Help Jan Recover Fund

$4,122 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 61 people in 2 months
On March 14, Jan Hatt was shot by her husband and then he took his life. 

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The family is devastated and confused. Such a horrible tragedy. Jan has 8 entrances or exit wounds which has left her incapable to feel anything from her waist down or use her right hand. Her body is healing but this has given Jan a lot of challenges that she is going to have to face. She has insurance and she has applied for disability but the doctors are telling her that the costs of her rehabilitation and care are going to go way above any insurances.

Her family and friends are looking to help in any way they can. Any donation will help, no matter how little, and prayers are vital. The giving so far has been small but still appreciated. We have collected over $250 the first day. What I am asking is that you take this and share it to your friends and your Facebook friends. If we all work together we can help Jan.   And of course, your prayers are still appreciated. She has come a long way but has a long way to go.

Thank you!

Jan was sedated for about a week while her body healed. They did several surgeries during this time. One went into her right shoulder which fragmented.  She can't lift that arm right now but hopefully that is temporary.  She also had damage to her T14  (Thoracic Spine) so she is paralyzed from her waist down.  Her left calf so was shattered and she has a rod in her leg.  There were other injuries but these are the most serious.

This picture was taken about 2 weeks after.   She is with Sheri and a couple of other friends. 

4/21/2018 Jan's friend Sheri brought a friend that cut Jan's hair.  Jan says she is having a great day. She is feeling all dolled up and feeling perky.  

This is how Jan gets in and out of her wheel chair.  Jan is now getting in her chair every day. It is part of "getting around".   On a normal day she has about 5 hours of different physical therapies that she works on.   Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Regular Physical Therapy are among those she does daily. She also sees a physiatrist three times a week.  She continually amazes  me on how she is progressing.  Each day she shares something else she has been able to accomplish.
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From Caterpillar to Butterfly…Over the last several weeks Jan and I have been discussing my butterfly project. I have developed a keen interest in Monarch butterflies, have done extensive research, designed an Experience to visit an overwintering site in Central California, am writing a travel article on this topic, and have the live science project in my yard.

Jan, the Master Gardener, had a lot to contribute to our discussion. She planted and maintained an abundant source of milkweed on her farm over the years which is the only thing Monarch butterflies eat. She misses tending to her garden and hopes the next owner enjoys what she brought to the land.

During our talks about the lifecycle of a butterfly, Jan realized that her life is a similar journey to that of a butterfly. Stop and think – the trauma she went through brought her to a most basic state like the butterfly egg waiting to hatch. With care and time to heal, she transitioned into the caterpillar stage for about three months. Slow going but making steady progress.

As Jan is nurtured and taught how to care for her body in its present condition, learns how to drive, learns how to cook again, learns how to get to doctor appointments independently, and so many other activities, she is now in the chrysalis stage. That being inside a protective shell getting ready to transform into a butterfly.

The butterfly transformation will take place soon. Jan will be moving out of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital directly to her apartment in Mt. Pleasant. Probably this week or next she will have her wings and be headed to her new home.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in this journey with Jan. The first goal was reached this week. Contributions met the cost of the motorized wheelchair that insurance didn't cover - $4,000!

There are two pressing financial needs coming up. That is obtaining furniture that is handicapped friendly and moving expenses. As soon as that is quantified, we will let you know where your contributions are going.

 Heartfelt thanks go out to all of Jan's friends and family. She couldn't do it without you!
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Biggest news this week:  Jan no longer has to wear her torso brace! If you haven’t seen the photos, the brace is a big, white shell in two parts that fastens around her torso and looks like a tortoiseshell. (Visions here of the Mutant Ninja Turtles…)

Jan began her physical therapy at the end of March using the body brace. She had to learn to balance and move her body by the use of her head and arms. During the first days, she would become faint and was very weak. As her strength built, they discovered that she was overheating in the torso brace (it’s plastic, is not porous, hence like a plastic bag around her body with no circulation). Her therapists placed cool cloths on her neck which allowed her to get through the therapy sessions.

Now, Jan’s physical therapy starts anew. She has to relearn how to move and control her body without the brace. She says it feels like always sitting on an exercise ball.

Another milestone:  Jan can now put on her PRAFO boots herself! Those are the foot coverings that look like ski boots to protect her feet while in the wheelchair.

As you may know, Jan returned to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital after a brief stint at the Inn, a couple of seven-hour days in the ER, a few days at Butterworth Hospital getting her leg abscess drained. She was welcomed with open arms because she had become a favorite patient.

Upon her return to Mary Free Bed, Jan was assigned to a room on the third floor. That room, apparently, wasn’t good enough. She was moved to the room right next door to her previous assignment with the same nursing staff (her favorite nurse pulled some strings) and the administrators jokingly said Jan was spoiled.

Regardless of the state of spoiledness, Jan is back on the road to health and independence.

The PICC line that was inserted into Jan’s left arm allows for strong antibiotics to be delivered directly into a vein. The antibiotics are delivered via a tube and syringe every eight hours. The reason for the strong antibiotics is to save her leg. The abscess was found between a muscle and the bone. It was possibly caused by contaminated metal. During one of her initial surgeries, a rod was placed in the leg with two screws. Jan will learn to administer the antibiotics procedure herself in preparation for the move into her apartment.

Speaking of her apartment…move in day is still scheduled for June 29. Jan actually has possession of it now. It is being readied by friends and relatives who will bring furniture (she made a list, of course) from her house. She has the hospital bed and portable sling rental already and will have to obtain a handicapped-adjustable dining table. While she knows the square footage of the apartment, she will wait until she actually arrives to make some final furniture decisions.

Jan’s friend and real estate agent is handling the sale of her house. He doesn’t want too much furniture removed because he has to stage the house to make it attractive to potential buyers. The yard, which has been maintained by a relative, is blooming with Jan’s handiwork as a Master Gardner.

The house restoration, which had to be done before the sale, is almost complete. There has been a delay beause the restoration company replaced the carpet in the wrong room. Furniture and file cabinets were moved out of the downstairs office into the living room and new carpet laid there. So, not only is the floor bare in the bedroom, all the office furniture is in the living room. Very hard to stage and get good photos of that!

The financial issues have been resolved. What was thought to be a frozen account, wasn’t. What was thought to be a credit card scam, wasn’t. Mail delivery was delayed to Jan and once she reviewed her statements, she realized she paid bills the first week she was hospitalized and didn’t remember what had transpired. She can be forgiven because of the drugs and trauma.

Doing her own laundry is no big deal now. She hasn’t been doing any cooking since she returned to Mary Free Bed. She goes to the hospital cafeteria because they have the lettuce she likes in her salads. You can see how she is making progress.

We leave you with this vision…

Jan wants you to know that she is getting better with the slide board. That is the tool that helps her move from bed to wheelchair to vehicle. She says it’s hard going uphill (e.g., from wheelchair to van). But, the downhill slide is a breeze. Weeeeeeee!

Again, many thanks for your interest, caring, thoughts and prayers. Jan got through this rough patch and is looking forward to more achievements.
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SETBACK - There was a setback this last week in Jan’s recovery program. A few of the important details follow.


Jan was successfully moved to the Inn next door to Mary Free Bed on Wednesday, May 23. To all intents and purposes, she was well on her way to living on her own. She had her computer and printer, a tiny refrigerator and microwave, her Shakeology for breakfast meals, and a plan to dine in the hospital cafeteria for lunch and dinner for the nutrition and social contact. Friends were bringing some of her favorite foods when they visited.


As Jan pointed out to me on more than one occasion, the level of sanitation at the Inn is definitely not on the same scale as at the rehab hospital. The skill level of the attendants is also not the same. An inexperienced aide was sent to help with the morning medical routine who had not worked with paraplegic patients before. It was disastrous, to say the least.


In addition to the inexperienced staffer, Jan learned that only a nurse (not an aide) was allowed to dress gunshot wounds. The healing process for such a wound is to keep it open, stuff it with specially treated gauze, and pull it out two times a day. That allows it to heal from the inside. Her left ankle has two through-and-through gunshot wounds and was surgically repaired with a rod and two screws three days after she was originally brought into the hospital. This open wound in the motel level of sanitary did not fare well.


Before the week ended the wound was abscessed and she spent seven (7) hours in the Mary Free Bed ER getting treatment. Dr. Ho found out about it and told her to immediately come to his office if this happened in the future.


Over the Memorial Day holiday, Jan spent several more hours in the ER getting the abscess drained, received IV antibiotics and her orthopedic doctor was called. She was told to make an appointment for Tuesday (after the holiday) at his office.


Another new challenge! Jan had to learn how to use the GoBus for disabled people. She was on her own for transportation. There are (supposedly) three of these bus stops around Mary Free Bed. Never one to be comfortable trying new things or going on her own, Jan was afraid and felt so alone. But, she managed to find the bus stop, learned it was the wrong one, asked for the help of another bus driver who walked/led her over to the correct bus stop, boarded and made it to the appointment on time.


We had a little giggle at the vision of Jan speeding in her wheelchair, in a panic,  with the bus driver escorting her to the correct bus stop – the bus driver couldn’t keep up with Jan but kindly made sure she made the connection.


On Tuesday, May 29, Jan was admitted again to Butterworth Hospital with surgery scheduled on Wednesday morning, May 30. The surgery was to drain the abscess completely, which was done. There was some talk about removing one of the screws, but that may happen at a later date. The abscess was found behind a muscle in her lower left leg.


Staph infection was diagnosed. It is a very serious condition. Thus, Jan will be on an IV for six (6) weeks with a high dose of antibiotics. There is a pic line installed in her chest.


Jan will be readmitted to Mary Free Bed Hospital on Monday, June 4. That will allow her time to recover from the staph infection. She really missed Dr. Ho! She might even get the same room in which she spent so many weeks. It has a lovely view of church steeples and can be quite inspiring. That also means she will have the same attendants that she did when a regular patient there.


Plans are still moving forward for her apartment in Mt. Pleasant with a move-in date of June 29. Friends and family are working hard to make that happen. There are so many details to consider.


Throw into this entire scenario the need to take care of legal and financial matters. Jan’s financial institution froze her account, even after being notified officially of the change in family status. Her attorney is now working on her behalf to free up that account, so she can access the funds, as well as handling the legalities of a living trust, Will, and other estate matters.


If you haven’t already, please take the time to meet with a legal professional to arrange your Will and a living trust if needed. They are paid for their expertise and it is money well spent. Jan will agree with me on this point!


We will post Jan’s address as soon as we can when she’s back at Mary Free Bed. Please keep the cards, letters, phone calls, and visits coming. She is working on her computer every day, so emails will be welcomed, too.


If you’ve read this far, please know how much we appreciate your attention. While everyone’s life goes on, it really helps Jan to know that you are thinking of her, and it helps her to be strong.
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This is the time of year for graduations. High school, college, kindergarten, middle school. Even preschoolers participate in this auspicious event.

Jan, one not to be left out of the festivities, also graduated on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. She graduated from her program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. When I arrived to be with her on those unseasonably cold days in April, I noted the proposed “graduation” date on the status board in her hospital room. It said 6-8 weeks. At first, I couldn’t imagine she would be there for that long. Then, reality hit me, and I couldn’t imagine she could possibly be released in that short of time.

Of course, the insurance company made sure she was expelled in a timely manner.

Last Wednesday, Jan made the “walk” down the aisle amidst a cheering crowd. While she didn’t wear a cap and gown, she did wear the biggest smile possible. And, while the cheering crowd didn’t include her parents, the hospital staff couldn’t have been prouder of Jan’s achievements just as a parent would be. Their charge, who they nurtured back to health, was leaving the nest.

Evacuation from the nest meant just a few “steps” away…next door at the Inn. Jan is now an out-patient with significantly more freedom and much less daily therapy sessions. With that freedom comes the challenges of daily life.

Most of us (at our middle years) have our lives under control with earned and saved income, our Wills and Trusts in order, lives filled with vacation plans, time spent with grandchildren, and generally coasting into the Golden Years. Hopefully, good health goes along with that.

No one plans for the tragedy that Jan experienced more than two months ago. All the plans she had have been drastically changed. There are now legal considerations and financial issues to deal with that were never part of the program. Not knowing what she doesn’t know is the most challenging aspect of her situation. Each decision has a domino effect and time is not on your side when the cash flow is cut off.

This week’s challenge is that Jan’s access to her bank account has been cut off which created the need to make a visit in person to the bank. She hasn’t been off the reservation (except for local doctor visits with transportation provided) let alone out of Grand Rapids since she was airlifted to the hospital there.

Jan is finding her own solution to the bank visit, though. Rather than asking her son, Ben, to take on this task, too, she reached out to other family and friends to borrow a manual wheelchair or a truck that will hold her motorized chair in the rear bed and give her a ride to Mt. Pleasant.

When I questioned her about this journey, she said, “I am an out-patient, I can go anywhere I want!” with alacrity. I hadn’t really considered she might feel like a prisoner at the rehab joint. You go, girl!

A brief mention about the driver training she took just two days before her release. While she passed the vision and written test, she was not strong enough to transfer to the vehicle mockup. In other words, she couldn’t transition her body from the motorized wheelchair to the manual wheelchair and then into the car seat. She doesn’t have enough strength to do that yet. That will probably happen later this summer.

On a positive note, an apartment was leased for Jan the day she graduated. It is just two blocks from her son, Ben’s, home. It will be much easier for him to help her being so close. Official move-in day is June 29, another big milestone in her recovery. She will be downsizing from the farm which will be on the market for sale soon.

There has been so much news from this last week. We look forward to another exciting and growth-filled week coming up.
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$4,122 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 61 people in 2 months
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