(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Nicole Poe's Leachville home was a beautiful sight to her as she and her family returned home on Monday, April 30, after spending 36 days at Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
Nicole, a ninth grade student at Buffalo Island Central junior high, is quick to tell how your life can change from one day to the next.
Nicole, an honor roll student, has always been healthy and active and did not think much of the flu-like symptoms she was having and did not tell her parents just how badly she was feeling.
Nicole is the daughter of Shawn and Eva Poe of Leachville. She is the granddaughter of James Lee and Jill Poe of Leachville, Angilita Gonzalez of Homestead, Fla., and the great-granddaughter of Cordie Webb of Leachville.
"She got to feeling really bad and we knew we had to take her to the emergency room," Mrs. Poe said. "We took her to St. Bernards on March 25 and after tests were run, we were told she was very ill and needed to be airlifted to the Children's Hospital in Little Rock."
Nicole had severe, necrotizing pneumococcal pneumonia with multiple complications.
"In simple terms, it was flesh eating pneumonia in her lungs," Mr. Poe said. "They told us if we had waited one more day, it probably would have been too late."
Nicole does not remember the 19 days following her arrival to St. Bernards' emergency room. She does not remember the helicopter ride or arriving at Children's Hospital. She was put on a ventilator and seemed to get worse for several days with one complication after another.
"When she woke up, she thought she was still at St. Bernards," Mrs. Poe said. "We want to thank everyone for everything and we want to let everyone know that prayer does work. People from all across Buffalo Island to other states were praying for Nicole's recovery."
When Nicole first woke up she could not talk or walk.
"She was using sign language," Mrs. Poe said.
Nicole's grandfather, James Lee, is deaf and the family is familiar with sign language. Her grandfather was the first one to understand the words she was signing.
She is at home and is taking physical therapy twice a day, speech therapy, breathing treatments every two hours and seeing her doctor three times a week. She is on the road to recovery and will be ready to go into high school in the fall with her classmates.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Poe are self employed and were not working through the ordeal. Mr. Poe has his own taxidermy business in Leachville and Mrs. Poe cleans houses.
"His customers and the people I work for have all been wonderful," Mrs. Poe said. "We could not leave her side."
In addition to praying for the family, their friends and neighbors made donations, held fund raisers, sent cards, e-mails, telephone calls, letters and gave an outpouring of love and support.
"There are no words to let people know just how much we appreciate all of the support we received. I don't know what we would have done without them."
The Poes are members of the First Baptist Church in Leachville. Nicole is part of the youth group and the puppet ministry.
"We received a miracle," Mrs. Poe said. "Prayer does work."