Will you help me give her a lift?

I've posted this campaign on behalf of my brother Brian Beaulac whose health insurance has denied the purchase of a "ceiling lift" that would allow him to move his disabled wife, Anna Marie, into and out of her bed and wheel chair at home. It was denied because there is no "billing code" to which it can be charged.  Together they have overcome so much in the last 25 years, I don't want to see her become confined to bed for the rest of her life; or to have my brother injure himself lifting her. Their story is below.

My name is Brian.  I met my wife, Anna Marie, in the early 1980s while serving in the army. After dating for 3 years we married and the army transferred  us to Europe. Shortly after we arrived she had her first Multiple Sclerosis (MS) episode. We’d heard of MS but didn't know the symptoms or what was in store for her for the rest of her life. In the early 90s I retired from the army and we returned to the Seattle area to help care for my mother who had developed Dementia and Parkinson’s. The MS limited Anna Marie's independence so we purchased a motorized scooter and retrofitted our van with a ramp so she could continue teaching middle school math and science until eventually the complications of MS required her to retire.

In March of 2011, Anna Marie suffered a ‘massive stroke’ in the decision-making area of her brain. She was treated at Harborview and the day after her surgery, the nurses began helping me to learn all I could about caring for her. The neurosurgeon said whatever she was like 19 months post-op was the way she would remain rest of her life. This prognosis hit me like a hammer! I vowed I would do whatever was necessary to help her recover. Acting on the advice from friends in the medical field, I was able to get her hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, which over time helped her to recover the majority of her communication and cognitive skills.

After the stroke she lost her ability to walk. Still, she was able to stand, with assistance for balance, and transfer from her bed to wheelchair or wheelchair to toilet. I spent the remaining money we had renovating the bathroom adding grab bars and a ramp so she could use a shower chair.

This became our new normal. It was difficult to care for her alone, but together we were determined to make it.  This June Anna Marie had an abscessed tooth, root canal and crown. In late July she awoke one morning unable to stand or bear any weight on her legs. I spent the next week wrapping my arms around her wife lifting her out of bed, repositioning my arms and then picking her up and twisting/turning 90 degrees to put her in her wheelchair. By the following Sunday, my back, shoulder, hips, arms and legs were so sore I was afraid I was going to either drop her, or both of us would fall and wind up in the hospital.

I grew more concerned and we made another trip to the emergency room and the doctors admitted her. A blood infection had settled into her T10, T11 and T12 thoracic vertebrae causing acute, severe spinal pain. Each time the nurses raised or lowered any part of the hospital bed, or attempted to roll her onto her side her pain level shot up to a solid 10! Her pain level just laying still in bed and not moving was constantly an 8 or 9.

After three weeks she was transferred to a healthcare facility near our home in Federal Way where she is still undergoing antibiotic treatments for blood and bone infections. We are unable to do any sort of transfer without the use of a lift. Our health insurance will pay for a Hoyer Lift for use at home, but it is too large and won’t work in our house, especially with carpeted floors.

Insurance has approved a portable ceiling lift ($8,000) that is practical and does not require construction/reinforcement of the house and ceiling. However, there is no ‘medical equipment code’ for a ceiling lift, and without the medical equipment code, the insurance company won’t pay. Once the infections are cleared up the doctors will eventually send my wife home and I will once again be faced with how to transfer her from bed to wheelchair or shower to toilet as she is still non-weight bearing--unable to stand even with help. Without the ceiling lift she will be confined to her bed for the rest of her life; a prospect and outcome I refuse to accept.

In 2013, I was told I needed both of my hips replaced. I suffered minor discomfort but wasn’t really in any pain. My physician explained it needed to be done before things got much worse. The cartilage had deteriorated and it was bare bone rubbing on bare bone. I had my right hip replaced and was told I’d only need to spend 24 hours after surgery in the hospital and I could go home. But that was not to be.  After numerous examinations, and tests it was determined that I have lateral femoral nerve neuropathy and it is permanent. I chose not to have my left hip replacement done, since I can’t and won’t risk my one good hip being damaged like my right hip.

The healthcare facility keeps talking about sending her home soon and the only thing keeping her at the facility is my wife’s need for the specialized intense antibiotic treatments. Our need for the ceiling lift is desperate since she may get sent home at any time. Over the last eight and half years, I’ve exhausted our savings, investments and retirement in caring for my wife. I’ve paid for the hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, renovated the bathroom so she can better be cared for, bought a shower/toilet chair, hospital bed, waffle mattresses and mattress covers to prevent bed sores and skin degradation. I’ve done everything I can to care for her. Since she was admitted to St. Francis Hospital and then moved to the healthcare facility I have been by her side, again helping to care for her 12 hours a day every day. I want to be by her side and with her constantly and helping to care for her is my way of showing her how much I love her and keeping my sane. However, I do not have $8,000 for a ceiling lift.

It is hard to admit you need help and even harder to ask for help. I love my wife and have remained by her side through the MS, her struggles with MS, walking, trying to continue to work, and then the stroke. But now I need help in getting this lift so she can have some small quality of life and not be confined to a bed for the rest of her life. Please help me.

Thank you and God bless all of you who donate.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Kathy Kruger 
Seattle, WA
Brian Beaulac 
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