Hutch Back On His Feet

Last year on his birthday, I wrote the tribute below to my brother-in-law, Hutch, who was in the hospital recovering from complete paralysis caused by Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GBS)  with the exception of his eyes and eyelids. For the 7 months prior to his birthday, Hutch was trapped in his own body, fully aware, unable to communicate for months. Gradually he was able to breathe on his own and then talk. I can't think of a situation more horrific.

Fortunately, Hutch is home now and his condition has improved, but he still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, which is why we are asking for your help. So many  friends, family, coworkers and even strangers have been asking how they can help. Now, with insurance having covered well over a million dollars in medicial bills, there are many things they are refusing to cover that are necessary for his recovery.  In addition to the stress of their 'new normal',  the worry of a dwindling retirement account is a burden they should not have to carry. 

Hutch sleeps in a hospital bed in the living room, has a motorized wheel chair and is given showers on their deck while the weather is warm (a perk of living in the woods). He started feeding himself recently (he deservingly plowed through 5+ chocolate chip cookies!), and is regaining some of the large motor functions with his arms and torso, but still is unable to walk and perform many tasks that require small motor functions. He actually started texting again for the first time in 1 1/2 years! Fortunately they now have a large van with a lift so they are able to get out somewhat, but are limited by the pain Hutch endures in his legs and lower body from sitting in the wheel chair. He was recently hospitalized for several days with a large blood clot that went from his knee to his groin, and the recovery has been painful both physically and emotionally, as you can imagine.

You would think this situation might break a person down to the point of madness, but Hutch is steadfast in gratitude for his life, his family and friends, and even the smallest blessings that you and I often overlook.

The expenses are rapidly increasing;  to cover a piece of equipment that will help him stand and eventually walk, redo the bathroom to accomodate his wheelchair when the weather gets too cold to shower outside, van repairs, hospital bills and so much more.

In addition to your ongoing prayers during his recovery, financial contribututions are very gratefully requested to ease the burden of Hutch's illness. Your love and support has been a bright light for Kim, Hutch and Christopher in such a time of darkness, and means more than you or I will ever know! God Bless and thank you!!!
 ~ Beth Shearn (Hutch's sister-in-law)

(Posted on Facebook November 23, 2016...)

I want to say "Happy Birthday Hutch", although I'm not sure how happy a birthday can be when you've been paralyzed in the hospital for almost 7 months? Well, he's a strong, stubborn SOB who keeps fighting, recovering, like no one I've ever seen, and from what I see he has found 'happy' in ways you and I take for granted. I think happy for Hutch is breathing on his own, finally being able to talk again (and make everyone laugh), holding up his arm on his own (to 'smack' my sister in the face), wiggling fingers, moving his legs and feet. Happy is sitting outside in the sunshine and fresh air after months of being inside. Happy is drinking water again, and definitely the first taste of food in 6 months - happy is mashed potatoes with gravy, chocolate munchkins dipped in coffee...soup. Stripped away from all the 'things' in life that we all THINK make us happy, really where would we be without love, family and our health?

I wholeheartedly believe that every tragedy brings miracles, if you keep your eyes up to see them, and try to stay connected to God (Source/Higher Power/The Universe). Sometimes the miracle is in having someone we love BE our eyes, while we're blinded by pain, fear, and are lost in the darkness. My sister and nephew have been this amazing light, every day, EVERY day, taking turns for the past 7 months by his side, fighting the fight with him. My (almost 80 year old, amazing) Mom has driven 2+ hours each way probably every week (often with my 82 year old amazing Dad) for the past 7 months to show love and support. His friend Chuck organized and installed a whole new driveway and soon a lift to accommodate a wheelchair, his son-in-law hung the flat screen TV, and more.

Hutch, while you've had your own personal tour through Guillian-Barre hell, you may not realize how this experience has affected everyone in your life. Everyone has pulled together to support you, which has taken down barriers and really brought us closer than we were before. Your family and friends have been by your side, whether in person or not, in thoughts and prayers day after day. Also, Kim now knows what I've ALWAYS known - that she sure as HELL can take on the world and make anything happen!

I know today and tomorrow will probably suck a little (ha) being in the hospital on your birthday and on Thanksgiving, but I want to say thank you for being you, thank you for fighting, thank you for making us laugh. You're my hero, (go ahead roll your eyes) and... I love you.

For everyone reading this, please say a prayer that Hutch can go home soon - our goal is in 2 weeks! Please also pray for a quick recovery.
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Kim Kupfer Hutchinson 
Great Meadows, NJ

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