Back on June 1st, I posted this, a post that, while less than forthcoming, still resulted in a response that left me in tears; tears of gratitude. My reasons for not disclosing the needed help were based on nothing more than pride, but as we've all heard, "Pride goeth before a Fall." In this case though, a fall came first. 😡
I next posted this thank you note, but only touched on a few of the financial burdens I was suddenly faced with after Memorial Day and nothing about what really spurred me to ask for help. And I definitely didn't show you what you'd all done for me, mostly out of a weird sense of...maybe shame? And some of that famous pride. But you all deserved so much more than a 'thank you'. So, before attaching a photo, I'd like to give you a part of the story (the rest would be pretty boring), starting with the 'fall' that went before the 'pride'.
The fall, in fact, was a crashing good one, and all because of the loss of strength in my right arm (following the mastectomy last year). Walking toward my bed, I tripped over my pedastal cane; something that's happened a couple of times before, but my right arm had always been srrong enough to grip the cane, steady it, thus me. But not this time. When I tried to anchor myself this time, the right arm gave out and down I went. There were only two things to fall on; the bed to my left - or the TV on the wooden stand (with shelves holding a cable box, DVD player, assorted DVD's and knickknacks) to my right.
The TV won.
But the stand, etc. lost. I made mincemeat out of it as I crashed through everything. Pieces of wood, dvd's and knick-knacks flew everywhere, with the exception of what my body buried. When my brain came out of the typical fog that comes with such a fall, and before I began to take stock of things, I was already yelling for my cat, who'd followed me into the bedroom (duh). I was afarid she might be under me - seriously. Then, thank God, I heard a rather pissed off meow coming from the safety of the hallway, thus reassuring me the lumps I was beginning to feel had nothing to do with her.
Now, there's always a silver lining in such cases - besides Abby's well-being and the fact that I was conscious. In this case, the tv survived, thanks to a flailing arm which struck it, knocking it off the stand before the 747 that was my body crashlanded on the stand. Another line of silver was my arm hitting the the tv, thus saving me from crashing into it and possibly suffering serious injury. The final glittering line were the four handsome, husky, hunky paramedics who got me up off the floor.
Before I get to the actual reasons for my online plea, I have to share the rest of the 'fall' story, if for no other reason than the total ridiculousness of it, and it'll give you a laugh - because, YES, when I called 911 (the cell phone was within cane's reach, thank God), those now infamous words, "Help! I've fallen and can't get up!" were uttered by me. And if that weren't enough, they were repeated more than once!
#2: When the 911 operator transferred me to the fire station around the corner (because you always have to repeat everything when you're transferred).
Fireman: "What's the problem, ma'am?"
Me: "Help! I've fallen and can't get up!"
#3: While dispatching the paramedics to rescue me, the poor woman who'd fallen -yadda yadda, the conversation continued....
Fireman: "Is the front door unlocked?"
Fireman: "Can you let us in when we arrive?"
Me (after counting to ten): "Huh, I've fallen and can't, you know, get UP!"
#4: My handsome, husky, hunky saviors arrived to the locked door (you know, the one they already knew was locked? Yeah, that one)...
Firemen: "Hello? Miss French?"
Me: "Yes, I'm here!"
Firemen: "The door's locked. Can you let us in?"
Me: *counts to twenty* "Huh, hello! I've fallen and can't get up!?"
Okay, so I was rescued. But once the paramedics left (after assuring themselves of my overall health, no pieces of wood buried deep within a vital organ, heart sound, brain clear which is debatable in the best of times, and the shock was fading), I huddled under the covers with Abby, my room a shambles, everything but the tv broken, and suddenly, instead of being grateful for what hadn't happened, all I could see was the mess, the huge financial issues already looming over me, and now knowing a new tv stand was needed on top of everything else...and finally acknowledging the truth about my right arm and the additional limitations of my body...and what that would mean financially.
I started crying, sobbing, and basically indulging in a major pity party. I was also starting to feel the fall, which made me cry harder. I finally fell asleep, with nightmares of living in my car and trying to figure out the best spot for Abby's litter box (the brain can be bery weird). The next day, per paramedic instructions, I followed through with a call to my doctor. By then, my right knee and tailbone were screaming loud enough to break glass, so the nurse set it up for x-ray technicians to come to my home (a story for another time). An hour later, my actual doctor called and I had to relate the entire fall. When done, he said, "You know, this means it's time to talk walkers again."
Yes, I did know. Which is why things had gone from worse to worse and I'd dreamt of 'car-sleeping'. Normally, my insurance would pay for a walker, but a while back, my doctor received authorization for a 'rollator' with a seat, based on a suggestion from Physical Therapy. His reasoning then had been to use it in helping me regain muscle tone by walking through the halls here (albeit at 2am due to agoraphobia), stop and rest on the seat, then go again. The request was approved and a couple weeks later a technician arrived with the walker. Only it was designed for The Jolly Green Giant. I'd told the people in charge I was at 290lbs and they sent me something for a 6'5, 400+ man! It didn't even fit through doors! The technician, once he opened it up and looked at me, simply closed it and said, "Call Monarch, this isn't the one for you."
Called and was told it was the only one they'd approve. Explained it was too big, they said I was, "...close to 300 pounds, so we decided to approve a walker for 400lbs and above." I argued. "But I'm not 400 pounds." They countered. "But you're close to 300, so we decided to go up a level...." This could have gone on indefinitely, but I hung on them. End result? Now that the fall illustrated a real need for a walker, my doctor and I knew I'd have to pay for it myself. Which wasn't possible any more than the rest of of the looming expenses, like experimental chemo pill/treatment not covered by my insurance (duh), amoung other treatments, since it turned out I was unable to tolerate Arimidex (thus the other two as well) and Tamoxifen.
We all have our burdens, but every now and then, they seem insurmountable. That's how I felt when I decided to ask for help. I must add at this point that a small group of incredible women have been helping me, at crucial moments, for some time, but I couldn't ask them again. So I wrote that post (but still don't know how) and you responded. There's still more to face, more financial issues, but thanks to pattrose's brother, who donated the walker, your generosity took care of many of the issues, including, as mentioned in the previous post, Abby, who's finally forgiven me for the mobile vet.
The photo below illustrates a happy and well Abby, along with the walker, which she adopted immediately. I now move safely and easily around my apartment and so does Abby, as it's become her own personal taxi.
It's not over, but thanks to all of you, I can breathe a bit easier. THANK YOU!