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TLC For Nurse: A Prosthetic Eye

The Early Show's "Week of Wishes" wraps up Friday with a special story about two women. One of them is a kind-hearted nurse and the other is a person who cares for her, co-anchor Harry Smith reports.

For 55 years, Goldeane Andresen gave her husband, Jack, and her family a lot of love and a lot of good times.

Jack Andresen says, "Goldeane was a very, very outgoing person. In fact, her nickname was Windy, because she talked so much."

But when Goldeane was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, everything changed.

Her husband says, "It's been 2 1/2 years since I've had a conversation with her. I miss her a lot." As does the rest of the family; Karen Andresen says watching her mother-in-law suffer is excruciating.

"It's devastating on the family," Karen Andresen says. "You don't realize the losses you endure until it actually happens to you. "

As hard as it is, there is one thing that gives them comfort: Nurse Erin Latten.

Karen Andresen says, "She relates well with Goldeane. She does a wonderful job."

Latten says, "I do know what it's like to have to live with something that I don't have control over."

Twenty years ago, Latten lost her eye to cancer, a painful ordeal with countless surgeries and attempts at reconstruction.

Her sister, Kathleen Lanik, says, "For her to walk in a room again and feel whole again and have that side of her face complete would just mean the world to her."

But when she couldn't get that, Latten moved on with her life. And as she did, she became an inspiration to everyone around her.

She says, "Life is precious. And every one of these residents is precious."

Knowing Goldeane's nurse has that kind of sentiment means the world to the Andresens.

So on Friday's The Early Show, Smith tells Latten she has been invited there under the pretext of a story about Alzheimer's. But she was really there because of Karen Andresen's request to the "Week of Wishes:"

"My wish for Erin is for her to get a prosthetic made for her left eye. I had a brief conversation with her and told her I thought about her when I saw Mr. Robert R. Barron on a television show. Mr. Barron is a former Senior CIA Disguise Specialist who is committed to restoring identities through prosthetic devices. I joked with Erin and told her that if I won the lottery that I would buy her a prosthetic. Well, I don't play the lottery much and would love Erin to be a recipient of your CBS Early Show Wish. In my heart I truly believe Erin deserves this."

Latten is a actually familiar with Barron's work, too She says, "I went to see him once. My understanding was that it was $1,000. It was actually $10,000."

So Barron surprised her with the following, "I'm here to make this happen."

This is not an inexpensive process, but The Early Show has figured out a way to make it possible.

Barron says, "Michael Hughes and I are going to work together. Michael is going to make the ocular piece. Then when he's finished with the ocular piece, he'll give it to me and I'll make the orbital piece that houses the ocular piece and that will restore your symmetry. It will have eyelids and look just like your other eye."

Latten, who was very emotional, explains, "Twenty years since I lost my eye. Twenty years in March."

And that is not all, Smith says. This will probably take a couple of trips to Virginia so American Airlines and American Eagle are generously going to provide air travel. And because they'll need a place to stay, the folks at Marriott Washington Dulles Airport are going to provide accommodations, too.

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