Help Arif Get Out and About

Campaign Created by: Maryann Marshall
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The funds from this campaign will be received by Joseph Marshall .

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Goal : $10,000

Raised : $8,240

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Eighteen years ago, Arif was in a car accident which left him with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). His journey of healing has been difficult, but peppered with miracles - and a few setbacks. He has come along way since arriving at the hospital with no brain activity.

Always an independent fellow, in the first year after his accident, Arif decided he could walk, in spite of paralysis in his left arm and leg.

Of course he has balance issues, causing occasional falls. Since he weighs more than I do, I trained him to get up on his own. 

We grew used to these incidents and developed tools and techniques to handle most, if they did not require an ER visit. Temporay setbacks resulted from a few of these incidents.

Our church requires people to wear masks during services, as many do in this time. I carry a pulse oximeter to check on him frequently, since from the very start I noticed his trouble breathing with the mask on. Any time the oxygen level (O2) fell below 90, I asked him to pull the mask down and take some deep breaths until it reached a more normal level. 

One Sunday in November, however, when I checked, his O2 had fallen to 75, and his pulse mirrored that at 57. My heart lept into my throat.

Of course, I pulled his mask down right away. Sometimes, when his O2 is low his lips look purple. But this time they looked gray. It really set off alarms in my momma brain. But we have been told over and over that the mask cannot do serious harm, so I figured we could just carry on with our usual routines.

After we returned home, as he got up from his chair, his left foot caught on the chair's leg. He fell face down on the floor. So, as usual, I asked him to get up. 

He did not move, but his breathing sounded strange.

When his breathing settled to something more normal, we asked him if he was ok and if he was hurt.

He made some reply and raised his hand. He hand began to shake, and the rest of his body followed suit. He continued to shake for several minutes. In the time warp of the moment, it seemed like an eternity.

I once worked in an institution, so I experienced someone having a seizure in the past, but Arif never had one in all of his 37 years. Yet I never saw a seizure last as long as this one did. 

Finally, the shaking stopped, but before we could do anything more, it began again, and then again. We got him settled on a blanket and pillow on the floor. The seizures continued to come one after another.

It was obvious help was needed. I called 911, forgetting that he actually has one of those emergency alert buttons.

An hour after the ordeal began without abating, firemen and EMTs arrived, took his vitals, gave him oxygen, and bundled him up to carry down the stairs to the waiting ambulance. 

Of course, none of us could go with him. We were told he couldn't have any visitors in the current climate. So we went back in and waited for any word.

After a couple hours, I called the ER, but they couldn't find him in the system. Several calls later, it was divulged that even though we sent his ID, they needed someone to identify him. We also found out that the CT scan showed nothing new. 

To make an already too long story a little less extended, let's just say Arif spent the next 5 days in the hospital. It's a whole story in itself. 

Once at home, we found his mobility took a big hit. His muscles on his left limbs were much more rigid than previously - even more so than seventeen years ago. So balance, standing, and walking initially seemed difficult goals. 

Each day, we continue to coach Arif to regain these skills. Sometimes we can see cause for hope, only to have those hopes dashed when Arif's feet tangle together again. A physical therapist came to help out.

We hope that Arif will regain his mobility, but have no time table. Meanwhile, he has to climb steps to get into our house. Since his balance is questionable at best, he is confined to the  house. He cannot get out to go for doctor or chiropractor visits.

Even more distressing for him, he has not been to church for the past month. His favorite holy day is the Feast of Christ the King, right before Thanksgiving.  He was very disappointed to miss church that day. However, with Christmas coming up, he greatly anticipates getting to celebrate the birthday of the King at church. 

at this point, we are looking at getting a chair lift for our back deck. Estimates for getting one installed range in the $7,500-$8,000 neighborhood. 

In addition, our back door, at only 34 inches wide, is not wide enough if to bring him in by wheelchair. The estimates on cost to get the old one replaced run around $1,100-$1,200. Once the old north-facing door is torn out, we find the forty year old wood did not weather well. We need to reframe the opening to put in the new door. Exterior doors run $500+. We are not looking for anything fancy - it is a back door after all. 

Since there are always surprises along the way, we rounded our goal up to $10,000
 

UPDATES

Update #5
March 5, 2021
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I want to send a hearty "Thank you" to the generous people who donated since our last update.

So ... a lot has happened ...

If you remember, I mentioned that Arif has always been a very social person.

As we approach a year of the nationwide lockdown. we still stay close to home. Like so many, Arif is showing signs of stress, caused by being confined to home for so long. Our outings cosisted of getting groceries (the boys stayed in the car, with a snack), going to church, and chiropractor visits. However, since  his hospitalization in November, Arif has been even more restricted. He no longer goes with me to the grocery store, and we do not always make it to church. In fact, we missed Christmas Day Mass. Even his chiropractor visits depend on his ability to navigate safely. See our stairs in the gallery. His big social event, now, is visits from the Physical Therapist(s). They are good, competent men, but of course, he has to work very hard once they arrive. Sometimes his anticipation of their visits leaves something to be desired. <hehehe> David is stellar at following through with the exercises Arif needs to do during the rest of the week.

At a certain point, Arif's usual cheery outlook took a swift 180. Fortunately his customary faith-filled outlook, and some essential oils, quickly turned the situation back to his usual track. Still, it was a very scary incident and our prayer-warrior team was immediately activated.

I placed a down payment on the chair lift this week. So the equipmanet was ordered. We hope it will reach the warehouse in the next week and a half or so. It should be installed by the end of the month.

With spring around the corner, we like to get outside to work in the yard and garden. This year it has taken on additional importance.

We realized that once Arif comes off the deck, in the chair, he will need a safe place to land. Then, he walks - or rides in the wheelchair - across part of the lawn to the driveway. So, I am putting in a patio and a walkway. I posted pictures of the work-in-progress. The "patio" is acutally a place for the chair to get to the ground. I call it his landing pad.

I purchased a yard swing. Arif can now supervise any work being done. When the weather is conducive and we can get him down the stairs he gets a change of scenery. You can see the swing in our gallery.

Our library, laundry room, and a meeting area live downstairs. Joe put some sturdy handrails in so Arif could traverse them carefully. Arif used to do his own laundry, but no longer. He has, on occasion, tumbled down the stairs. We cannort even consider letting him go down those stairs under the current circumstances. I am not sure the stairway is wide enough to allow a chair lift and sufficient room for anyone to walk down. So, to get access to downstairs, he can use the back door,

I put pathways through the garden to the back door. I also purchased a wheelchari ramp so he has access to the downstairs area in that fashion - thus the need to bring the back door up to code. Again, you can find pictures of he work-in-progress on the pathways in the gallery. I just ordered a couple hundred more blocks to finish the project.

As you see, it has been - and will continue to be - a busy, active time. We are a little short on having the funds to finish paying for the chair lift. Plus, as you can imagine, there are additional costs to acquire the materials needed for the rest of the projects. We are so very thankful for all your help to allow Arif at least some measure of independence.

Update #4
February 21, 2021
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Arif continues to make very slow progress in his efforts to regain mobility.

He gets phuysical therapy once or twice a week. It has been extended once, and the therapist is about to request another extension. He will ask to maintain a twice a week schedule.

Arif has seen three different therapists. The therapists are all working well with Arif. Of course, each has a little different approach and Arif enjoys the interactin with them. Mostly, we are working on stretching his left leg muscles in order to allow him to properly place his left foot on the gournd to give him balance. That leg is just so much less flexible than it was theree months ago.

The therapist is now asking the doctor to approve a brace to help gradually extend the left leg more passively than just trying to strong arm it a number of times each day. He feels that will produce more progress and more effectively.

The threrapist submitted the paperwork for the doctor to sign on the chari lift. We are waiting for word back on when the installation can get started. The hold-up seems to be waiting for Medicare to determine what they will do for us. We do not expect that Medicare will cover the full cost, but if we can at least get a break on the sales tax, that will be a significant savings.

Meanwhile, as you can imageine, the bills associated with his hospitalizatin keep coming in. Thank God, Medicare seems to have covered the costs for ICU. That was a very scary number. They apparently did a comprehensive series of scans, because the radiology list is extensive. Medicare covered much of that expense, so he was able to cover the rest. However, each month, we get a new - and higher - bill from the doctor(s). We had no idea which doctors saw him and what they did. After begging day after day, I actusally only talked to the doctor one time during the 6 days he spent in the hospital. Anyway, keeping up with the medical bills is our next hurdle.

With spring around the corner (I know, it is hard to imagine that with the current weather situation), we are lookig forward to getting out in the back yard to do some gardening and to finish the walkway through the gardens. If Arif can ride down from the deck, he can participate. He has always enjoyed being outdoors. Maybe we can also get a yard swing for him to sit on....

Once again, I want to express our gratitude to those who have helped us so far. We are looking forward to the installation of the chair lift.

Update #3
January 7, 2021
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Wow! We are just shy of three quarters if the way to our goal. Things are beginning to come together.  
As you know, we finished the back door, except for the paint 9n the trim. The weather has been too cold for outdoor painting. Spring will be here in the South before we know it. 
Arif visited with the physical therapist each week- some weeks twice. But the holidays complicated our schedules. The PT guy says Arif's balance has improved, although he still has a long way to go. 
We have ventured out a few times- to church, of course to the doctor, and to vote. Going down the stairs is stressful for all of us.  Both David and I spot him closely.  Arif has little control over his left leg. So his legs cross when he tries to step down on each stair. As you can imagine, it makes for some precarious moments. We will be so thankful to have a chair for him to ride downstairs.
again, we want to thank each and every one of you for your generousity. ❤ 

Update #2
December 28, 2020
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We are totally blown away by everyone's generosity. It looks like our New Year will start with these projects. 

The back door has been replaced, but still needs the outside trim painted, once the weather cooperates. I will post before and after pictures during the week.

With the holiday delays, the chair lift will be started sometime in January.. we are so looking forward to giving Arif the freedom to come and go, even if it is just into the back yard. 

We decided to get adventurous and take Arif to church. He was, of course, all in for it. So, he got up very early in the morning, since David sang at the 8:00 service. We left extra early, so Arif could take his time getting down the stairs safely.

The two of us stayed very close to hold him up and coach him the whole way. And, yes, it did take a while to traverse the 13 stairs. It's one of those time warp situations, so I can't say exactly how long, but David had to rush in to warm up his voice before Mass started.

A few times, Arif tried to put both feet in the same place, by the railing. A couple times, his foot came down in the wrong place. He mostly supported himself by leaning on the railing rather than put any weight into his left foot.

These are stairs he has used for the past fifteen years with only one prior incident - when no one was spotting him. Sitting him on the chair, and letting him ride up and down will be much less stressful for all of us.

We wanted to attend Christmas Day as a family, but the steps were covered with ice. None of us wanted to take the chance, but Arif was very disappointed. Icy stairs pictures are in the gallery.

Once again, we want to express our deepest gratitude to all of you wonderful people who have dug deep into your pockets during this time of year to come to our aid. May God bless you abundantly and return your sacrifices a hundred fold.

I tried to update last week, but somehow, it disappeared. 

Update #1
December 11, 2020
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Thank you all for your generosity! We are very aware that this campaign comes as we are all getting ready to celebrate the holidays of giving. It has been a difficult year for most people. So it is especially moving to see folks pouring out what they can to help.

Arif has always been a social fellow. You can imagine how the lockdown has been difficult for him. At least, we got out once a week to get groceries, though the boys sat in the car.

When they let us back in church and the chapel, Arif was ecxtatic. So it has broken his heart to stay home while David and I take turns going to Mass. As I said earlier, he missed his favorite feast day. Now, as Christmass approaches, we want to attend Mass as a family. The circumstances point to focusing on the true meaning of the season - not that we ever went all out with the commercial celebration. 

I thought you might like to see what we have in mind as we approach having enough for the down payment on the chair. See pictures 8n the gallery. 

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