hero-george

George

George Inset VerticalGeorge, 16, is a happy teenager, full of smiles and affection. A music and movie lover, he entertains family, friends and even the staff at N.C. Children’s Hospital by belting out songs from his favorite performers like Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez and quoting lines from his favorite movies.

George’s upbeat personality is an amazing gift to those who know him, especially considering the health challenges that have followed him since infancy.

“You could go to school with George and never know he had issues,” says his mother, Sharon. “That is really important for George.”

The “issues” that Sharon refers to started when George was diagnosed with intestinal malrotation, or short gut, at 1 month old. He was hospitalized at 6 months when he developed volvulus, a condition where the bowel twists on itself, killing the surrounding tissue.

George’s mother, Sharon, adopted an 8-month-old George who was facing tremendous health challenges. He required full-time devotion and medical care, and Sharon devoted her life to his needs.

“He was on TPN pump, G tube, initially for 24 hours a day,” describes Sharon. “As time went on, they shortened it to just nighttime.”

George’s total parenteral nutrition (TPN) pump provided him with nutrition intravenously. The gastrostomy tube (G-tube) delivered nutrients directly into his stomach.

When George was weaned off the TPN pump and G-tube, his malrotation called for other specialized care.

“He had physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech,” recalls Sharon. “He had to be retaught to eat by the OT (occupational therapist), and he slowly learned how to eat and swallow.”

“Now, George eats like a normal teenager—which is all the time,” says Sharon.

George Inset PhotoThe journey from TPN pump and G-tube to normalcy involves a roller coaster ride of improvements and setbacks for George and his mother. But if you ask them what’s at the heart of the story, they will tell you it’s more than just leading edge care. It’s the people. People like Lynne Farber.

Lynne, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in pediatric surgery, has been a caregiver to George since birth.

“I took care of him as an infant when I was an RN on his floor,” says Lynne. “And later, when I became a nurse practitioner, I took care of him as a clinician.”

Lynne describes having a special bond with George. “When he’d come to the hospital, he would call me as soon as he was admitted and I would go see him for a hug,” she says.

“We had this routine where I’d go to leave and I’d tease him and say ‘Who loves ya?’ And he’d say, ‘You do!’” explains Lynne. “You actually feel kind of sad when you leave him because he’s such a dear.”

“It’s wonderful because we've had Lynne for 15 years,” says Sharon. “N.C. Children’s has a wonderful continuity of care that I’m not sure you would get at other hospitals.”

As George has gotten older and healthier, Sharon and Lynne have loved watching him become his own person, full of communication and independency. But no matter how much George grows, there will always be a special bond between nurse and child.

“He has come so far,” says Lynne. “From a baby who didn’t even like to be touched, to a child who is full of hugs. I’ve been lucky to share in it.”

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