by AMY FORLITI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ? Abigail Taylor has a typical 6-year-old concern as she continues to recover from a triple-organ transplant: Will Santa know she's in the intensive care unit at a Nebraska hospital instead of back home in Minnesota.
"If anybody sees me leaving town and I don't have her stocking, please stop me, because that is very high on her list," Abigail's father, Scott Taylor, said at a news conference Thursday in Minneapolis. "I did talk to her today ... and she reminded me again to make sure to bring her stocking."
Scott Taylor, of Edina, said Abigail has been "in and out of it" since she received a small bowel, liver and pancreas transplant Monday at The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She needed the operation after the powerful suction of a pool drain ripped part of her intestinal tract from her body on June 29.
Taylor said he was able to get a smile out of Abigail when he told her Wednesday that President Bush signed legislation to strengthen swimming pool safety. That was something the little girl had wanted -- to make sure no other child had to experience her pain.
"Abigail is a girl whose courage has inspired a very important change in the laws in this country," said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who worked to make the bill's restrictions apply to existing public pools, not just new pools, and to require that public pools include technology to shut off suction when a drain is blocked.
"Abby may be a small girl, but she already has had a super-size impact," Klobuchar said. She credited the Taylor family -- and Scott Taylor's persistence -- for pushing the cause this year.
"As a father," Taylor said, "I needed something good to come from this accident. ... Abby was the force behind that."
Wearing a pink "Amazing Abby" bracelet on his wrist, Taylor thanked Klobuchar for supporting the legislation. He also thanked family members, friends and the community for their help. Within an hour of learning organs were available for Abigail, he said, the Taylor home was filled with people who would keep the home chugging along and care for Scott and Katey's three other daughters.
"Our family has just mobilized the village," he said. The Opus Corp. had a private jet ready to fly Abigail to Omaha for her surgery. Taylor said Abigail was a little nervous, but "surprisingly good" on the way to surgery.
"I think she's unfortunately gotten accustomed to private jet travel now," he joked.
Since the injury, Abigail has been in and out of the hospital, and has had to get her nourishment through an intravenous tube. If successful, the transplant should allow her to eat just like any other kid.
During one moment this week when Abigail was awake, Taylor said, she asked if it was finally OK to have a vanilla-flavored smoothie. She also asked if she could eat meat.
Taylor said the family is sort of on autopilot right now, and the ordeal has been tiring and stressful. He said he felt sickened to leave Nebraska on Thursday, but he had to come home to load up the family truck with things they forgot as they rushed out the door -- like toothbrushes and Christmas presents. He surprised his 8-year-old daughter at school and spent time with his two younger daughters as well.
He planned to drive back to Omaha on Friday, to rejoin Abigail and his wife.
Taylor said getting the pool safety legislation passed was a huge commitment, and Klobuchar called the Taylors' work "a true Christmas gift."
But for Taylor, the true present came from another couple, who Taylor hopes to get the chance to thank in the future.
"I don't know anything about the other family whose child donated these organs ... Through their loss, they were able to give the ultimate gift to my daughter," he said.