately, if this blog page has brought even one person closer to God, it's served its purpose.

Thank you for sharing our experience with us.

Love and gratefulness to all,