The Magic of Making a Difference To cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.ùSamuel Johnson We were all looking forward to Easter. Charlie had run to get last-minute candy for the Easter baskets. Finishing breakfast, both of our children were running and laughing through the living room. Suddenly, Ken, our eight-year-old, burst into the den, where I was on the phone. ôSteph is acting really funny,ö he said. ôYes, I know. I hear you laughing.ö ôNo,ö he insisted, ôThereÆs something wrong.ö I hung up the phone and walked quickly into the bedroom where five-year-old Stephanie was lying on the floor, unconscious, with a small amount of foam in the corners of her mouth. Unable to wake her, I told Ken to call 911 and I, nurse-mom, quickly assessed her condition. Though breathing with a steady pulse, her color was gray. The ambulance arrived and took her to ChildrenÆs Hospital. Shortly after entering the emergency room, she had a seizure. Within minutes, she stopped breathing. As the staff feverishly worked on her, my husband, Charlie, arrived. We stood together, looking through the emergency room windows, not believing what was happening. The doctor pulled us aside and told us he had no explanation for StephanieÆs condition but was very concerned because her status had changed so quickly. After routine questions regarding overall health status, history and access to poisons, they transported Stephanie for a CAT scan. We were left to pray. In a state of shock, I could not believe how rapidly our lives had been turned upside down. An hour ago, we were eagerly looking forward to Easter, and now our world was crumbling around us. With no remarkable results from the CAT scan, Stephanie was taken to the intensive care unit, where she was placed on a ventilator, in a coma. They called in expert after expert. Each ran tests and then let us know they didnÆt know what was happening. While I hoped and prayed for answers, I was also relieved as they ruled out one serious explanation at a time. I knew that in spite of the uncertainties, no diagnosis was good news. We took turns at her bedside, making sure that someone was there at all times. After six days, there was no improvement. The doctors informed us that they believed she had viral encephalitis, and there was little they could do except provide supportive care. They also cautioned us that children with encephalitis often do not make a full recovery. If she did get better, we should brace ourselves for a child with severe disabilities. We were very discouraged yet hopeful for a miracle. Later that evening, Stephanie began to move her feet and hands. By the following morning, she was breathing on her own, and the nurses detached the respirator. As I was washing her face, she suddenly put her arm around my neck and said my name. I thought I was dreaming and just stood there and stared. From that day on, Stephanie showed steady improvement. With great courage, she Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul: Stories to Inspire Caregivers in the Home, the Community and the World by Jack L. Canfield, Mark Hansen, LeAnn Thieman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.