A Special Boy With a Hold on Our Hearts

Fall 2020 Edition

Born at just 24 weeks, Harvey only weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces. He spent the first six months of his life in the hospital under the intensive care of doctors and nurses. Though he has experienced some delayed development, he is catching up and embracing life with a can-do attitude. CHC nurse Deb shares about his progress.

Harvey loves trains, music, dancing, and riding on his scooter. I always look forward to my days with him. His mom, Jodi, and Harvey’s other CHC nurses are thrilled to see the progress he makes each and every day.

Because he was born so early, Harvey is medically fragile and had some developmental delays, but he continues to close the gap. For example, he used to grunt and cry when he needed something, but after working with him to vocalize what he needed, he started talking. He also didn’t have any hospital visits last winter, which is an absolute win. He also started walking, which is another huge milestone for him.

Because Harvey and his family live in a rural area, his resources are limited. At this time he can’t attend a regular school because of his specialized needs or receive out-of-home therapy due to COVID-19. That said, I feel honored to help Harvey achieve everything I know he can in life. I want him to catch up to his peers and be able to say ‘I can do that, too.’ He’s such a happy kid who always wakes up with a smile and is ready to take on the day.

Harvey’s day is busy with important care and learning activities. He requires meds and regular monitoring. The other nurses and I work with Harvey on vocal and sensory exercises during his playtime. These are not technical ‘exercises’ per se, though sometimes we’ll say ‘reach to the sky and touch your toes.’ We work with blocks and puzzles, learn colors and shapes, practice our counting, and take walks outside to look at different birds and leaves. I try to include Harvey’s sisters in our fun, too. I bring them snacks and ensure they feel included. The more the merrier! Harvey enjoys playing with them and always wants to follow their lead.

We are constantly gathering research on new projects and techniques. We subscribe to a Pre-K app for inspiration and enjoy working with the fun activities that Harvey’s mom will find and bring home. Since Harvey is not a big fan of Play-Doh, we’ve done sensory projects with whipped cream, oil and marbles. Currently, we’re working on his colors and alphabet sequence, which he has down pretty well. He knows his animals and their sounds, too.

Our team keeps a book to document all of Harvey’s daily activities and where he’s at so that anyone can pick it up and run with his daily routine. If there is an urgent update regarding Harvey, we are all notified, too. We share the responsibilities involved with his daily care, and we also share the love for a truly remarkable little boy.

Harvey has an ‘I can do anything’ attitude, and he’ll keep working at something until he accomplishes it. He has such a bright future, and I will keep working with him to do whatever he wants to do. Eventually, he will be in a place where he won’t need me or the help of the other CHC nurses.

This is phenomenal for Harvey but bittersweet for me. Kids like Harvey take your heart, and you just can’t stop it. It’s like they are one of your kids.

Caring for Harvey has given me another family to love. There’s no better way to start my day than by being with him. I mean, how can you have a bad day after being greeted by Harvey.

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