Our entire story of thinking David had the flu to losing his foot, part of his leg, and losing part of his spine to Osteomyelitis can be found on www.caringbridge.org and type in Davidbrownmaine. For the condensed version, please continue below.
In March 2013 David required rotator cuff surgery. During recovery he got a sore on his toe from an old pair of slippers. He went to the wound clinic until it was healed. In June 2013 he was laid off of his job of 22 years with a 15 minute notice from the Washington County Jail. When this happened we lost our health insurance. In July 2013 he had pneumonia and was at DECH for 6 days.
Sadly, our real story starts October 23,2013 when he was air lifted from DECH to Portland, ME. for a bone infection in his foot called Osteomyelitis which literally eats your bone and bone marrow away. There are two ways of getting this infection: one is an open wound and the other is a staph infection. How he actually got this infection we will probably never know other than it was likely from one of the earlier mentioned incidents.
Because of the Osteomyelitis in his left foot, it and part of his leg required amputation. While in rehab he complained of back pain constantly but they sent him home without looking at it. A week after he returned home I had to call for an ambulance as he could not sit up or get out of bed. DECH had to send him via ambulance back to Portland because the Osteomyelitis had spread to his spine and has eaten away his L3, L4, & L5 discs and vertebra making him completely bed ridden. He now wears a back brace to be able to sit up in a wheel chair. Throughout all of this, his spirits have been remarkably high and he is excited to receive a prosthetic foot in the next few months. As to when his spine will heal, only God can answer that question.
To allow David more independence a critical part of our home must be retrofitted for him to use daily and that is our bathroom. Even with a prosthetic he will continue to use his wheel chair because of his spine. Again, without the back brace on him, he is completely bed ridden. At present his wheel chair cannot go into the bathroom so he must wheel to the door and then use a walker and hop on one foot to do something as simple as go the bathroom. This puts a lot of strain on his only good foot and is not recommended by any of the specialists he has seen.
To make matters worse, our daughter has had her own health issues and is also unable to walk or use her hands at this time. She describes her hands as "lobster claws". She and her husband currently reside in Portland but her husband is serving in Afghanistan with the Maine National Guard. This adds an additional burden on us and frankly, I'm overwhelmed.
When I can, I work a 20 hour a week part time job but caring for two people has taken more and more of my time and work tends to elude me much of the time. We have been living off what I can manage to make but more importantly, we have been living off the graciousness of family, friends, and David's Masonic Brothers. David's unemployment stopped the day he was admitted to the hospital in October. We are too young to retire so we have filed for Social Security Disability, but have been told it could take up to two years before we are approved.
Over the 31 years we have been married, we have been involved in a lot of community organizations which is why I bring this up to our community. We created the first web site for the Blueberry Festival, Margaretta Days, Maine Blackfly Breeders Association, and Porter Memorial Library. We have also been active in helping those community endeavors faithfully. For 16 years we as a family were the only ones that helped Ralph Jan clean up after the Blueberry Festival's fish fry. David has been on the Board of Trustees for Porter Memorial Library for over 21 years and President of it for 6 years. We are both co- founders of the Machias Historical Society and Margaretta Day's Festival. In fact it is David's secret recipe that makes those great meat pies! David has been a Mason at Harwood Lodge for 13 years. While raising our daughter I participated in the community by being a Sunday school teacher, Girl Scout leader, treasurer of her daycare, and willingly chaperoned school outings.
Normally we would never reach out to others with our problems and would quietly carry on but the stress of no money, no insurance, and two very sick individuals requires us to reach out past our family and friends to our community for financial help. If you would be so kind as to help us, we would be eternally grateful and once we are on our feet again, we will gladly pay it forward. We have faith that God will continue to take care of us.
If you have the ability to offer some of the equipment we will need to retro fit the bathroom at cost, or you are an experienced licensed carpenter, plumber, or electrician and can offer help that way, please give us a call, we are in the phone book.