“Sometimes a small thing you do can mean everything in another person's life”
One moment can change everything. Imagine you are talking to your loved ones about memorable moments from your past. Now imagine you fall asleep and wake up to those precious moments gone in the blink of an eye. You try to have a conversation but your mind goes blank and you cannot find the words to express yourself and a fear comes over you. Now on top of everything add a stutter making it extremely difficult just to get your words out. Unfortunately this is just a portion of what Catreen deals with everyday due to her serious heart and brain conditions.
One sunny day this past summer Catreen and her daughter Caydance were in the garden planting flowers together. All of a sudden Caydance looked over and saw her mother face down in the dirt. She tried to wake her but there was no response. Caydance then yelled for her Father for help. Scott came running and saw Catreen laying there and immediately called 911. The ambulance came and took Catreen to Exeter hospital. She awoke surrounded by nurses and doctors and had no idea what had happened. The doctor told her that she had lost conciseness and they are doing testing to see what happened. After what seemed like forever the doctor finally came back and told her that she had a seizure and she has a heart aneurysm.
Almost a year later she had a stroke in her sleep and when she woke everything was different and strange. She couldn’t speak or form one sentence and she lost her motor skills in her left arm completely for a little while. When she went to the hospital they ran tests and told her she had a stroke which left her with brain damage. Catreen had never been so terrified in her life. She never thought she would have a stroke at the age of 31. Yesterday as far as she knew she was healthy and today she has serious heart conditions. She was observed in the hospital for a few days and then sent home, told to rest and was referred to a specialist.
The day of the specialist appointment came and she feared the unknown. She went in and sat down across from the doctor. Quietly she waited while he went through her files. He closed the file looked at Catreen and told her that the brain damage could be permanent, she has three bad heart valves and there’s heart failure. Then he said that the aneurysm and hole required open heart surgery. A wave of emotions flooded Catreen as she tried to take in the information she received. She left the doctors feeling petrified and overwhelmed.
The side effects from the stroke were hard for Catreen to handle. The brain damage caused Catreen to have severe memory problems, a stutter when she speaks, difficulty concentrating and trouble with some fine motor skills. These effects make everyday life much more difficult. She is fearful about talking to others because it has become very challenging just to speak accurately. She no longer remembers things she once knew including cherished memories from her childhood. Catreen and I were talking about times from when we were young and Catreen could not recall most of the instances that I brought up. As we were talking I noticed this scared and heart breaking look on Catreen’s face. Her eyes started to tear up as she glanced over at me and said “I feel lost". In that moment I truly realized how much my sister was hurting.
Due to the seriousness of her conditions she can no longer work. She had to leave her dream job as a Veterinary technician. Now their family is down to just her husband Scott’s income. His income alone is not enough for them for afford Catreen's past and current medical bills, her open heart surgery and the expenses for their home and family. The Dow family now has a large sum of bills they cannot afford and a worry for Catreen’s health and wellbeing. She does not have health insurance which makes medical fees almost impossible to afford.
Please help the Dow family in their time of need. Your donations will go to Catreen's past and current medical bills, open heart surgery and their house and living expenses. Together we can help the Dow family have a happy, safe and healthy future. Thank you for taking your time to read their story and every donation is greatly appreciated!
- Carol McQuilken
- Robyne Patent Harrison
- Laurie Mantegari
- Cynthia Sullivan
- Jonathan Cote
Organizer and beneficiary