T.W. is a special needs child. But, he wasn’t born that way. On March 1, 2014, he suffered a near-drowning accident that caused extensive brain damage and left him disabled. In the words of his mother, Tanisha, he was practically in a vegetative stage. Tanisha sat down with us to discuss her story.
“When he first got into that accident, none of his doctors were optimistic,” she recalls. “My son was unable to swallow and unable to speak. He couldn’t control his body movements,” She tears up as she remembers the experience. “His doctors said that he would be on a trach and a g-tube for the rest of his life. That he probably wouldn’t know my name, or that I was in the room, and that I would never see my son smile again.”
Despite this dire prognosis, Tanisha didn’t want to give up on her son. “We were in a situation where it seemed impossible to be happy again. To see your child laying there and his doctor telling you, guess what, mom? He may not live through the night. What do you do with that information? What do you do with it?”
She decided to get all the energy she needed from the love she has for T.W. “I told him, T.W., show me that you want to do this. If you show me, I will do this, and I’ll go hard. And I won’t stop. And if you keep showing me, we’re going to keep doing this together.”
T.W. must have sensed his mother’s anguish and pleas. Little by little, with many types of therapies — including traditional and holistic — he started to improve. “My son now smiles all the time. He’s always laughing. He knows his name. He knows his brothers’ names, and he knows his family.”
Tanisha recounts how this experience has reshaped her family’s dynamics and approach to life. “Sometimes, when you are met with these difficulties, you want to give up at the beginning because you can’t see the end. But you have to believe that you can move that block out of the way — or maybe even walk around it,” she recounts.
“That’s what I’ve done with my family. We don’t look at his disabilities. We look at the things he can do — and he can do so much! He’s a child beyond limits. That’s my son’s story — and my family’s story, because we are a unit. We’re all involved in his care.”
As for how Care Options for Kids has helped her through these difficult moments, she lights up. “Addie is like family. She takes care of T.W. as if he were her child”. She laughs remembering that first meeting. “The first day she came to our house, I was watching her every move. I wanted to make sure she was doing everything right. I was looking at her through the window — and I saw her being so attentive and loving. Yes, that’s the word. Loving. And attentive, and caring”. She tears up again. “It’s so beautiful because that’s what I needed to feel safe when I’m in my home and when I’m out. And Care Options for Kids has provided that. I love her. She’s wonderful. Care Options for Kids sent us an angel.”
Addie joins the conversation. “When you first get a case, you walk into somebody’s home not knowing what to expect,” she recalls. “Tanisha explained T.W.’s story to me, and I started to cry. I apologized for it, but his story is so heartfelt.” She also explains how taking care of him is so fulfilling. “I don’t see him as a patient. I see him as a kid. I take care of him. I love him. I talk to him — even though I know he can’t talk back. But, I understand him. He laughs, he cries, he has body movements. They all mean something. I feel it. That’s how I’ve been able to establish a connection with him”.
Addie also describes her relationship with T.W.’s family. “When I’m here, I feel like I’m home. Tanisha and I work very well together. She’s an excellent coworker. Although, you know what? It’s more than that. This doesn’t feel like a patient/nurse job. We’ve become like family.”
Tanisha finishes her story with some profound food for thought. “This is my life. It doesn’t come without sacrifice, and it doesn’t come without sadness. But there’s also happiness. It’s all mixed up in one. I have a 13-year-old son and a two-year-old son in addition to T.W. And I have my husband. And we decided to make it a happy life.”