By Randal Coombs
A father and his sick seven-month-old daughter shared an adorable chest pound as he had to leave her lying in a hospital bed overnight.
When Josh Trimble had to say goodbye to his beloved daughter Opal on April 18, the pair shared a sweet moment at Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Bethany, OK.
Despite suffering from Acute Flaccid Myelitis (ACM) – a serious neurological disease – the infant fighter managed to mimic her devoted dad as he pounded at his own chest while mum Gretchen filmed.
Josh, 33, said: “Only one of Gretchen and I can stay with Opal overnight.
“As her father, it’s always tough on me to leave her each and every night.
“On this particular night, I had the thought of pounding on my chest to signify to her that we symbolically share a heartbeat.
“Even though she and I may be physically separated for a moment in time, much like eternity, our heartbeat represents my forever presence.
“Though Opal can’t speak yet, it brings me so much joy knowing she understands and can reciprocate the love of her father.”
AFM causes inflammation in a portion of the spinal cord, affecting the grey matter there, weakening the muscles and reflexes in the body.
In Opal’s case, her diaphragm muscles were weakened, creating severe respiratory challenges and she has experienced paralysis in her arms and legs.
Josh said: “Treatment AFM is considered experimental at best.
“Opal has had two rounds, five doses per round, of IVIG treatment as well as plasmapheresis administered over a ten-day period.
“As parents, it was extremely difficult for Gretchen and me to make the decision to give her these treatments, given the risks associated with them and knowing there is a very good chance they may not be effective.
“Our doctors feel like we’ve done as much as we can do as far as treatment, and now we need to focus on rehabilitation through therapies.”
Since the first night of the gesture, Opal now initiates the chest pound whenever her dad walks into the room.
Josh said: “She will still do it now if someone does it to her.
“Not only was it a really sweet moment between us it was also very encouraging.
“Her therapists had been working with her on trying to get her to make intentional movements, like reaching out for a toy.
“The fact that she mimicked her daddy so precisely told us that she knew what she wanted to do, and she did it.”