Eli’s journey at Kind Hands Respite Care Cottage has come to an end
It’s very emotional to even write this post but it must be said.
Eli was born in 2016, we spent time in Whangarei hospital trying to figure out what was going on. My sister in-law, Shells, rang me one day and said that she had a friend (Sharlene) who works for the hospital in the child health team as a outreach nurse and that she has spoken to her about Eli and they were working to make sure Sharlene could look after Eli once we were able to be discharged. Thank goodness!
Sharlene has raced to Eli’s rescue countless times over the past 5 years, she has been our guardian angel and our life coach at times. She equipped me with the skills needed to care for Eli, including tube placement, feeding pumps, oximetry machine, medication, gastrostomy replacement and care and so much more.
One time she even left a half marathon to race to get Eli some pamol!
One day I was upset about not being able to attend Cameron’s school assembly because I could not take Eli with me. This was the day Sharlene told me about her dream. She wanted to create a place that parents with children who have high medical needs could take their children and know that they were being looked after by nurses and carers who are experienced.
I remember thinking how ambitious this dream was and that it probably wouldn’t come to be while Eli was a baby. But if you’ve met Sharlene you’ll believe me when I say, once she’s on a mission, there’s no holding her back.
Kind Hands Respite Care Cottage opened in July 2018, Eli was the very first baby to attend. He had a feeding tube and feeding pump attached to him most of the day, he needed help holding his head and sitting up, he had a range of special equipment. The staff at Kind Hands took it all in their stride. I cannot describe the relief and feeling of trust I had every time I dropped Eli into Kind Hands, up until this time we had never felt confident with anyone looking after our precious boy.
After a while we realised that what we needed was ECE (early childhood education) as Eli was attending Kind Hands during work hours so that our family could recover financially. Sharlene said to me “right, that’s what we’ll do! We will get registered as ECE and our boy will be able to have teachers and nurses!” So she did! And it was no easy task.
Fast forward to this very emotional day, Eli has loved his time at Kind Hands, it’s his second home! He loves all of the staff and all of his friends. It’s a sad day because we are saying goodbye but also a proud day, today our son graduated from early childhood and tomorrow he starts at a mainstream school, we feel we owe this milestone to Sharlene and the staff at Kind Hands along with his therapists and other supports. We always thought he would not be able to attend mainstream school and now look at him!
Thank you Sharlene, thank you David, thank you to all of the beautiful staff members. You have all touched Eli’s life in such a special and meaningful way, we will never be able to thank you all enough.
Eli will come visit someday soon to share his journey with his friends and to give his favourite people some snuggles. For now goodbye
- 2nd August 2021