Friends, beginning May 7th Char was not feeling well, the pain so severe she was vomiting every 30 mins and this was like nothing in the past. She cancelled all of her appointments the following 2 days. Spent the entire time in bed, sleeping. And, as we reflect back, with 20/20 hindsight, it may have started about 2 weeks before with the lack of an appetite, no fever, but symptoms that seemed like she did. Lastly, checking her BP monitor over the weekend had huge fluctuations, but we convinced ourselves it was just the device; a cheap one bought on the internet.
But, on May 10th the reality came true, seeing how quickly this all happened can make anyone’s head spin. Just 2-3 days after noticing a small puncture wound, blood blister, we made a quick run to see her podiatrist, that finally set in stone the severity of the moment, an accumulation of all of that has transpired over the years...that she must not only meet this moment with courage, but also, as always, with grace. This was going to be a long haul, many changes to her health regime, and for her, something that is very difficult, opening herself up to receiving help!
During the emergency surgery, to get the infection out the doctors had to take most of the underside of the arch on her foot since she had a nasty infection that later turned out to be gaseous gangrene, a very, very serious condition. Within a day, Char became septic and spent the next 6 nights at Kaiser hospital. Once the infection really started to ravage throughout her body, her organs were majorly affected, her blood pressure fluctuated greatly by dropping precariously or soaring into stroke range. From there it went into her heart, and they rushed her from the surgery floor to the Cardiac floor at Kaiser (next would have been the ICU, if she didn’t improve). Luckily she did, and slowly improved over the next week. She was able to come home a week later, but with an IV in her arm for 24/7 antibiotics, a wound care pump on her foot to help it heal faster, and strict orders to stay off her feet for six months and to rest, rest, rest.
But, as all of you have followed this journey with Char over the last decade, this was the final straw for her.
For a short while, she thought her 40 year career was over. A scary prospect for most. But, for me, as her caregiver, this is where I am truly in awe of Char, impressed with her fortitude and perseverance!! Just days out of the hospital she began taking online classes to create a new career path for herself. Char is not one to feel sorry for herself, she wipes away any tears, and plows ahead. Each day, as I changed the dressings, brought meals to her, Char was on Zoom, learning new skills, like Reiki. Breath Work, and Creative Writing. Not only is she helping herself, and soon many many others, but succeeding in keeping her mental health up, when for some this would have been a devastating setback to lose your career, identity, and certainly a stable income.
She has taken her life back into her own hands. Beating all expectations from the Healthcare Professionals. I have seen it for myself! Half of them in total shock at the progress she has made, they have witnessed the near impossible, in just 4 weeks.
* Wound Care Pump off 2 weeks early ✔
* IV Drip for 24/7 switched to antibiotics 2 weeks early ✔
* 3X weekly Wound dressing changes moved to 1X weekly ✔
No Doctors can do this for her...but I know all of you, her Angels, her friends, will be there to support her back to better health, inspiring words to keep her going, and to see her on the other side when she can take all of your appointments again! And, it takes a Village. She has her Hairdresser guru taking her worries away, knowing her clients are in impeccable hands, her Caregiver angels in all of you can help too, but I think she is too proud to say she needs a little more help. Her savings is almost all gone, and still has some months to go before she can go back to somewhat of a normal hair schedule. Now, this is where all of you can help, donate a little extra you might have, or donate yourself by giving her positive words of encouragement, or donate your time, just to visit on the phone for awhile, since laughter is always the best medicine!!
"Keep looking up! I learn from the past, dream about the future and look up. There's nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a healthy day." ~ Rachel Boston