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April With Multiple Accident Disabilities Seeks Grant For Wheelchair Van

by April Schultz
(Vale, OR, USA)

Hello, I am April. I have four kids. My oldest is my 22-year-old daughter who has a three-year-old daughter. My next is my first boy. He is 21 years old and is a welder.

Now for my shocker - it shocked me anyway - I have twin sons. They are 18 years old and they look nothing alike.

The trauma my kids have gone through is a lot. At this point though, I just want to say one year later their father left when I was only three days out of surgery.

I grew up in Philomath, OR. Just about all my family lives there, or within an hour or so from there.

Disability Issues

I was involved in a car accident. I was severely injured. My T9 and T10 vertebrae were damaged. My spinal cord was injured. My left clavicle was broken and is now healed. My spleen was removed. (Now my immune system does not work well.) I suffered a trauma-induced stroke and permanent nerve damage.

Many muscles on my right abdomen do not work and they never will. My right leg does not work and never will. At least seven ribs were broken into two and three pieces. One of them punctured my lung five times before they went in and sawed the end of it off.

Some left ribs were broken and are still painful. My bowels don't work normally. My left knee was damaged. My right foot is fixed in the pointed position. I now have the bone density of an 80-year-old woman. I had a rod in my back for one year. It was removed because of an infection.

I went to the Shepherd Center rehabilitation hospital (specialty in spinal cord injury). I was unable to get much from the therapy they offered. I was still too hurt from the accident.

I have been learning as I live how to get back a life with meaning. I had to move or lose my health insurance, because I got married. Now I am trying to learn who I am without any teens running around, or taking them places.

I feel so stuck I just want my independence back. I want my quality of life back, to go to town to visit my family.

My paper work from Erlanger Health System, Chattanooga, Tennessee dated June 16, 2004

Discharge Summary. Date of Admission April 14, 2004. Date of Discharge June 16, 2004. I just received these papers. There are eight numbered diagnoses I would like to write for you. They will be the most accurate.

1. Status post motor vehicle collision with T10-T11 spondyloptosis with lower extremity paraplegia and respiratory failure.

2. Right fifth metacarpal fracture.

3. Right lung emphysema with chest tube drainage status post tracheotomy for respiratory failure with subsequent removal.

4. Left clavicle fracture.

5. Small left cerebral infarct.

6. Ventilator acquired pneumonia, status post antibiotic therapy.

7. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization.

8. Splenic rupture, status post splenectomy

Financial Hardship

I am on a fixed income. It is only $740 a month. I am wheelchair bound and not able to work. I have a Pain Pump that holds Morphine and Baclofen, which is delivered, to my spine.

This allows me to take a lot less of both medications, and in a more pure form. I am on a nerve pain med, rest med, sleep med, muscle relaxer and tummy pill.

I have a custom-made trunk brace in order to sit up straight. I pay $120 for my son to stay back in our hometown to finish school.

I have a license but no vehicle. Not quite a year ago my back tire blew on my van. It threw the van into a tall curb, which totaled it.

I have no and I mean no friends here, I am so trapped and alone. Sometimes it just feels like the walls are closing in. Please help me get my freedom back, and my quality of life so much better.

Income Efforts

I am unable to work, and haven't been able to for the last 10 years. I am on SSI.

My friends and family helped me with the last van that was totaled. That van was not set up for my disability. There were no changes on it. It worked, but was very uncomfortable, and I had to pull over and take breaks at times.

I am in a small town, and don't know anyone from a church.

I paid for two different grant finders, so far, and got nowhere. I received a partial refund for that.

I have also contacted several dealers that sell vehicles set for the disabled Some have sent me emails saying they would allow me to drive a vehicle to advertise their dealership.

Specific Needs

I am in need of a low fuel mileage car that is hand driven. I would like to have some sort of lift on the back that I can drive my chair up onto, let me get off and then raise the lift again.

I would have a railing put on the side of the car. This way I can hold on to them and walk the short distance to the car door. The other thing needed would be a chair cover to keep it dry.

If this is not a possibility, then I would like to have a converted Caravan that I could drive my chair in and transfer to the driver's seat.

With all the things our family has been through it is so hard to be eight hours away from them. My kids and I pulled together especially after their dad left.

My kids lost the mom they had always known, and I was in the hospital for four months. When my kids hurt I hurt. They and I were forced to move across the US.

They were pulled from their church, which was highly supportive as well as the small Christian school they went to.

They were ripped from the grandparents they knew, and dropped into the grandparents' home they did not remember.

We went through counseling, and one of them said we were backwards from the norm because the kids were mad that dad left, and I saw he had to. He was dying a little bit every day.

Now not being there when happy things are happening like graduation, or hard times are going on I can't even be there.

It's hard to watch from a phone while all four of my kids are finding their place in this world. I used to try to visit three to four times a year now I am so stuck; that's the only way to say it: stuck or jailed.

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