Helen Major Helen: Summer of the Wolf

First post: Aug 15, 2021 Latest post: Sep 29, 2021
It's been a long hard lonely summer.
It's hard to know where to begin, and I'm sure there are details I will leave out that in hindsight will seem absolutely critical. I only hope that I can somehow capture at least the broad outline here.

Along with many others, Helen most likely contracted COVID in early spring of 2020, and while she seemed to recover, she never really fully regained her sense of taste and smell. 

Then in October, the hospitalizations began with an extended stay over Halloween to treat her for bacterial septicemia.  A few more months of struggling at home, then back to the hospital in January, this time with pneumonia.

Early in 2021, Helen voluntarily restricted herself to a wheelchair in order to protect her left hip which was scheduled for replacement in July. She doggedly pursued PT to preserve as much function as possible while we all waited for surgery to relieve her chronic pain.

Then April happened, she had what unbeknownst to us, was her last treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis for months and then her hip broke in PT, the head of the femur literally crumbling in the surgeon's hands. Her first surgery to replace the hip and remove the titanium rod that had been supporting her reconstructed femur, took place at the beginning of May and she went back to rehab in the TCU, returning to Red Oak Drive to continue PT and OT at home on May 19th.

That lasted about two and a half weeks... back to Regions on June 6th, this time with not one but three separate infections including one in the surgical site from May. This meant a return to IV antibiotics and hip surgery number 2 to remove the diseased tissue and clean and replace the artificial joint. After many demoralizing false starts, she came home on June 14th with a continued course of IV antibiotics to be administered at home and a fistful of medications to manage her many conditions.

She stayed home for FIVE days.

Back to Regions on June 19th for treatment of severe malnutrition (see note above for the beginning of struggles with eating).


She transferred to a TCU on June 28th. but ultimately returned to Regions for a second surgery to clean the hip on July 26th.

In the last two months, Helen has endured seemingly endless medication changes and struggles, bouts of intractable pain from her many conditions - she's up to eight or nine separate diagnoses, feeding tubes to provide emergency nutrition while her stomach healed and more.  All of it complicated by the growing pain from her Psoriatic Arthritis which has been unable to be treated effectively since April.

She finally transferred to another, different TCU, on August 3rd, and even had a few visitors, before that too got shut down because of a COVID quarantine of the facility.

Some days are better than others, but each one is a struggle.

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