Skip to content

bissell

No Krampus This Year

By Andrew St. George

Detective Leonard Keaton showing us his badge for some reason. Seriously, no one asked, this is how he chose to pose for the paper.
Detective Leonard Keaton showing us his badge for some reason. Seriously, no one asked, this is how he chose to pose for the paper.

 

Local Detective Leonard Keaton is credited with taking down crime lord Lloyd “Krampus” Christmas. The super villain, named by his parents after Jim Carey’s Character in “Dumb and Dumber,” has been on a crusade against Christmas since a young age. Earning the nickname of “Grinch” in his youth, it wasn’t until Christmas reached the age of 18 when the violent opposition to Christmas really took hold, and the acts of atrocity performed promoted him from the “Grinch” to “Krampus” or the “Christmas Devil.”

Christmas was behind the recent kidnapping of beloved hero Rudolph, or Rudy as his friends called him. Rudy was reported missing shortly after thanksgiving. Mr. Cringle, Rudy’s employer, stated that there was almost no way to safely navigate the treacherous trip from the North Pole without the luminescent qualities of Rudy’s famous nose. “He really was the shining light of our team” Cringle said, having to pause for a moment to contain a slight chuckle that made his belly jiggle.

The plot hatched by the evil “Krampus” essentially revolved around selling off Rudy to the highest bidder, a Chinese genetics laboratory, who intended to kill and dissect Rudy’s nose to study its bioluminescent qualities. Their intent is still currently unclear, and they refused to comment, but it is widely believed that they were looking to use the bio-tech to develop some form of light bulb for vehicles. Arthur Johnson, head scientist at BioDynamic Conglomerates, believes that the idea is technically feasible, but believes that the technology would only be slightly better that what was on the market currently.

Detective Keaton was at the airport preparing for a much needed vacation when he smelled something askew in a crate that was being packed on the plane. Pulling rank on the baggage handlers, he pried the crate open to find Rudy tied up inside with a bag over his nose to contain the glow. Using his keen detective skills, he looked at the return shipping address on the crate and recognized it as the home of Lloyd Christmas. Calling in a favor, he got a warrant issued and went to search the house and found evidence of Rudy being there, as well as a document titled “My plan to kidnap and sell Rudolph to the Chinese by Lloyd “Krampus” Christmas.” Using this evidence, Leonard arrested Christmas.

I interviewed Detective Keaton in his office, and he had this to say: “Did I save Christmas? Of course I did.”

Historic Day

Friday June 26th was a historic day for the United States and for the Bissell family. Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. An easy call for most, but fun to watch the Republican presidential nominees trying to figure out how to best respond to this ruling. It is not about equality, it’s about votes for them. Enough politics.

Today also marks the last official day of school for the Bissell boys. Because all 3 boys have special needs, in Massachusetts they receive their services and therapies through the public school system until their 22nd birthday. On their 22nd birthday, they move from the school system into adult services; a huge and emotional transition.

We’ve spent several months visiting and researching adult programs for people with developmental disabilities. All three boys have very different needs, so no single program will work for all. We’ve finally made the best decisions we can for all three boys. They will take the month of July off and start this new chapter of their lives on August 3rd.

The hardest part of this transition is saying goodbye to all of the wonderful people in the Grafton Public School system. Hard partly because there are way too many people to thank! The boys have been in the school system for 19 years! Anyone with a child with special needs knows how many people are involved in caring for their children while in school; everyone from the teachers, to the classroom aides, to the therapists. But this is only part of the picture. The over-used saying “it takes a village” is definitely true for special needs kids. It’s not just the direct care workers that are needed to help a child with special needs be successful at school, it’s also the administration from the superintendent to the school committee to the office staff, van drivers and school nurses, custodians and cafeteria workers and even the regular education students who make inclusion work. Multiply all of this by 3 and you begin to see why it would be impossible to thank each individual who made the boys’ school years successful.

The boys have also spent all of these years with many of the same students. The students as well as their parents have become a close-knit community and dear friends. These parents are also working through this difficult transition and trying to find the best placement for their adult children. Sadly most of the young adults will be scattered among the many adult programs around Central Massachusetts. We will miss that comradery, but hope to keep in touch with as many of these amazing parents and kids as possible.

Anyone who is reading this and had anything to do with Eric, Aaron or Anthony’s school years, THANK YOU!

Here are a few photos from the twins’ last day of school:

Bon Voyage party for the twins.
Bon Voyage party for the twins.
Aaron receiving his diploma
Aaron receiving his diploma from Special Education Administrator Mr. Lundwall
Eric receiving his certificate
Eric receiving his certificate from Special Education Administrator Mr. Lundwall
School to Work students and staff
School-to-Work program students and staff

UMass Memorial Neonatal unit turns 40

Telegram & Gazette Sept 14, 2014

Registered nurse Lynn Ellsworth of North Grafton plays with her former patient, Luke Goyette, 11 months, of Millbury during the UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's 40th anniversary celebration Saturday. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)
Registered nurse Lynn Ellsworth of North Grafton plays with her former patient, Luke Goyette, 11 months, of Millbury during the UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s 40th anniversary celebration Saturday. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)

By Michael Gelbwasser CORRESPONDENT

WORCESTER — Aaron Bissell spent his infancy fighting for survival in the UMass Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Now, 21 years later, “I’m well. I’m doing a lot of writing. And I take singing lessons. I pretty much do a lot of creative stuff,” said Mr. Bissell, of Grafton.

The neonatal intensive care unit’s 40th birthday was celebrated Saturday at the UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, 55 Lake Ave. North. Numerous former patients of all ages gathered for a group photo on the front lawn.

The festivities celebrated “all the families that were able to have their children come home with them,” to remember the children “that left this world, frankly, too soon,” and to thank the families for letting the doctors and nurses “care for their children,” said Dr. Alan Picarillo, the UMass Memorial Medical Center’s chief of neonatology.

“It was a total privilege of caring for these children,” he said. “These families would leave them with us for long periods of time.”

The unit has cared for more than 20,000 infants since opening in 1974 with six beds, hospital officials said. The program now has 49 beds. Aaron Bissell and his twin brother Eric, born at 26 weeks, were treated “at the old NICU, over at Memorial Hospital,” in 1993, according to their mother, Cynthia.

“I can tell you, the first couple of years, both of the boys were very medically fragile. It was totally scary,” she said. “I’m a nurse, so I knew the risks involved in twins being born 3 1/2 months too soon.”

“I really came here today to thank some of the doctors. I remember all of them,” Mrs. Bissell added.

Dr. Picarillo said “the caring of the front-line staff” has been the one constant during the unit’s 40-year history.

“The amount of time they spend with the families, comforting them, encouraging them, empowering them. That’s what hasn’t changed,” he said.

Dr. Picarillo noted that infants brought to the unit are living longer than ever.

“In 1974, typically under 28 weeks wouldn’t survive at all. Now, we routinely save babies with 23 weeks,” he said.

Triplets Jameson, Payton and Callie Kaska of Northbridge are now 3 years old, said their mother, Lindsay. Their earliest days were “an emotional roller-coaster ride, living day to day,” Mrs. Kaska said. Now, the kids “are amazing. They’re right on target. They’re healthy,” she said.

Many families and staff reconnected on Saturday. Nurse Christina Evans was especially proud of Edward Parker Gagne, 4, of Holden.

“This little guy was one of my first babies I cared for,” said Ms. Evans, who has worked in the unit for 14 years. “To see him where he is today brings tears to my eyes.”

View PDF

Anthony’s Smile

smile

Here is the smile we’ve all been waiting for! Thank you all for your kind words of support, which came primarily via Facebook. After reading some of your comments, I realized how depressing Anthony’s medical history sounds. Yes, he has had some difficult times, but really, he has only had four serious medical issues in his 21 years, which is really good for a kid with such severe cerebral palsy.

Obviously, the abuse that caused his disability to begin with was his first challenge. That was back in 1994. His birth mom was mentally ill and abusive. We don’t know who Anthony’s birth father was, not sure his mother even knew. Anthony was placed in foster care at 17 months of age and then he joined our family in 2000. It was amazing how easily Anthony fit into our family and he had many happy years with no medical problems.

In spite of his disability – or perhaps because of it – he is the happiest kid you’d ever meet. He loves people, he enjoys being out and about. He loved school when he was able to go and his smile can light up a room, as you can see by the photo above. He is currently a favorite here in the ICU at UMass.

His other three medical problems were mention in the previous post: 2006 spinal fusion, 2010 intestinal volvulus / J-tube and 2014 pneumonia / tracheostomy. Between these times, he was happy and for the most part healthy.

Although doing the laryngotracheal separation was a difficult decision, as long as Anthony recovers and gets back to his typical happy self, it’s well worth the risk, because his quality of life will be much better. Nothing is more important than being able to breathe easily. Breathing is good.