Bucket with a checked list, diploma, graduation hat, and computer coming out of it; pink rose sticker on the bucket

Jessie's Bucket List - What is on Yours?

Everyone has a bucket list. A bucket list is something you want to do or experience before you die.

She wanted to be a programmer

In 1989, Jessie had a bucket list also. When she was in her early teens, Jessie expressed a desire to college and to major in computer programming. In high school, she was in the Senior Honors class where she was mainstreamed. Also, she was very intelligent. Jessie's avocation was being able to write computer programs. Jessie was keenly focused on her work. Every day she studied computer programming, on her own. She was an excellent student.

The hospitalization

Then, one day, she developed severe acute pneumonia and had to be treated in the intensive care unit of our local hospital. She spent two months there being aggressively treated by her pulmonologist and respiratory therapists. The doctors performed a tracheostomy. Subsequently, she became deconditioned and weak. The physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists worked with her tirelessly to rebuild Jessie’s strength and breathing abilities. Their goal was to restore her respiration and breathing ability. At last, the day came for her discharge home.

Jessie's bucket list

On her bucket list, Jessie wanted to graduate from high school. However, due to her mounting spinal muscular atrophy progression, she was unable to do so. Disappointed, but with resolve, she continued her education at home. Homebound teachers were sent to our home. Finally, the end of the year was rapidly approaching.

Graduating from high school

Jessie was overjoyed to be graduating. She was an above-average student. The high school invited her to attend her graduation in person. She was delighted to wear her cap and gown for the processional march to "Pomp and Circumstance." Jessie wanted to experience going on stage. There she was, before a filled auditorium to receive her diploma! My daughter was overjoyed to receive her high school diploma with other students in her graduating class.

This socialization was so necessary for her. With determination and resolve, Jessie was laser-focused on achieving her bucket-list goal regardless of her spinal muscular atrophy challenges. Accomplishment achieved!

Jessie begins fulfilling her bucket list

Next, the second part of her bucket list was being planned. Jessie wanted to further her computer studies at a college level. At that time, there were no computerized articulation programs available to evaluate children with speech disorders. Since I was completing my Masters degree in speech pathology, Jessie asked for my advice about developing one.

I told her that it might be a good idea to create one. Therefore, I started to write the outline. Jessie started writing the computer codes.

I requested a meeting with my professor to discuss the possibility of having Jessie develop the computer prototype. I would create the test criteria, choose the pictures, and use Jessie’s prototype to evaluate the children. Then, I would write my report.

I explained to my professor how my daughter would be assisting me with the actual development of the computer model. I explained how I was going to implement the project. My professor approved the idea wholeheartedly. Jessie began coding the program. The thesis was approved and successfully presented.

With this project, a speech pathologist can judge which sounds are misarticulated and write down the misarticulated sounds. My thesis would help the speech pathologists to plan their therapy sessions.

Jessie's feeling of accomplishment

Jessie’s second half of her bucket list was accomplished! She felt proud of herself. Jessie achieved her wish! She witnessed her goal! She was able to be able to achieve her goal to write a practical computer program that would benefit others.

In summary, Jessie was a go-getter. She was intelligent and a dedicated goal-achieving person. She was able to conceptualize and plan what was needed to produce an elemental articulation program for speech therapists working with children. Although she could not attend college, due to her medical issues, she experienced the concept needed for successfully defending a thesis. Jessie was given equal credit for her input for the thesis presentation. She was pleased with the outcome of her efforts.

Sadly, Jessie passed away several months later.

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