Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Busy Bees Helping Hazel

It's time for a progress report! I've been buzzing about like a busy bee, working so many angles on so many fronts. Bees, dog, bed, van, power chair, oxygen...you've helped save our girl's life, and we're going to get our girl a life worth living.

First and foremost, heartfelt thanks to all who have helped over the last couple of months, including Nicky, George, the Elves, Heather, Karen, Ginny, Barbara, Sally, Neil, Robert, Glenys, and the customers of my Pajama Jamberry fundraising effort. I've conveyed your good wishes to Hazel, and just hearing of your support is so amazing and gratifying to her. It's truly moving, when she's been made to feel like human garbage, for her to find there are people out there who care about her.

You can make your nails pretty and be helping Hazel, you can even help just by "liking" my Pajamaberry Facebook Page, and you can help Hazel while helping ME Research or helping save bees. Yes, bees! Curious? Read on...

Hazel has horrible nightmares due to PTSD. When she has a happy dream, though, she dreams of bees! And it has long been her daydream to keep bees. So, for a little over a year, I've been attending meetings of the Sonoma County Beekeepers' Association whenever I could, and I've learned a lot about bees, but maybe the most motivating thing I've learned, is what a great organization it is.

Speakers from all over the country address the monthly meetings and applaud the SCBA as a model of bee activism, while between those meetings there are smaller "cluster" meetings, booths and displays at community events, visits to schools and other groups: a constant education effort not only about beekeeping, but about bees themselves, and how we can help them (and the planet) survive.

Bee Dazzling nontoxic biodegradable nail wrap raises funds to help bees and Hazel.

So it's my pleasure to assist their efforts, while helping Hazel too, by offering this exclusive "Bee Dazzling" nail wrap. For each sheet sold, I donate $2 to the Sonoma County Beekeepers Association. There are other beekeeping groups of course, in other places, but none does more in the way of education, outreach, and cooperation. I'm proud to support them as a member, a volunteer and a fundraiser.

I've also got special wraps to raise awareness and funding for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis research. Check them out at the Pajamaberry Facebook page!

Bees are nice to have around, and their presence will probably prove therapeutic to Hazel, but there's another animal on her horizon: her service dog. In talking with a trainer, I learned so many more ways her dog will be able to help our girl. Not only will the dog be trained to wake her from nightmares and fend off panic attacks, but it can pull her, carry for her, call 911 for her, steady her when she's dizzy and help her up off a bed, chair, or floor.

What breed or mutt will win the opportunity to help Hazel? We're so eager to find out!

Once we are able to make an initial payment to the trainer, she'll get to work identifying the right dog for Hazel - something large enough to lean on, something calm and steady and very devoted, and of course something smart. Then the trainer will put the dog through a rigorous two weeks' testing before it's cleared to start learning its job. I'm so excited to be embarking on this! Obtaining and training a dog will take time, energy, and of course money, but is going to make such a difference in the life of a seriously threatened young woman. And Hazel is excited, too! For her, wild excitement shows up as a soft little smile, is all, but I can tell you that soft smile shines when we talk about the dog. This dog will be doing so much to help Hazel at home, and, eventually, out and about.

Another big project continues to be the bed project. We have tried three different freebie beds and still, Hazel wakes in tears of pain, when she has been able to sleep at all. It's time we got this patient a comfortable bed! So, having looked into various adjustable beds, we've decided she'll try the Sleep Number basic model. I'm working the angles to get her every discount on the most affordable deal they can strike, and we are within striking distance. So dream a little dream with me: Hazel waking refreshed, rested, and in just that nice little bit less pain. And yeah, me not getting woken up at all hours to attend to her in her miserable insomnia. If you're going to have a life, you have got to get some sleep.
Dream a dream of comfort...visualize a night of sleep. 

Mobility plans are going to be a bit more of a stretch, to bring into reality. Hazel's doctor is writing a recommendation for a power wheel chair, as well as officially recommending the dog, and oxygen therapy. Maybe you can see what's coming next? Yes, we will definitely need a way to transport a power wheel chair, as well as a dog, and oxygen tanks!

At 22, when other people are at university or launching their careers, not to mention going to concerts, traveling, playing at the beach with friends, dancing and falling in love, and generally reveling in the early years of their adult lives, Hazel is stuck living in three rooms, constantly attended by her mom. When she does get out, it's only as far as the doctor's office. And when she goes to the doctor's office it's torture, because our car's shocks are shot, so it rides rough, it's noisy, it leaks and the carpets have got moldy, and the heat and cooling don't work. Hazel is extra-sensitive to the noise and the jolts and the cold or heat, so riding anywhere in that car is torture. 

Add to that, the difficulty for me or our helper, of wedging a collapsible wheelchair into and out of the car. Something has got to give! Sadly, what gave, last week, was my helper's back. My own back nearly breaks on those trips to her clinic in San Francisco when I have to load and unload the chair and push it up and down hills and into and out of narrow elevators and halls. We just can't do this anymore. We've tried to make it a while longer with that 28-year-old, too-small, too-broken car but we need a break, and not in the spine. We need a van with a wheelchair lift, for the power chair we're going to get. 

Wheel-chair wheels, wedged halfway into the ancient sedan. 

So far, no progress on the quest for wheels, but we will continue to work all the angles, seeking a charity or disabled services organization that can help.

So, you can see, we have our projects piled up for us, but we've made some progress to report, and we're putting every bit of help we can get, to the very best use. Thank you all for your help and caring in the past year, and we share with you all the highest hopes for a better life in the new year. Now, Hazel is waiting for me to bring her some water so I'm gonna post this quick... sorry for any typos... gotta buzz! 

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