730 Days and Counting….
Think about being flat on your back for two years not knowing if you’ll ever make it back home again. Two years lying in a bed means a lot of missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and more.
My name is Frenchie and I am doing something I have never done before; I am reaching out to the community for financial support. With your help, getting me back home before by the holidays is a reality I never dreamed of.
I have been a quadriplegic since 1987 and I have supported myself since my accident occurred 30 years ago. I am proud of the fact that I work full-time and live an independent life.
This all changed in October 2015. How this Happened: Flesh Eating Bacteria
Imagine something so tiny, but so powerful, it changes your life forever! For me, an invisible yet deadly bacterium is what disrupted my life in 2015.
A flesh-eating bacterium entered a small bed sore on my buttock and then infected my blood and bones. As a result, I had to get the upper part of my thigh bone removed, leaving a gaping wound, the size of a grapefruit. While at the hospital, I acquired five additional serious wounds.
During the next two years of hospitalization, I was diagnosed with osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and COPD (a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe). I was on oxygen 24/7. I had a Foley catheter and a colostomy procedure plus a feeding-tube inserted for delivery of daily nutrients and protein.
My wounds did not heal. I got sicker. I lost weight. At six feet, two inches tall, I weighed only 107 pounds. Nursing staff provided my daily medications. I realized that I was gradually losing my independence, which I prided myself on.
I wondered if I would survive.A Long Road to Recovery
With sheer determination and will, I’ve crawled back to health. My doctors state that my progress has been significant!
After surgery in September 2017 to close my original wound, I now weight train 5 days a week while lying in bed. Weight lifting has built my upper body strength and I now weigh 150 pounds. This is important as once my wounds are healed, I can transfer independently into a wheelchair.
Lifting weights has also improved my cardiorespiratory fitness. My blood circulation is so improved that my COPD is under control and I no longer need oxygen 24/7.
Despite the setbacks that I have experienced during the past two years, I have maintained a positive attitude. I am determined to go home and resume my life. I am slowly recovering, and I am finally optimistic about my future.Medical Care Will Bankrupt You
Unfortunately, I have have spent down my retirement funds to pay for continued hospital care. I am reaching out to you to raise money so that I may be able to go home, live independently and be a productive member of my community.
To do this, I need to buy an air fluidized bed, an oxygen converter, purchase home care for stoma, colostomy, and wound care (much of which will not be covered by insurance), purchase a new wheel chair with a specialized pressure sore cushion and more.
With your support, I hope to spend my next birthday which is in March at home.
In closing, thank you for reading my story.Funding a New Bed
The $40,000 I hope to raise will help cover the cost of an air-fluidized bed and a new wheelchair with specialized pressure sore cushion.Photo Timeline
From after my initial surgery in October 2015 to November 2017, it's been a long road with two steps back and one step forward.October 2015:
A week after surgeryNovember 2015:
Outside at Northeast Rehab in Salem, NHDecember 2015:
At home for a brief period during the holidays.January 2016:
Back in the hospital, not feeling great.October 2016:
After countless set-backs, finally for the first time in 2016, I'm back in my wheelchair for a few minutes.April 2017:
Again more set-backs but for the first time, looking out a window.May 2017:
First time in over 18 months that I actually can get outside. The small things in life that can make you happy.May 2017:
First time eating dinner at a table in over18 months. Compliments of our favorite restaurant Fish Bones in Chelmsford, MA.May 2017:
Working out with weights, progressively adding more weight each week.
Making good progress. First time rolling independently in my chair in over 18 months.July 2017:
First time in 18 months that I am wearing pants. Finally, I feel like a human.September 2017:
Phoning home and feeling silly!September 2017:
Using Skype to feel closer to home and loved ones.November 2017:
With my wife Heike, our new normal until I can get home.My Goal by Christmas 2017:
Getting back home to my previous life.November 2017:
Lowell Sun InterviewDecember 2017:
Celebrating the Holidays with ChampagneJanuary 2018:
Getting up and around at WhittierFebruary 2018:
Getting Ready to go Home!