had twice received 1,000 times the correct dose—doctors
gave T. Boone and Z.G. a drug called protamine. Dennis
and Kimberly refused to leave their bedsides for the next
32 hours, gently touching and trying to soothe their babies.
“They were really in a lot of discomfort, crying,” Quaid says.
“It had to be painful.” Finally, late on the second day, the
infants’ blood coagulation levels inched into the normal
range. A neurologist and other specialists assessed brain and
motor functions, which, miraculously, appeared normal.
Though Quaid wanted the crisis kept quiet, news leaked
fast. “That may have been a blessing in disguise,” he says,
“because a lot of people told us later they were praying for
our babies. In the end, I believe that the power of prayer from
so many is what saved them. It’s obvious to me that a higher
power in the universe is controlling what’s going on.”
Whether by act of God or human error, Dennis Quaid was
now a very different man, with a very different mission.
e’re sitting on a patio at
Quaid’s sprawling estate in
Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades. For T. Boone and Z.G.,
this is home, though getting
here wasn’t easy. Quaid, 56,
and Kimberly Buffington—an
Austin, Texas, real estate agent
he met in 2003 and married in
2004—tried to get pregnant
for three years. Buffington,
The babies were born healthy; T. Boone weighed 6 pounds,
12 ounces; and Z.G., 5 pounds, 9 ounces. The proud parents
brought them home, welcomed by friends and family.
For a tired but happy Quaid, it seemed like a new high
in a mostly charmed life. The son of a Houston electrician,
Quaid dropped out of college and headed to Los Angeles to
pursue an acting career in his early 20s. Though he didn’t
achieve the immediate success of his older brother, Randy—
who was nominated for an Oscar within a year of arriving in
Hollywood for his supporting role in 1973’s The Last Detail—
Dennis eventually got noticed, most dramatically for playing
astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff in 1983, followed
by key performances in The Big Easy in 1986 and Great Balls
of Fire in 1989. He admits he handled fame badly, particularly by indulging a cocaine habit in the ’80s. He eventually
cleaned up, and, in 1991, he married actress Meg Ryan. The
pair divorced in 2001 but share custody and parenting of
their son, Jack Henry, now 18.
In 2002, Quaid received rave reviews for his portrayal of
a Texas high school baseball coach in The Rookie and for his
performance as a frustrated homosexual suburban husband
WHETHER BY ACT OF
GOD OR HUMAN ERROR,
DENNIS QUAID WAS
NOW A DIFFERENT MAN,
WITH A VERY
SHARON WILLIAMS/CELESTINE; GROOMING: BARBARA FARMAN/CLOUTIER); CADUCEUS: ISTOCKPHOTO
in Far From Heaven. At the same time, he was thriving in his
personal life. After The Right Stuff, he had learned to pilot jets.
On his 500-acre spread in Montana, he spent downtime riding his beloved horses and indulging his passion for golf. He
continued acting in movies, and in 2011 he’ll appear in Soul
Surfer, based on the true story of teenager Bethany Hamilton,
who lost her arm to a shark off the coast of Kauai in 2003.
But after the twins were born, Quaid committed to spend-
ing more time just being a dad. “Being a parent is one of my
favorite things in life,” he says. “It’s one of the most challeng-
ing experiences, and one of the most rewarding.”
On the afternoon of November 17, 2007, after the company
had left, Dennis and Kimberly settled in with their brood.
Then Kimberly, a hypervigilant new mom, noticed a sore
on T. Boone’s umbilical cord. Z.G. had a similar irritation
on one of her fingers. The couple’s pediatrician sent them
to Cedars-Sinai, where both children tested positively for
staph and were admitted for treatment with IV antibiotics.
Initially, Dennis and Kimberly would not leave the twins’
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