A few days ago a friend of my mom's opened up to her about a struggle
that she has been going through. To say the least, 'struggle' is a
gross understatement. My mom called me to ask if there was anything that
we could do to help her. We determined that Chris and Brett's
circumstances were ideal for crowd funding. One of the things that stuck
out to me the most about their story was that they have been married
for 32 years. In this day and age that's a long time. I, myself, have
been married for nearly five years and I look up to and greatly admire
those couples that, not only stick together, but still love each other
unconditionally after so many years. Chris and Brett's story touched my
heart as I hope it touches yours. I couldn't imagine losing my best
friend and partner. The story of Chris and Brett's love inspires me to
count and treasure every little moment I have with the one's I love. I
pray that they can get the help that they need and that Brett recovers
fully as soon as possible. I asked Chris to write a story about her
situation. The following is what she wrote:
The day I lost my soul mate and found a lost little boy.
It was one day after I received the wonderful news that our family was totally debt free (except for two student loans of which are mine because I returned to school at the age of 40) that I lost my soul mate and found a lost little boy.
Brett and I have been married for 32 years. It’s been a joyful ride. Of course, the normal ups and downs, but we are stronger for it. I knew from our third date that this was the man I was going to love for the rest of my life and he was going to love me even more.
On a Friday morning in October, I got a call at work from my daughter that Dad was acting really weird. And what that meant was he was standing in the kitchen in a t-shirt and underwear. Being seen in his underwear is unheard of and is a big no-no: his own personal pet peeve! He wasn’t responding to her questions and was “vacant”. Little did we know that at that very moment he was in the midst of experiencing an Ischemic Infarction or rather, what is known as a stroke. He had lost most of his right-sided vision in both eyes. He would startle if someone was on his right side and just ‘appeared’ there.
We got him to the emergency room and while he was being examined for the stroke protocol, he was asked who was with him. He pointed to his daughter and said, “That's my daughter.” He looked at me and said, “That’s my wife, Chris.” He knew my name, but when the doctor asked for his daughter’s name, he didn’t know it. There is nothing more heartbreaking than that; not to just her, but to him. He felt as though he did something ‘wrong’.
Jump ahead to a few hours later: after a helicopter ride to the stroke specialty hospital nearby and a quick thrombectomy procedure (removal of a blood clot in the brain), he was doing well. He spent almost a week in intensive care being taught new things: who he is, where he is, where he lives, what happened to him, what day it is, what year it is. Each time they asked him what year it was right now, it was either 2012 or 2013. It took almost five days for him to learn that it was 2016.
I was overjoyed on the second day in intensive care to be able to call our daughter and let her know that Dad just plain out asked, “How’s Tricia?” He remembered her name! It was wonderful.Still though, when he was asked what month it was, it was always different. It was either June or July even though the trees outside were changing colors. Sometimes, it was January. By the time he was released, he knew it was October.
On the Sunday that we were there, I asked him if he knew what day it was. He didn’t. So I said, “It’s Sunday.” And then I showed him the t-shirt I was wearing which happened to be our favorite football team, the Denver Broncos. I asked him, “Do you know what that means?” You should have seen his face light up! He just grinned and asked in the cutest little voice, “Is there a game today?”He was so excited. Just like a little boy.
He has no real concept of time. When he wakes up from a nap, he doesn’t know if it’s the same day or the next, especially now that it gets so dark so early!
He is having what I call the Dory syndrome. His short-term memory is severely affected. When we are planning an outing, like to walk the path around the pond, he asks several times what are we doing? Where are we going? What’s the plan? A few minutes later, he asks them all over again.
He is very fortunate that weariness and tiredness are the only ‘physical’ symptoms that show. He is able to read but it’s much like a second-grade comprehension. It takes him a very long time to read just a few words at a time and grasp their meaning. He can no longer drive because of the vision issue and he wouldn’t know how to get home if he knew where he was to start with.
He now has difficulty completing simple tasks. Cases in point: putting the toilet seat down (another of his own pet peeves!); taking the garbage out to the bin, not just to the back door; turning the shower off completely. He has finally learned that there are things behind the cupboard doors. For the longest time, it was ‘out of sight, out of mind’. When he attempts to put the clean dishes away, there is no rhyme or reason as to where things end up. Every night I go on a hunt for the utensil or lid or pan or dish that I would like to use. It’s like a little boy playing hide and seek with his mother.
Because the insurance is completely inadequate and he needs rehabilitative therapy and he is “unemployable”, we are in dire need of help. Brett is making progress every day. I have been self-educating myself on how to treat/rehabilitate and what to expect from stroke patients, but it’s apparent that professional rehabilitative therapy is necessary.
We have started to receive the medical bills. That little helicopter ride was over $32,000 – not one cent covered by insurance. The week in intensive care: over $188,000. The emergency room visit: $22,000. Tests and Diagnoses: tens of thousands. Anesthesia: $2200. Each Doctor (over 7 of them) at $699 each time they said, “Hey, how ya’ doin’?” Future rehabilitative therapy: unknown but thousands.
My soul mate’s life: Priceless. You can be sure that 100% of all donations will be used for the medical expenses. We are pursuing other avenues to get better insurance coverage and additional funding and negotiations with the providers. I never considered getting on this website for help, but at the urging of dear friends and family, I’m humbly asking for help in the form of donations or passing this on to all your friends.
Thank you and please be sure to appreciate your own blessings!