January 31, 2018
DEFINITION: Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
When you first meet Alexandria Courtney, you notice her poise and confidence. She’s energetic, kind and ready to help. As a full-time access representative for Mosaic Life Care, she’s the first line for patients as they walk into Mosaic’s doors. Behind her smile and warm personality, you would never know the traumatic events she’s been dealing with for the last few years.
Her story is one of resiliency, the blessings of modern health care and the kindness of friends.
Pregnant with her third child, Alexandria began having complications with her pregnancy and was sent to St. Luke’s and placed on bed rest. At 26 weeks, after trying to extend the pregnancy as close as possible to the 40-week, full-term mark, she gave birth to her son, Nick. He weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces when born, which is considered normal for premature infants born there. Nick came home after a few weeks. One day Alexandria noticed he was wheezing and struggling to breath. By the time she arrived at the Mosaic Life Care emergency department, his tiny body was in full respiratory distress. He was immediately sent to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
While at Children’s Mercy, Nick’s true struggles began. His lung collapsed and he got an infection. Multiple procedures were performed, including inserting a trach and feeding tube. He was on paralytics due to the spells he was suffering. Nick was diagnosed with chronic lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, and atrial septal defect (ASD). Nick would spend more than a year and a half at Children’s Mercy. Alexandria did her best to visit him during the week and on weekends after work.
“There were some weekends we couldn’t go, due to weather. I was juggling our two girls at home. During flu season, the girls were restricted from seeing him. It was a difficult time,” Alexandria said.
As the months wore on, it became clear Nicholas would have difficult medical care when he came home. Faced with these burdens, Alexandria shared her concerns with her Emergency Department co-workers, Jackie McKnight, RN, and Ma’Kia Irvin, Emergency Services Associate. They jumped in to help. Ma’Kia is even considering a career in respiratory from her interactions with Nicholas.
Nicholas is thriving since he came home from Children’s Mercy Hospital after a 16-month stay.
“I wouldn’t have been able to take care of Nicholas and my girls without this support from my co-workers and friends. They’ve been there for me through it all. I’ll never forget what they’ve done for my family.”
Her friends are quick to agree. “Alex is a solid person and friend. I love to help care for Baby Nicholas,” says Jackie. From the looks of the photo, Nicholas agrees!
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, this architectural feat, designed by esteemed local architects Eckel and Mann, is getting a second life thanks to a $20 million shot in the arm from Mosaic Life Care.
Most people who visit the Black Archives Museum of St. Joseph say almost the same thing. It’s “wow,” and usually this is followed by a lot of thoughtful silence.
Sarah DeGarmo’s story is one of life echoing art. And vice versa.
What does the road to a dream look like? If it’s a sports dream, there are early, dark mornings – lacing up shoes before any lights flicker on the block. There are late nights, pushing past physical and emotional limits, even when it seems out of reach. There are countless sacrifices at every turn. And there are often amazing mentors and coaches, right there to say, “We don’t quit. Not today.”
Across the city, every day, adults are helping clear a path for youth to reach more opportunities. They are sharing their mentoring skills, life lessons and ultimately, their friendship, through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. And it looks like hanging out at the local burger joint. Taking a walk. Joining other “matches” at the park for crafting with a lot of laughs.