Header for Ability Mission

Grant Money To Help Courageous Disabled Woman Pay Home Related Expenses

by Sue Donovan
(Center Barnstead, NH, USA)

Inspiring Companions

Inspiring Companions

When I was 21, I thought I had the world by the tail. I had graduated from college, I had a great profession, and I was out on my own.

Soon I had been granted a scholarship for my Masters, which involved full tuition plus a stipend. But illness (rheumatic fever) meant I needed to pass on that opportunity.

I started out as a nurse working with poor people. Most were homeless. We would do our best to bring these souls back from the brink. But too often they had nowhere to go on their discharge.

It did not take long for me to recognize a revolving door. We would see patients released healthy. They would return to us even worse than before. There had to be a better way.

I returned to school to become a lawyer. Classes were long and the work was exhausting. Nevertheless, it was a goal that I did not want to lose sight of.

Before law school I had periodic bouts of cervical spine pain. I suffered stiff necks so severe that I could not move for days at a time. I'd sometimes be brought to my knees with the pain.

At one time I lay down on the floor of my apartment and was unable to get up without help. It was more than a week before I was able to get dressed and walk.

After law school this became worse. I had a bar exam to study for and my spinal problems became worse. The incidents came more and more frequently. I had to take the bar more than once because of these incidents.

Soon after, I had the first occurrence of lower spine pain. It was determined that I had degenerative changes that would only progress. I worked as long as I could but soon I was unable to sit or stand or walk or drive consistently.

When I became permanently disabled I was only in my early 40s. The rheumatic fever in my early years led to the polyarthritis that disabled me later.

At first it was thought that surgical intervention would improve things. But surgery on my cervical spine failed because the bony integrity of my spine was too poor to hold screws needed to anchor a titanium appliance.

I'd had a near fatal gastric hemorrhage thanks to anti-inflammatory use. The option left open to me was pain control. Disability was a crushing blow since I had always valued my independence. That left me near despondency.

Thanks to a local Vet I adopted my first little Chihuahua who also is considered physically handicapped. It wasn't long after that I became involved in rescue.

That's where I met the rest of my family. In rescue I was once more encountering those who had lost their homes through no fault of their own.

Through my little Chihuahuas I have learned courage. They helped me to rediscover what it is to be a good and decent person, even if I cannot actualize the dreams I once had.

Letting go of my goals has been a monumental task. I am often afraid of a future with no certainty.

For now I need to find a way to pay to make some repairs to my house, and to pay my property taxes. Further, I need to buy wood to keep us warm this winter.

Once I am past the instant crisis, I hope to find a way to keep a roof over my head: anything that will allow me to earn enough income to keep my head above water.

I am very lucky to have Social Security Disability, but that is minimal. Often I do without food so I can pay my utility bills.

Since my Disability is low I qualify for Medicaid, a benefit for which I am eternally grateful. Without my medications I would be bedbound and unable to function.

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