Thursday, September 20, 2012

August Doctor Update & More

I'm late in getting this out....sorry for the delay.

I had x-rays August 23rd and the surgeon said there's no change. Which means my bones are not healing. They're not worse, but they're not hardening either. He said to come back in two months for more x-rays to see if any bone growth has occurred.
The doctor did say to start resuming normal activity, and he approved my request to go hunting! So that's good news....however, I'm not sure if my surgeon truly understands what "normal activity" is for me, but he seems to think my legs are stabilizing.

I plan to go deer hunting September 29th, with the Whitetail Challenge Foundation! I'll be taking it easy, and only hunting one session instead of three like I have the past three years.

My next x-ray appointment is October 18th. Hopefully there will be progress by then.

In other news...still no updates on insurance issues which means I have no idea when I'll be able to get my wheelchair replaced or hand controls put in my van. (I'm currently using my old chair to get me by until we can replace the one that was in the accident.) Nor is there a guarantee that everything will be covered by insurance, when it ever does get settled.

My family and I covet your thoughts and prayers, that all this nonsense will be resolved sooner than later.

Thank you friends!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

July Doctor Update and New Van

Written by Michael Hulsebus

Right Leg, from the top

A few weeks ago, Angie went back to the surgeon for a check up and x-rays.  The good news is that her incisions are healing really well...although we had to deal with a slight infection in one the past week.  The bad news is that Angie's bones are very soft - "mushy" in doctor speak.  This is due to her poor circulation, depressed nervous system, and bone density loss due to being non-weight bearing...all side effects of her paralysis.  Unfortunately, that means that the bones healing is going to be a very slow process and while she is healing there is always the possibility accidentally pulling one of the screws out of the bone.  Her right leg also has a couple bone fragments jutting out, but since her legs will not be weight-bearing the doctors have decided not to worry about them at this time and let them heal however they will.

Here are some scans of the x-ray printouts so you can admire her new hardware in each leg.  We asked to have the x-rays emailed, but instead they handed up printouts, which we then the quality is not the best.  Sorry.  You can click to see them larger and in more detail.

These are the right leg, which was the worse of the two (it was a compound fracture).  The left leg has a similar plate and screws.  In the picture to the right, I have zoomed and highlighted the actual fracture and pointed to one of the bone fragments on the right.
A side view of the steel plate holding Angie's bone together

On a little bit of a happier note - Angie has found and purchased a new van...well new to her.  It is a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan that has already been converted with a ramp and chair restraints.  At this time, this vehicle will only be for transporting Angie, but we hope to have it converted for her to drive once all the insurance gets figured out.  We do hope to have an EZ Lock docking system installed soon so that Angie doesn't always have to have to go through having the ratchet strap Q'Straints attached and removed each time.  The Q'Straints are great, but if the person hooking it up isn't paying attention or doesn't attach to the right location on the chair, they will not work to their fullest (yes, this is user error and avoidable...but would be nice to eliminate the possibility and a dock is faster and safer).   Unfortunately, installation of a dock is not cheap (around $2000 which isn't outrageous but also not pocket change).  Is anything related to wheelchairs cheap?  I've come to determine that no, no it is not.

Angie's new van

Thanks to everyone who donated to Angie's fund...this was extremely helpful in allowing Angie to have a good sized down payment on the van, so that arranging financing was much easier.  Really, thank you everyone...otherwise we would probably have to wait until insurance is figured out (which sounds like it is heading to arbitration and could be 6 months to 2 years before finalized).  Donations are still welcome...we still have a long way to go before life is normal and Angie is living as independently as she can.

Angie Plager Recovery Fund
32541 585th Ave
Cambridge, IA 50046-8568


Thank You Everyone!


For those of you who have given a donation to my Recovery Fund....
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Your donations allowed me to put a down payment on a new ramp van for me!!  Although it's not a brand new vehicle, it is new to me!  We purchased a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan that has already been converted with a ramp and chair restraints.
My new van!
This has allowed me to attend church, go to doctor appointments, go to a visitation for a distant relative (unexpectedly), attend a good friend's wedding reception, visit friends in the hospital who had babies, and just be able to get out into public and hang out with my family & friends!  Being out with other people truly helps me keep my energy and endurance level up (to a point, too many people or too much activity turns into exhaustion).

Your donations also purchased an EZ Lock system on the front passenger side of my van!  This allows my chair to lock into place where the front passenger seat would normally be, allowing me to sit up front instead of having to be tied down in the center with wheelchair tie-down straps. The lock system is also a safer way to ride.
View from backseat of van, I lock in on front passenger side.

Due to the lengthy and pending insurance investigation of our nine car accident, we try to remain patient while waiting for progress. We still don't know when or how we will replace my wheelchair or hand controls for my van, that were also totaled in the accident.

Again, I THANK YOU for all of your contributions!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Recovering at Home

It has now been three weeks since I've been home from the hospital. It feels good to be at home. Overall, each day I get a little more endurance and I feel like I'm healing more and more. However, I won't know my official progress until I see my surgeon and get x-rays done on Thursday, July 12th. After my x-rays, my surgeon will tell me what the next steps are and whether I can start physical therapy on my legs or not.
I'll let you all know what happens after July 12th.

Even though I'm not quite able to get back into my regular crazy busy life, just yet (as I am not able to drive yet), I am still staying busy remotely (at home). Email and cell phones are a wonderful thing!  I'm able to communicate with the other Spinal Cord Injury Association of Iowa board members, as we continue to plan our 8th annual sports and recreation event on August 18th.

"Slow and steady wins the race".  That basically sums it all up. I'm slowly but steadily healing, regaining energy, and getting back into my volunteering and working activities.

Thank you for being a part of my life!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I'm Home!

After 16 days, I am finally back home! It seems SO much longer than just over two weeks.

Surgeon says my incisions and legs are healing well and if everything goes well, I don't have to go back for a month. Still lots of bruising but they are starting to fade too. Moving slow and trying to get back into my routine, but I am home and that is a huge step towards recovery.  Thank you to the doctors, nurses, techs, and therapists at Iowa Methodist Hospital for the excellent care.

Thank you so much to everyone for the visits, cards, donations, well-wishes, flowers, and your thoughts and prayers!

Part of the recovery process will be finding a new van that will be accessible for me. If anyone knows of an accessible ramp van for sale, please contact me. My preference is a van that I can eventually modify with hand controls so that I will be able to drive again, but for now just a ramp and tie-down locations are what is needed. Due to the high cost, this will be a van that I will need to keep for a long time - so a newer model, low mileage, and in generally good condition is what we are hoping to find (unless someone wants to cut me a great deal on an MV-1!).  We will consider any offer though.

Thank you again to everyone that donated to my recovery fund.  This means a lot to me and my family!  We feel very blessed to have such kind and generous people in our lives.  As of now, we are still in hiatus, so the donations are really beneficial. The insurance companies are battling it out and we are still not sure what is going to be covered.  Donations are still very much appreciated (please see info at the end of this post). Thank you for all your patience as we deal with this situation and are unable to update everyone as frequently as we would like.

Please feel free to pass this info/blog to anyone that we may have missed or might be interested in helping.  We are truly grateful for everyone that has helped us in any way.

Angie Plager and Family

Donations can be given by mail or by clicking the donate button below:

Angie Plager Recovery Fund
32541 585th Ave
Cambridge, IA 50046-8568

Monday, June 11, 2012

Auto Accident 2012

After 9 days in a  hospital gown,
I get to wear clothes!  Giving scrubs a try.
This was a very happy moment.
My boyfriend, Michael, and I were involved in a serious auto accident on June 1st, 2012.  It was a bad accident, involving 9 cars and highway speeds.  We both feel that we are lucky to be alive.  Michael was able to walk away with minor injuries.  Unfortunately, I broke both of my femurs, just above the knee.  I think I might take “go big or go home” a little too seriously at times. Just kidding.  I was in the Intensive Care Unit for 3 days, then had surgery to fix my legs with metal plates and screws, before heading to a  standard hospital room for a few more days.  I am now in the inpatient rehabilitation center…it could be a week, it could be all summer.  It all depends on how my healing progresses and what the doctors say.
Although this circumstance is absolutely miserable, I do feel that we are lucky to be here.  I am also very blessed to have lots of family and friends to support and help me (and my family) through this time.  I’ve had many visitors and received a lot of flowers and cards.  Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes.  It has really helped me keep my spirits up while I am stuck in a hospital room. 
Unfortunately, my adapted van and wheelchair were both destroyed in the accident.  These are custom built pieces of equipment and will not be easy to replace.  For example, a power wheelchair can cost $25,000 - $40,000 and it is a necessity for me to live a quality life.  The adapted vans are even more expensive - the special hand controls, computers, and ramps cost nearly $100,000 and that doesn’t include the cost of the van itself.  Of course, we are hoping for insurance to really help us out, but at this time we don’t know.
Many people keep offering to help and my family and I truly appreciate the offers but I think we do have most things covered at this time.  If you would still like to help, we ask that you consider donating to a fund to help me cover expenses.  We hate asking for money, but at this time it is the one thing that could be beneficial. Even with the possibility of insurance, we are still looking at some large out of pocket expenses with my extended hospital stay and treatment, possibly having to hire another care giver once I am home, replacement wheelchair and a van to transport me now (and adapt for me to drive in the future).  Please see the Paypal donation button below (this will process through Michael's Paypal account for me) or mail to:
Angie Plager Recovery Fund
32541 585th Ave
Cambridge, IA 50046-8568

We are sincerely grateful for any assistance you are able to offer.

Thank you so much,
Angie Plager and Family

Typed and posted by Michael for Angie Plager