Snow decorated yards across Limestone County on Monday, but one Ardmore yard had something even more special — a “Welcome Home” sign for the family's 7-month-old.
Limestone County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Fields said it was just one of the many ways the community has surprised them over the last few months. The family has been traveling to and from the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville since their firstborn, Case, was 2 months old.
Fields said Case was born with a small hole in his heart that doctors thought would grow up by the time he reached 6 months old. When it didn't, doctors arranged for Case to have surgery to close it up.
As the family prepared for the surgery, the community worked to support them. LCSO set up a Swamp John's fundraiser to help cover bills, and a bracelet sale further helped raise funds.
“The community has just blown our minds from the beginning — the bracelets, the welcome home,” Fields said. “It's just been amazing.”
The family was told Case would have to spend seven to 10 days in the hospital for the surgery, but things went so well, they were sent home on Day 4. Fields admitted that the whole experience was been scary beyond description, adding he doubts he or his wife slept more than two hours from the moment they arrived at Vanderbilt for the surgery until they left Monday afternoon.
Once they got in the car on the way home, though, Fields said Case and his mom “just slept the whole way home. Momma's wore out, and he's wore out, but they're both doing awesome.”
Case's recovery is expected to last about two months, during which the family is taking extra precautions to quarantine and keep him safe.
“He can't afford to catch not even a common cold right now,” Fields said. But once recovery is complete, “he should be 100% back to normal.”
And for that, the family is extremely grateful.
“We'll never be able to repay the staff at Vanderbilt for all they've done,” Fields said. “Or the community, for the prayers, the donations. It's just been amazing.”