In early September 2013, a mutual grammer school friend contacted me and reported a tragedy that Christine Butler Atwood, another childhood friend, was in a car crash, July 2013, in MS, her current residence. Tragically, she was thrown from the passenger seat and severed her spinal cord causing permanent paralysis from the waist down. Unfortunately she did not have medical insurance and subsequently recieved very little rehab. Christine battles anxiety and depression, and apparently has for many years. Accompanied by the consequential effects of these medical conditions she was unable to absorb the sudden and horrific change of lifestyle. She percieved a dead end.
In pursuit for more options, this mutual friend, Liz, reached out to me, aware that I am an occupational therapist to ask about other options, however, everything I recommended they had already researched with no progress because no insurance. She was trapped in a tough and seemingly impossible situation.
My heartstrings were tugged and the following month (Oct 2013) I recruited a PT friend to travel from ATL to rural southwest MS, hoping to serve this person I had not seen or spoken to in 35 years. That's either God led or crazy. It was God led for both Janet and me. Despite a flat tire in the middle of 7 lanes at I 85 and I 20 junction that could have killed my dear friend, aiming to meet our starting point, we prayerfully and vigilently arrived safely in MS. After sharing hugs and tears, we got right to work, and "wow!!" we sure had it cut out for us. Christine was in such a poor emotional state, running the gambit of negative emotions. Other than an occasional fleeting glimpse of hope, she focused on nothing positive, she couldnt have. We completed a few home modifications. Home Depot even paid for our supplies! How completely unexpected and motivating! It was due to eavesdropping employees, who listened to our quirky "on the fly" plans for modifying what we could. We also offered therapy techniques.
To no avail, emotional topsy turvy mindset sabotaged any AND EVERY effort to regain independence and a desire to reingage into life (community). Despite any rehab efforts, she simply tanked, possessing NO self led motivation to pull herself over the hump, and immediate daily support was limited. So many variables worked against her, physically, emotionally and relationally. Janet and I returned to our daily lives and checked in on her from time to time. (I wish everyone could meet Janet, wow she's an angel on earth!!) Once again, in May 2014, Mother's Day, I checked in on her. Again, She was in such a terrible emotional state, progressing, and impossible to ignore/keep a comfortable distance. Her world continued to crumble, unable to manage life. Family and friends had done all they possibly could, reaching the end of their rope (though never losing hope). It is impossible to make someone change if they dont want to accept imposed consequences that arent deserved by anyone and help themselves (ask for help). This is especially the case when efforts are extended by loved ones. Christine's ball & chain rapidly approaches an ocean.
... I felt the Lord tugging at me ... "Ugh, Really God?"
I knew she wasnt properly managed, was a victim of circumstances: additional consequences that added salt to the wound, complicating and slowing the process. I knew insurance affordability and lack of service provision was an additional source of weight adding to her ball and chain. I knew she unfortunately would fall through the cracks, seemed a now or never deal. I also knew my God-led rehab colleagues and I could AND WOULD rather quickly pull her up to functional [PHYSICAL] independence (within a few weeks), no prob. However, I also knew she would tank yet again, returning to ground zero. Such would be the case with EVERY physical rehab effort, void of psychological (self regulated emotion and mental) rehab/training. Christine would never make it on her own through self sabotaging emotional turbulence without the guidance of professionals. Her only option is to CONCURRENTLY address PHYSICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL obstacles. BUT....How would she ever find such a comprehensive approach? or even know this was a solution at all? I started to search for a solution, though of course didnt literally include me!! I prayed and talked with Christine often, hoping to keep her encouraged. Led to ask my husband Greg if I could help her in some way, we prayed. Receiving clarity, we boldly decided to create an unprecidented opportunity for her. [[[under specific conditions that must be met while here.]]]
She agreed to all conditions enthusiastically.
Led by Dr. Holmes Marchman (physiatrist) and Marshall Bruner PsyD. Amedisys (Tugaloo) Home Health Agency of Gainesville has agreed to accept Christine for
1. probono home health services (Nursing, Physical Therapy, and psych nursing is a possibility as well)
2. discounted and probono rehab services, out patient
3. discounted personal care assistance [2 local businesses ]
* A HELPING HAND HOME CARE
* SOUTHERN COMPANIONS
4. Adaptive bathroom equipment donated by a friend
5. Discounted Materials, products, supplies and equipment
6. Labor for spatial modifications and installations to our bathroom and her bedroom (sink, toilet/tub, low pull out drawers, doorway, grab bars, accessible shelving)
7. Anemities for her bedroom and bathroom, to motivate her)
Christine arrived August 19th, promising to work hard through graduation day, Sept. 13th, when her husband arrives. Together they will depart back to MS to begin a new program, a well researched plan for a strong continuum of care, facilitating lasting change success!!!
By day 5 (Saturday August 23rd)
*transferring with more independence and confidence.
*motivated by others, her surroundings
* listens to testimonial stories of others
*asserts herself to navigate around with less support
*beginning to assert herself w/more self care and home management activities
*tackling her fears with less hesitation, more willingness 4 change
We spent an evening together last Thursday in Dahlonega, GA at the Crimson Moon to relax and enjoy live entertainment by a dear friend: April Cummings Rook and friends. Connor Pledge...OMG, check him out on itunes and pandora, and Matt, another great songwriter.
Your continued prayers are needed for a God led plan and ....
for God to be in every detail of this intense and comprehensive rehab program, setting her sail into living her best life!
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for your prayers and financial contribution to this worthy cause (no donation is too small or big) We look forward to meeting our goal, listed above, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Kelly Russo Stone
Childhood Friend and Occupational Therapist
- marlene mitchell coburn
- courtney rome
- Carl resweber
- Claudia Morales
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