We arrived at the ER on Friday Feb 9 around noon.
After waiting in the lobby for 3 hours, he was finally taken back and hooked up to an EKG machine which showed he was having a heart attack at that moment. It was also determined he had a heart attack at some point in the previous 3 - 4 days which we didn't know about.
They felt his legs and feet which were extremely cold, hard to the touch and discolored. They determined he was not getting circulation in them. They inserted a sheath into his groin and started him on blood thinners. The treatment seemed to be working. His legs were warming up and color was returning. However, that evening, he had a stroke.
They immediately reversed the blood thinner treatment to try and avoid another stroke. His legs and feet then returned to being cold and started turning a purple color. They explained that they couldn't treat the legs without affecting his brain and heart. Treating one problem would cause the other problems to recur. The attending physician wanted to get an opinion from the Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Once the Orthopaedic Surgeon saw Bud, he suggested that Bud needed at least the left leg amputated above the knee... THAT DAY. He would decide during surgery if the right leg would require amputation of if he could wait for a few days... as I told him we had so many people praying for a miracle. The nurse came out to the waiting room and told us that both of Bud's legs had to be amputated. As you can imagine, it was devastating to hear this. So many questions ran through my mind about the future. Luckily I had close friends from our church in the waiting room with me. They were there for support and have been ever since.
Seeing Bud without his legs for the first time made me sick to my stomach. It was shocking. I expected to see more of his legs than were there. When his surgeon said above the knee, I didn't know he meant at Bud's thighs. I immediately worried about how he would ever get around. I knew I couldn't lift him having two torn rotator cuffs myself.
Bud was taken off the breathing tube the following day. He took the news well. He didn't know before surgery whether he would have one leg gone or both. I explained to him what the surgeon said. He wanted to see what they looked like. I took a picture of both legs and showed him. He was a trooper. He just nodded. I believe he was trying to stay strong for me. He has always been the strong one.
He had drains coming out of the amputated limbs for over a week. There were surgical bandages on his wounds until the drains were taken out. That's when I saw all the staples and blisters from skin stretching far too tight. It looked so painful I couldn't imagine what it felt like. Bud said he could still feel his legs and feet. He had pain in them. The nurse explained it was "phantom pain", a common symptom for amputees. Bud asked me several times to move his left or right foot or to put it up on a pillow. I did my best to explain why I couldn't do that. He nodded and said he understood. But the phantom pain continues for him daily.
The catheter because of being in for so long caused Bud to develop a urinary tract infection. He has been on antibiotics since his hospital stay and continues at the skilled nursing facility.
After 21 days in the hospital, Bud was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. He will be getting therapy to help him build up his upper body strength so that he will eventually be able to move himself from wheelchair to bed, bed to potty, and so forth. He is very weak. He cannot move from side to side when the nurses need to change his linens. He can barely raise his arms to grab the overhead "trapeze". I have been working with him to strengthen his arms by doing the exercises with him using bands.
Bud's HMO plan covers 100% for the first 20 days but then $150/day thereafter. We are praying he miraculously develops his upper body strength as quickly as possible. He wants to come home. He misses me and our three small dogs. He would like to be able to go to the bathroom on his own without a bedpan. He would like some privacy again. But for now, he has to gain his strength and work hard so that he can come home.
Not knowing what the future holds for Bud's care is worrisome. I may have to add to this list. But for now, these are the reasons why we are asking for help:
1) Out of pocket costs for Bud's 21 day hospital
2) Out of pocket costs for Skilled Nursing Facility days 21 through 100 if necessary
3) Materials and labor for ramp needed at front of house
4) Materials and labor for replacement of deck in back of house allowing Bud to use above ground pool for therapy
5) Upgrades and changes to inside of home for Bud's mobility
6) Bud's bathroom shower re-design for easy access in and out
7) Expenses to modify Bud's Jeep so he can eventually drive again
8) Out of pocket costs for home health care visits
9) Out of pocket costs for prosthetics
10) Traveling expenses to help Bud with future doctor and follow up visits and, finally
11) Replace loss of income for me as I devote my time to help Bud in his recovery and therapy
I have never asked for help before. I have always worked two jobs since college. I lost my job in the piano showroom June of last year as sales were too low to support my salary. I am the Worship Pianist at First Baptist Temple Terrace and will be there 22 years as of April 7th. But it is only a part time income. Neither of us rely on the government for support. He is on Social Security. I have not been able to stay on top of our bills with my part time job at the church and his Social Security monthly benefit. We are in a position I never thought we would be in. I feel ashamed that I need help. But I have been encouraged to set up this GO FUND ME page by several friends and family.
If you feel in your heart you would like to donate to Bud's care and expenses, we would appreciate every dollar. If you cannot donate monetarily, we covet your prayers for Bud's health and healing. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. <3
For those of you who are medically knowledgeable, here was his diagnoses from Lakeland Regional Hospital: