Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Life is Like Without Chewing or Smiling #HealHazel #YouCaringGives

Wishing I could surprise and cheer her somehow, I made a baked apple--a soft food and a bit of a treat. But when I took it up to her she only felt bad, having to turn it down. "I'm sorry--I can't eat it right now--the pain is bad."

Anyone want a baked apple? 

So my effort backfired.  Not only was she unable to enjoy the baked apple, but she apologized for my wasted effort, and I could see how badly it hurt her even to move her mouth to talk, to tell me she couldn't eat. So I had just made her feel worse...

And that's how it's been going since early May.

After the naproxen and acetaminophen kick in, maybe she can handle the baked apple, or a smoothie, or sorbet. Maybe tomorrow I can get her a flowering plant, for Thanksgiving, instead of a feast, or maybe we'll have news of progress towards her puppy. Maybe I can find a funny story to share with her.

My job is to conjure that rare smile.

Okay, so here it comes again, the link where you can help me ease her pain and repair her smile. Because as nice as flowers and funny stories are, and as much as she needs her service dog, she really needs to be able to eat.

Oh, and please nominate her to win a $500 donation from YouCaring by leaving a message, at the fundraiser linked below, including the hashtags #YouCaringGives and #HealHazel.

 Heal Hazel with TMJ Specialist and #YouCaringGives


Here's a pic of Hazel (on the right in red) with her sister and me, once upon a time, at the beach, when all was not gloom and doom (just so you know we're not some kind of dismal ghouls).

Snapped at the beach on a happier day. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

What fun is Thanksgiving when you can't visit or chew? #YouCaringGives hope to #HealHazel

A quick thought before you go back to the holiday whirl.

What is that whirl, but the joy of visiting with family and friends, and the pleasure of sharing a feast with them? Thanksgiving brings up the warm image of loving faces around a table, and afterwards, that satisfying feeling of being full of food and surrounded by love.

 Maybe the travel is a pain. Traffic, bad weather, short tempers, yeah, it can be rough!

But what if you couldn't do any of it? What if you couldn't travel, couldn't sit down at a table, couldn't gather with friends or family -- what if you couldn't even chew one bite of turkey?

That's the situation Hazel is in, so please help her. All we have to do is give, and the jaw pain specialist will do the rest. Even the smallest donation will be a big help, because you can help enter Hazel to win an extra $500 from the best ever crowd funding site, YouCaring. Just donate a dollar or two, but be sure to say in a message with your donation,
"I nominate #HealHazel for #YouCaringGives." Those hashtags could be the key to her getting a big boost towards her goal. And now, in the spirit of the season, Thank You! For more information see Heal Hazel with TMJ Specialist and #YouCaringGives

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Arf! Argh! Help Hazel chew!

$1740 raised toward our $3500 doggy goal = Arf!

$6000 needed for Hazel to be able to chew = Argh!

But we won't be stopped just because the goal is bigger. We've been able to do so much to help Hazel so far, and I'm sure we will be able to help her chew.

Chew?? Yes, chew. As if life was not already painful enough, for Hazel, her jaw pain is now so extreme she can barely chew. For more information see Heal Hazel with TMJ Specialist and #YouCaringGives

Monday, August 8, 2016

Join the Puppy Party - a Heal Hazel fundraiser for Hazel's Hound. 

When I met with the trainer for the first time, I was blown away. A service dog could do so many more things for Hazel, than I had imagined! 

Blown away.

I had told her Hazel needed a support dog because of PTSD, and first, she blew me away listing so many ways a dog could help. Besides providing the emotional support of a caring companion, and comfort in uncomfortable social situations, the dog could be trained to fend off impending panic attacks, interrupt nightmares, and even secure the perimeter. Joellen has trained service dogs for soldiers with PTSD, so she knows the wide range of needs a person has, when coping with the aftermath of brutal violence.

Then Joellen asked me, "what are Hazel's physical limitations?"

I dismissed the question. "Well, she has M.E. and there's not much a dog can do about that."

But Joellen was about to blow me away again. "Okay, but tell me about her physical limitations anyway."

So I told her about chronic pain, exhaustion, and confusion. I figured there wasn't much a dog could do about those. Then I added that she gets very dizzy and is extremely weak, so getting up from the bathtub, or climbing stairs, can be a problem.

"A dog can help with those!" Joellen said.

We don't know yet what breed of dog or mutt Hazel will get, but Joellen will help us find good candidates and test them for personality and trainability to make sure Hazel's Hound is able to handle all its work. 

But wait, there's more! 

I hadn't even thought of it, but, yes, a dog can be trained to help Hazel up out of the tub, to go get help if she falls and can't get up, to steady her on the stairs, and of course to fetch and carry things for her. When my own M.E. makes me unable to carry something upstairs to Hazel, her dog could do that. And when I'm too ill to push her wheelchair, the dog can pull it!

Her dog can be trained to remind Hazel to take her meds, and alert her if there's someone at the door. Those are things I take care of now, but with her dog, Hazel could have a better chance of someday living independently.

We all need somebody to lean on. 

Hazel's hound will be someone for her to lean on, in so many way. Everyone could use a friend, sometimes, but imagine being 23 years old and housebound for ten years --- never having been well enough to finish high school, go to parties and concerts, even go to the library or a park, and definitely not well enough to get a job (Well okay, she did have one paid job as a kid, before she was sick, doing what? Dog walking!)

Imagine turning 23 not being able to move away and go to college, not being able to play the musical instruments you once loved, barely being able to express yourself at all.

And then imagine not only having Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but also having been the victim of a horrible attack while still a pre-schooler, and suffering from the horrifying memories that trigger panic attacks and nightmares. Hazel often stays awake for 40 hours or more, at a stretch, because the pain is so bad it keeps her awake, only to fall asleep and have nightmares so bad they wake her, and she doesn't dare fall asleep again.

Life looks so much better. 

Now imagine that young woman, tormented by pain and horrors, but having a big, reliable, supportive companion dog beside her. Life looks a whole lot better, doesn't it? Especially if that dog can increase not only her comfort but also her mobility and independence.

Dog Days are here and Birthday is coming.

It's now the Dog Days of Summer, and Hazel's birthday is coming in mid-September. So now is the time for us to gather up the money to give Hazel her happiest birthday present---one huge, happy and huggable hound dog.

Please give what you can. Here's Joellen's estimate: Dog: $350 - $1500
Initial testing, boarding and training for 4 to 6 weeks $2000 to $3000
Lessons for Hazel with the dog, three to five: $150 to $250
Intermittent boarding and training at certain critical developmental stages: $1000 to $2000
Total: $3500 to $6750

Matching Fund!

That's a lot of money, but a generous donor K.K. has put up a matching fund to get us started. If we can raise $1000 this month, she will match that with an additional $1000, so by the beginning of September we'll have enough to get the dog and start the training.

Other Funding Sources

We're completely disabled, with no savings to draw on, but we'll raise what we can by selling some classic old toys, doing tarot readings, and selling nontoxic, biodegradable nail art at/Pajamaberry Jamberry Nails, and an online writers' community has offered to hold a writing contest to help raise funds, too, so watch for details on those fundraising activities in later blogs.

Thank you! 

If you can help with a donation, thank you. If you can help by sharing this blog on social media, or supporting in any other way, thank you for that, too! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Clean Wheels: no more Molds-mobile!

Hooray! And whew! We did it, thanks to you, KM, KK, MJ, EB, JB, TW and KO, and thanks to everyone who shared and cared. Greatest gratitude. And yes, we can fit two people two wheelchairs and a large dog. Next step will be getting, and training, the dog!

The New Wheels

Thanks also to Bill from Vinnie's where they clean up the donated cars and give them a thorough mechanical going-over, then sell them at a very reasonable rate! That's Bill's arm on the right, above. 

Behind the wheel, Hazel's mom smiling additional thanks at KM who was not only the chief donor and instigator, but also drove to the car lot and provided moral support and spiritual guidance and muscle power. A generous friend! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Next Phase - Drive for Wheels

This '88 Toyota Camry served us well for 7 years but now it's time to face it... We've been sick and sicker 9 years, we're both needing wheelchairs when we go out, and Terwilliger Toyota, besides being a bit small to accommodate the chairs,.has really gotten too decrepit to be on the road.

 Leaking badly in winter rains, growing mold that can't be cleaned completely out, riding so rough and noisy that even a short drive is torture to poor Hazel, AC and heater equally broken, and various electrical stuff constantly acting strangely, poor old Terwilliger is alas going to have to retire before making it to 300,000 miles. 

The great news I just got, though, is that a friend and philanthropist is willing to contribute $2000 towards Terwilliger's replacement. Also good news, I'm seeing some vehicles that look like good possibilities for only a little more than that amount. Maybe $2400, maybe $3400 -- so we almost have enough, already!

Just to be sure we've got tax and license covered, I'm going to shoot for $4000. If our replacement vehicle costs less than funds raised, anything left over will roll into our Service Dog Account. When we go into full fundraising mode for Hazel's Hound, I'll blog again to tell you all the wonderful ways that the dog will be trained to support Hazel physically and emotionally.

For now, it's the Drive for Wheels. Let's roll!
I'm willing to sell my Trinity College Octave Mandolin for $600 to help make goal. But I'm hoping you'll Donate!

23 June, Goal Achieved!
Thank you so much, KM, JB, EB, MJ, TW and KK! You put us over the top, we're going to get our car, and We are so, so grateful!

19 June, Fast and generous responses from kind friends, are moving our thermometer up. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quality Sleep: the Sleep Number Bed Arrived!

Hazel's new Sleep Number bed arrived at last. Actually, it arrived very promptly after we got all the nonsense cleared up. She's already been sleeping on it for a couple of weeks!

Hazek's Sleep Number Bed, cat tested and approved. 

We're still working on a lot of sleep issues, but this bed has really solved the comfort issue at last. So, once again, I want to say how very grateful we are to everyone who contributed and made this happen. It's a huge improvement!

She still has problems with day/night reversal, nightmares and panic attacks. The reversal issue might respond to melatonin. She tried it before but perhaps for too short a time or at too high a dose, so we'll revisit that. She has paradoxical reactions to most other sleep meds: that is, instead of helping her sleep, they make her jittery.

For the nightmares and panic attacks, the treatment suggestion that she's most interested in persuing it a dog! That's a fun treatment! And very practical, as a service dog can not only ward off panic attacks and wake her from nightmares, but help her up from the floor or bath or bed when she's having trouble standing, pull her in her wheelchair, and be a support when she needs somebody to lean on. So, the next step in our fundraising efforts will be toward her Service Dog and its training.

Meanwhile, when she can sleep, she's sleeping better and waking with far less pain, and that is thanks to you kind people who have shared the blog and contributed donations or bought things to support our effort. Thank you!