We are Kaleb and Corinthé, Linda’s kids.
Our mom chose a difficult life, she raised us as a single parent in the 80’s when it was not as socially acceptable as it is now. She is a strong woman, and a role model for us both. She makes us want to do the best we can for her, especially now, when she can’t do for herself. This is her story.
In March of this year, Mom started complaining of cold feet, and wore socks to try to keep them warm. If you know our mom, you know she HATES socks. Eventually she let me (Corinthé) see her feet – they were speckled and her feet were dusky grey. To start with, Mom refused to go to the hospital.
I took Mom to the hospital on March 15th where, after a 7-hour wait in emergency, they told Mom she had “Blue Toes” and should take cholesterol medication, modify her diet and make sure to get light exercise. As a former smoker and current diabetic, they were concerned about clots forming.
They Sent Us Home
Over the weekend, I took Mom to buy a walker to use, but it proved awkward in her small, 1-bedroom basement apartment. On March 20th, I took Mom to see her family doctor. The report from the hospital had been sent, reviewed, and Mom's doctor made some recommendations. Among those recommendations were that she not take cholesterol medication - which is a blood thinner and may have helped to save Mom's foot! - and increase the prescription narcotic Mom uses for her arthritic knees. The doctor didn’t look at Mom’s feet, she looked at the pictures I had taken prior to going to emergency. I asked what the next steps were.
“Go home and wait for them (Mom's feet) to smell” was her doctor’s recommendation.
It Get's Harder
My husband and I celebrated Mom's birthday on March 24th with dinner at her apartment, and received a video call from Kaleb and his family to add to the celebrations. Her feet were still cold and her limited movement over the previous weeks had stopped. At this point, she only moved to go to the washroom and spent the rest of her time almost completely bed-ridden in her chair in the living room. I had been checking on Mom twice a day since we were at the hospital, bringing her food and water each morning and afternoon. I took regular pictures of the progress of her feet, and tried to find community resources to help her in her home.
On March 25th, Mom developed a series of small blisters on her left foot.
On March 27th, we learned that Mom’s brother passed away.
On March 28th, Mom’s foot was almost completely covered with a large blister, formed out of the small series of blisters. I had booked an appointment at my doctor’s office, hoping to speak to to him about Mom’s condition and seeking community supports for her. The doctor refused to see me. I sat in the parking lot crying, trying to figure out our next move. I called Home Care to see if they could help us, but was told a doctor needed to refer Mom.
The only option left was to get Mom to go back to the hospital. Reluctantly, she agreed. The trauma of being sent away with no help after the last visit and the thought of having the ambulance come back, and this time knowing fire and rescue would have to be involved just horrified Mom. It took a lot for her to agree to go again, and I am so glad she did.
I called for the ambulance around 5:30 p.m. on March 28th. The paramedics who arrived were not the same quality, caring team that arrived on March 15th. These paramedics berated Mom for not taking better care of herself, asked her to walk to the stretcher, and acted impatient when it became apparent they would need fire and rescue to help Mom out of her apartment.
The emergency doctor we saw that night was amazing. He was caring, knew exactly what was going on, and had Mom admitted by 10 p.m. that night. The next 20 days are a blur of doctors, tests, medications, and blackening feet. Because of the delay after the first emergency visit and Mom’s lack of movement, there was not much that could be done for her left leg, it had to come off.
On April 17th, Mom’s left leg was amputated below the knee. On May 16th, she had surgery again as they had to remove the dead tissue and infection from her wound. On June 4th, she moved to a recovery facility where they could focus more on physiotherapy and healing now that her infections were managed.
As soon as we realized Mom wasn't going to be able to take the stairs anymore (we were still hopeful for the future), we moved all of her possessions to an apartment with an elevator. She’s never seen this apartment, and because she lost her leg, she never will. The building is simply not accessible enough for her to live there. Our choices at this point are government subsidized care facilities, expensive care facilities, or she could move in with my husband (Ian) and I.
This is Where You Come in
Mom decided moving in with Ian and I is what she wants to do. We can bring all of her belongings to our home, and we can modify it to become wheelchair accessible - at a cost.
We need to modify our front walkway and add a wheelchair lift. We need to modify our entrance and move some of the walls to allow Mom her own space and full access to the bathroom. We'd like to give her some of her independence back by acquiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle and a scooter so she can take herself to appointments, or to let her get outside on her own.
Our health care system is pretty terrific and we've met some wonderful health care workers. The thing is, there isn’t a lot of aid to help bring Mom home. We've applied for what grants are available to assist with the accessibility modifications, but they simply aren't enough. Any money we raise will go directly to the cost of renovations necessary to bring Mom home, and to increase her quality of life in whatever way we can.
Time is Short
Mom has been in the recovery facility since June, and they have told us she is ready to leave. Her discharge date is September 5th, and after that she has to go on a waiting list for a transitional unit.
Mom has given so much to so many and never asks for anything in return. It is a lot to ask, but your donations would mean the world to our family. We would love to give Mom something she hasn't had since her birthday in March - a home.
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