Please help me purchase a car transfer seat and chair ramp for Linda, my wife of 45 years, by donating to this campaign.
Linda has had 14 surgeries on her spine since 2007. She has a degenerative condition that is not going to get better. All we can do is minimize the damage. She's also prone to getting infections in her spine which makes the degeneration worse. Despite everything she has a great attitude and tries to not let it get her down. She's a great companion and I couldn't ask for a better mate.
Each operation has reduced her mobility. She had her 14th operation in June of 2019. After that one she lost the ability to stand or walk. She is able to sit up and can transfer, with assistance, from a wheelchair to a seat using her upper body to lift herself and slide from place to place.
What's the current situation?
I made a transfer board (literally a board) to help her move between a vehicle seat and her chair.
This is not very comfortable for her and is not as safe as I would like. There's also no room for me to fit in the door opening to assist when she's transferring making it harder on her and leaving her open to falling.
Because of the discomfort and difficulty of getting in and out of a vehicle she rarely leaves the house except for necessary medical appointments.
What is a transfer seat and how can it help?
A transfer seat is essentially a powered vehicle seat that assists someone in entering and exiting a vehicle. In her case it will replace the front passenger seat. The seat rotates out of the vehicle then lowers (or raises) to match the height of Linda's chair. From there it is a relatively easy and safe slide from seat to seat outside the vehicle. Once on the transfer seat it will pick her up and rotate her back into position inside the vehicle.
If you are not familiar with these and are curious, check out the following website for the BraunAbility Turny Evo. This is the seat I want to get for Linda. https://www.braunability.com/us/en/mobility-products/vehicle-seating/turny-evo.html
What about the chair ramp?
When we do go out I need to be able to take her power chair with us. Ramps and chair lifts are more expensive than one might think so I made her a ramp out of plywood.
This works but was never intended to be a permanent solution. It is also heavy. I have my own medical issues and am starting to feel the affects of my age. It won't be long before I am not able to use this.
Why do I need your help?
In our 45 years together I have never asked anyone for financial assistance. I was raised in a time when you dealt with what you had and did without if you didn't have enough for something you wanted. But this year has been an unusual year for us.
Doing without is not an option when it comes to things Linda needs to make her daily life tolerable.
Linda's surgery mentioned above is just one of many issues that came up in 2019. I had back surgery in February and missed 6 weeks of work.
On June 2nd, 1 day after her birthday, Linda went to the emergency room in severe pain. She ended up having 3 multi-day hospital stays and 3 long stays in in-patient rehabilitation before coming home. She was either in the hospital or Rehab from June 2nd to July 17th.
When it was time for her to come home it was obvious she could not completely take care of herself so I took early retirement to assist. That was another 6 weeks without income while I waited for Social Security to kick in. Plus the loss of a working income for a Social Security income hasn't helped.
Since coming home we have had to acquire a powered wheelchair and a set of very expensive full leg braces that we hope will eventually let her stand up a little. She also has weekly visits from home health care and physical therapy.
Covering 4 surgeries, 3 rehab stays, 12 weeks without income, and my share of her equipment and ongoing medical visits has depleted the money I had available.
How will your donation be used and when is it needed?
We currently have a van that I use for transporting Linda that is 20 years old and about worn out. We do have another car but it is 15 years old, has 233,000 miles, and also needs work.
I have an account from my working days that will pay out in late April or early May of 2020. When it does, we're going to replace both vehicles with a newer used vehicle. I don't know exactly how much I will have but I hope to be able to buy a 2014 or newer model.
That is when I want to install the seat and ramp. The seat will be the Braunability Turny Evo mentioned above. It costs $8,500 installed. We haven't settled on the ramp yet but they typically cost about $1,000. A total of $9,500.
Any amount you can donate will be greatly appreciated. Even the smallest amount will help reduce the amount I have to borrow. Linda told me she isn't having any more operations and I hope she is right but history tells me otherwise. Any reduction in the amount I have to borrow will make life more tenable when I have to start paying for her next hospital visit on just her Disability and my Social Security.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your donation. I hope you have a good 2020. God bless all of you.
- Gary Smith
- Kay Peele
- Lynne Bahng
- Marli Nelson