While caring for children, Karen contracted Campylobacter Intestinal Infection and went into sepsis. During the hospital stay, the doctor's saved her life as she began to go into shock however she developed multiple blood clots in the lung as well as a lung infarction. She then simultaneously had painful pancreatitis. The clots caused hypoxia and an intrapulmonary shunt, which makes it difficult for Karen to breathe normally and she now uses oxygen as needed. After recovering from the infection, Karen suffered another blood clot in the lung and one in the leg. She now must remain on blood thinners for life. Following this, she began to lose function in her leg and foot and was diagnosed with a painful neuropathy. This required physical therapy and use of a brace to keep her foot from dropping.
Most recently, Karen started rapidly losing weight and her digestive system began to shut down. Her stomach was not digesting food or it would get stuck inside and she was unable to tolerate enough liquid to sustain herself. She was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, Failure to Thrive and Severe Malnutrition. She was admitted to the hospital at a weight of 94 lbs and was so weak and frail that she hardly looked alive. Doctors aren't sure if nerve damage caused the stomach to stop working, or the infection so they operated on her ankle and removed some of the nerve to study. This gave her a more permanent loss of function. They placed a feeding tube in her nose first to test whether or not it would be effective. This tube bypassed the stomach and put food in liquid form right into her small intestine. It helped her get nutrition, but her body only tolerated the most expensive formula. The doctors then placed a more permanent jejunostomy tube in Karen's intestine. After the procedure, she developed a very serious complication - Pneumatosis Intestinalis. This means air was trapped inside her colon and intestine and it could potentially kill her so she was moved to ICU. After being monitored in ICU, it was decided that another surgery to remove the air would mean Karen would lose her colon so the plan was to wait and see if she could remain stable without aggressive measures and hopefully improve over time. She has been released from the hospital on a 24 hour feeding regimen through a pump, as she cannot tolerate foods by mouth. This enteral feeding pump is expensive and she does not own it - its being rented from a surgical company. Karen is on a lot of medication, digestive enzymes, and supplements for malnutrition. All of her enzymes and vitamins are not covered by her limited state plan, as she is no longer covered by her employer's insurance and could not afford cobra.She was given a limited amount of dressing supplies to put on her surgical wounds upon leaving the hospital and is now almost out of gauze, tape, tegaderms, saline, ointment, etc. These are not covered items. She currently has no substantial income as her temporary disability has run out and her long term case is in appeal.
Karen needs your help now and every little bit will add up. The following items are her short term goals to start her off with what she needs: PRIORITY - enteral feeding pump of her own, spare pump battery, auto charger for pump, travel bag for pump, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, portable IV pole, safety bar for shower, medic alert bracelet, gauze, tegaderm, saline, hypoallergenic tape, swab sticks, antibiotic ointment, oral glucose, thiamine, liquid centrum multivitamin, calcium, digestive enzyme Bacid - as well as all monthly bills and living expenses until long term disability comes.
Any help is MUCH APPRECIATED. Karen lives alone so if you cannot help financially, perhaps you can offer her some company or a phone call. It is very difficult for her to leave the house due to her breathing issues at times and she must remain on her pump being fed through the tube in her belly at all times. She has difficulty walking and is still very weak. Imagine if someone told you that you couldn't eat food anymore....it has been a lot for her to deal with and she faces each challenge with the most strength she can. She never gives up and she deserves our support. Nurses get sick too!
Thank you to everyone for reading her story.
Adam (beloved friend)
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