August 6, 2013

I Heart Kate

You may remember about a month and a half ago I told you about my friend Kate. This is a post about her.

Kate is awesome. She's funny, compassionate, interesting, smart, creative... so many adjectives I could use to describe her. Since the first time I met her, I've enjoyed her company tremendously.

Her daughter is right in the middle between my kids, so when they get together it's a like a flock of adorable. Really, it's too cute.

So Kate is green and earth-friendly, all about sustainable living. It's kind of a passion of hers. And as part of her efforts to protect the environment and live a sustainable lifestyle, she and her husband got rid of their car. Only public transit, bicycles, and the heel-toe express for them.

One day, Kate got into a bike accident. It wasn't bad, she banged up her head a bit, but she got up and walked away.

But a week later, she started having migraines. She started experiencing strange disturbances in her vision. The migraines got worse, so bad she couldn't function. She took her year and a half old daughter to a friend's house for the day, so she could rest.

A short while later, her friend found her on the floor. Conscious, but completely unable to move her body or speak. Kate had suffered an severe stroke.

The next week was, to put it mildly, terrifying. She had emergency surgery to remove the clot, which had nearly severed the cerebral artery where it attached to her brain. She was on and off of breathing tubes, CAT scans showed the bleeding continued, the doctors put a drain into her head. She had a direct to stomach feeding tube inserted, as well as a tracheotomy. To say that Kate is lucky is putting it mildly. That lady has an entire crew of guardian angels watching over her.

Nearly three weeks into the ordeal, this image popped up on facebook.

She was back, her sense of humor completely undiminished. I don't think four words and a picture have ever made me so happy.

Kate spent more than three weeks in the ICU. She is still in a rehab facility, getting hours and hours of physical and occupational therapy a day. But she's getting better. REALLY.

Her trake has come out, and she's eating solid food. In fact, she's well enough that this past weekend, her doctors gave her permission to make the trip out to her brother's wedding.

She's remarkable. And her recovery is remarkable. And everything about it fills me with relief and joy.

Every time she posts a picture on instagram of another awful hospital meal, filled with genuine joy that she can EAT IT instead of another bottle of Jevity (yuck), my heart soars.

It used to be she only took pictures of her "Kate Face," which could easily be confused with Bitchy Resting Face Syndrome. Now, she's grinning in every picture.

Each time Chris updates us on her progress, I am overwhelmed by gratitude.

I see everything she's going through, from brain surgery to physical therapy to recovery transitions, and I see in her me and M, just seven years ago, and I just want to wrap my arms around her and her family and squeeze them so tight and tell them how unfathomably glad I am that they are whole. That Cora has her mommy, that Chris has his wife, and that Kate has her life.

That said, they really do need some help.

You might recall that I have an intimate understanding of how expensive brain surgery can be. It's no joke. And although she and her husband Chris get by just fine normally, that's as a dual income household. Kate hasn't been working for two months, and it's likely to be quite a while before she's at full strength, working from home as a graphic designer LIKE A BOSS with a toddler running around.

Insurance covers some, but not all medical expenses. But it doesn't cover childcare. It doesn't cover the income lost when half of a dual income family is in the hospital. It doesn't cover transportation costs for a family without a car, let alone one that can accommodate a wheelchair.

If you can, PLEASE! Donate to the I Heart Kate Medical Expense Fundraiser.

Give what you can.

Spread the message around to everyone you know.

As Kate says, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET. And in addition to that, take any injuries seriously. See a doctor when you have frightening symptoms, like crippling migraines and vision problems. Or, in M's case, like weakness on one side of your body but not the other.

Never be afraid of seeing a doctor early. The worst that can happen is a waste of time. There are so many worse things.

Please- donate to the I Heart Kate fund.


I'm afraid I don't have any photographs of me and Kate, but I do have a video where I Gangnam Style past her in my back yard. So there's that.

1 comment:

  1. That video is one of the best things I have ever seen! And I'm So glad your friend is doing better. I remember when it happened, how frightening it was. A reminder of how suddenly and seriously things can change.



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