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Help Rev. Larry Walk After Lightning Strike
$515 raised
10% of $5k goal
13 contributors
2 Years running

Reverend Larry has had a 20+ year career of giving and helping others. His social service career involved working in Addictions and Mental Health counseling while pursuing his Ph.D. in Transpersonal Counseling.

Since 2013, Larry has had to take breaks because he suffered two strokes and three heart attacks, which included treatments such as 7 stents, a defibrillator/ICD implant, and a special heart implant as part of a Harvard study. 

With all of that, being on disability and dealing with chronic health conditions, Rev. Larry has kept moving forward to his dreams, never giving up. It's a persistence and passion for helping others.

However, on June 25, 2016, a freak lightning strike left him injured with the entire bottom skin on both feet severely burned.

His healing started with two weeks of hospitalization and admission into a specialized wound care center. He didn't want to burden his wife with his care, especially with the possibility of amputations or any other potential complications.  

After a week at the local wound care rehab center, his wife brought him home to care for him after being outraged and frightened with his care at the center which included:

  • neglect from nursing staff, in which he had to call admin for help
  • leaving him unattended in a wheelchair with his legs left down, causing immense swelling and wounds worsening
  • twice a day dressings were not done and even worse, the wounds left unwrapped, a critical error that could invite infection
  • and the doctor changed Larry's regular medications that had taken months for his regular doctor to find the right dosage/medication types.

With twice daily wound dressings, and 2 x week home health care, Larry has received 24/7 care from his wife for the last 7 months.

On top of dealing with healing the burn wounds and recovering from the medication mistakes at rehab, a backward fall from his wheelchair, a kidney stone, and dangerously low blood pressure and borderline sepsis landed him in the hospital every week for over one month. 

Larry had been through so much medically that he and his wife wondered if his body could make it through the healing and if he'd ever walk again.

 

2 weeks after lightning strike and one minor surgical procedure

The first diagnoses ranged from him losing both of his feet or maybe a few toes, two or more years in wound care treatment, and possible skin grafts for one or both feet.

However, to promote healing, he wasn't allowed to put any weight on either foot, which made daily living a real challenge. 

He needed complete assistance because he couldn't stand, lean, walk, or put any weight on his feet.

Larry needed help to transfer from his recliner to wheelchair, transfer to their SUV for doctor appointments, and help into the bathroom and to shower. 

It was difficult because while he physically had his legs, it was almost as if he had both amputated because he wasn't allowed to put any pressure on his feet. 

Larry worked on ways to transfer into the car safely and to help his wife as much as he could since his not walking added more physical challenges to her chronic health issues.

They didn't have medical equipment when he first arrived home from the rehab center, so Larry improvised and created his own.

The burns also complicated his overall health as the new treatment changed his regular medications and added others --- his regular health treatments that had been going well in the prior months.

After 2 months of healing, and one minor surgical procedure.

Thank God, Larry did not lose his feet or legs.

With his heart problems and other chronic health conditions, it's a miracle he didn't die.

Although neither Larry or his wife could predict how this latest challenge would affect his overall quality of life. 

After 6 months, with wounds healing but not gone, he was finally approved for limited standing and walking.  

Physical therapy started, and though it was painful, he didn't give up.

Both Larry and Jennifer were overjoyed at seeing him stand and take small steps, however wobbly. They hadn't been sure he'd ever be in a standing or walking position again. 

It was a godsend.

Rev.  Larry and his wife Jennifer, a few weeks after being able to stand.

Though it had been a hard road financially and physically on their family, in December 2016, doctors were amazed at the burn wound progress and thought he may only need skin grafts for one foot. 

And the skin grafts were a maybe, not a definite need. The news seemed like another miracle in his healing.

And then a week before Christmas 2016, he still had one wound that hadn't healed for three months, and other wounds unexpectedly worsened.

His limited walking ability, even with physical therapy to help strengthen his muscles, became worse. He was very unstable standing and walking, falling, and in extreme pain.

Of course, everyone thought the problems walking was simply because he had been non-weight-bearing for 6 months. But it didn't make sense that he was doing worse as time went on.

After visiting his primary and several specialists, he was referred by his heart study nurse to another cardiac doctor. He also fell before surgery and scraped his shin, which turned into a huge wound. 

This doctor performed an exploratory surgery with the possibility of fixing any artery blockages. It turned out he couldn't fix the blockages during that time because Larry had 100 percent blockages in all arteries in both legs.

Because of the area affected, from the knees to the feet, the doctor thought the cause may be part of the lightning strike combined with chronic health conditions.

The doctor's recommendation was two or three more surgeries to help open the blockages, though he cautioned the surgeries would be tricky.

Rev. Larry had the first surgery, which the doctor called a partial success since he could only unblock one artery; one is partially blocked; the third remains 100 percent blocked.

Larry suffered some complications during and after the surgery.

Any surgery seems to complicate his other chronic conditions, and he has to be pre-treated because of allergy to the contrast dye necessary in the surgery, some of his regular meds have to temporarily stop, and the medications to treat the allergy skyrocket his blood sugar for days.

The good news is the partial success of this first surgery is already showing some improvement in his steadiness and help in healing his leg and foot wounds!

Seeing these small improvements so quickly after this first surgery has rekindled our family's hope.

The treatment plan is 2 to 3 more surgeries over the next 8 to 12 weeks.

The doctor thinks these surgeries will greatly improve his total wound healing, increase his ability to walk, and reduce his overall pain. 

Why they need your help:

His wife Jennifer works part-time from home to take care of Larry since his stroke and heart issues require 24-hour care. But she also works part time from home because of her own chronic health conditions, including Fibromyalgia.

Her main work project ended earlier than expected, in mid-December, and her health issues flared shortly afterward. They received emergency financial help from family, but since they were living paycheck to paycheck, they quickly became behind on regular living expenses.

In caring for Larry over the last 7 months, Jennifer has dealt with her own increased health problems in addition to the Fibromyalgia: diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, sprained her hand, fallen twice (one recently in which she hurt her ankle, broke her phone, and broke her glasses), became severely ill with digestive issues that built up toxins in her body, and had a wisdom tooth and another one extracted.

Larry's upcoming surgeries and recovery time combined with Jennifer's health issues will not only limit her work availability but also add additional expenses.

Items they'll need financial help with:

  • additional medications for both Larry and Jennifer
  • medical supplies for Larry's wounds
  • a car part that broke down the day before Larry's last surgery
  • new shoes for Larry to help in his walking
  • recliner for Larry as the current one is broken but still being used
  • new replacement glasses for Jennifer
  • other items not covered by insurance but will help Larry's recovery to walk again and help Jennifer regain her health and remain a caregiver.

As Larry's treatment continues, there may be other recommendations from his doctor.

Since they were already behind on their regular bills, which they reduced as much as possible prior to the accident, they are in an overwhelming situation. Add additional medical bills and unexpected bills, and it's near impossible to cover everything themselves.

Their regular living expenses include:

Rent

Water

Car insurance

Medical co-pays

Electricity

Internet service

Phone

Gas

Food

For Larry's safety and recovery time, this new treatment plan is expected for the next 3 to 4 months. 

It is not easy to ask others for help.

Rev. Larry and Jennifer wanted to take care of all their needs by themselves, but with the additional expenses, reduced income, and increased medical issues, they can't do this alone. 

They need help from their friends. 

Please share their fundraising page to help spread the word. 

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

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