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Against All Odds Part 3

Against All Odds Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 

Despite seemingly impossible circumstances, love bloomed.
On November 17, 1989, after her usual diary entries about her friends' deaths, Kim wrote:

"Tonight, David and I went out to the picnic tables in the back of the hospital and kissed for the first time. I have so many deep feelings for him because he is also my buddy, best friend, supporter and he loves me as much as I love him. God, please let this relationship work out."

To the shock of their families, friends, and doctors, Kim and David announced their engagement.
"Both of you are sick." David's father told him, pleading with his son to reconsider. "You're sick! You two can't possibly take care of yourselves."
'"Do you realize what will happen?" Kim's mother asked her tearfully.
"Do you realize that one of you is going to die in the other's arms?"
"I think Kim realized this was going to be the last chance she had to experience love." Dawn says.
"I still thought it was a little crazy. I had all those motherly questions about how they could handle their finances and insurance if they got married and who would take care of them if they both got too sick to get out of bed.
But one day the chaplain at Presbyterian told me, 'Dawn, we don't know how long they have on this earth. At least let them have it together.'
And I said, 'You're right.'"

(Read Related : Wedding Poems)

On Kim and David's wedding day, the church was filled with the sound of coughing, as Dallas' cystic fibrosis community came out to see them vow to stay with each other in sickness and in health. Ushers had two stools ready for Kim and David in case they needed to sit down. But as everyone later said, Kim had never looked healthier or more beautiful. The shoulder pads in her wedding dress gave her body a fuller look. Her complexion was even a little pink.

After checking into the local hotel where they spent their wedding night, David asked the bellman to carry their oxygen bottles up to their room.

"We might need them," he said with a confident grin,
"in case we get too excited."

They lived on their meagre monthly disability checks. Their one-bedroom apartment resembled a hospital room. It was crammed with oxygen tanks and boxes of syringes and medicines and the refrigerator was stocked with IV bottles. Domestic tasks were made difficult by their inability to get around like normal. They needed a day to clean the apartment and do the laundry. Kim was too weak to lift the mattress and change the sheets.

(Read Related : Romantic Love Letters)

At the grocery store, she shuffled slowly down the aisles, carrying her portable oxygen bottle with the tubes stuck up her nostrils. By night time, they were exhausted. Kim would lie on the couch while David would recline beside her in his easy chair.

Yet they kept insisting that they were happier than they ever could have imagined. He was constantly buying her huge four-color Hallmark cards, the mushier the better. She, in turn, would write him long love letters.
"We are going to conquer the unconquerable."

By 1992, however, Kim was taking a turn for the worse. She had been stuck with IV needles so many hundreds of times that her veins had collapsed. Her clogged digestive system was causing constant diarrhoea. She was losing feeling in her fingers and toes and had begun to walk with even more of a staggering gait.

Because her body was unable to absorb food, she was rapidly losing weight. She became ashamed to show herself in public.
David wrote her a letter which said, "I love your body just the way it is. Your perfect body puts mine to shame! You are the most beautiful woman I know inside and out. I love you with all my heart and soul! Please believe me!"

David never left Kim's side during her frequent trips to the hospital. At night, he slept on a cot in her room. Because she was so weak, he held the blow dryer to dry her hair. To entertain her, he wheeled her over to the hospital's maternity ward so she could look at the newborn babies. If she wanted butterscotch candy in the middle of the night, he drove to a store and bought her some.

Against All Odds Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 

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