Rescued By An Angel


At age 9, myself and all of my siblings, plus two cousins and a childhood friend, eight of us total, contracted red german measles, or Rubella. We were all hospitalized for about a week, at which time everyone except my brother, Ronnie, and I had successfully gotten rid of the Rubella and were able to go home. We were kept longer because just as the Rubella was going away, we contracted Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain most commonly caused by a viral infection. One of the problems Encephalitis can cause is seizures, which we both experienced a lot of, occasionally at the same exact moment there in the hospital room that we shared. When we were not alert and having seizures, we were unconscious and that went on for several days. Encephalitis, while relatively rare, can be life-threatening and we were at that level. I can remember waking up and seeing most of my relatives had gathered in our room. I was told later that we were so sick our family did not know what to expect. One relative was my grandfather's niece. We called her, "Tootsie," but her real name was Marie. I would later learn that, at the bequest of my grandfather, she came and stayed in our room for days, turning us every twenty minutes or so as we lay in a sleep, and constantly wiping away the perspiration from our bodies. It wasn't long after she came and began doing those things that we were able to overcome that illness. I always credited our survival to the extra special love and care Tootsie gave my brother and I, but I also suspect she did her share of talking to the Lord on our behalf. I would grow up feeling closer to Tootsie because of what she had done. To me, she was my angel. Whenever I would see her, my mind would wander back to that time in my life when she cared for my brother and I. I thought about it this past Saturday as I sat in Tootsie's own hospital room, where she lay during her last few hours on this earth. The doctor came and said the sweetest prayer over her, thanking the Lord for all that she had meant to those who had been blessed to know her, and asking the Lord to be with us as she prepared to pass from this life to the next, which happened around midnight that night. Rest in peace, my sweet nurse, rest in peace.

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