We’ve been happy to offer $140 thus far, and to help get the word out via this eloquent blog. If elephant readers are inspired to give, please join via the Donate button.
Help Heidi Heal.
It was a beautiful summer evening, July 22nd, 2013, just four days after her birthday.
Heidi was on the patio of her second floor apartment finishing one of her watercolor paintings when a breeze blew the painting into the air. As Heidi went to grab it, she suddenly found herself falling in slow motion over the balcony, the railing slipping from her fingers, the ground coming closer. Twenty or so feet below, landing on her hands and knees, Heidi tried to move and couldn’t. She wondered what had happened. Did she slip? Trip? Her boyfriend, Ben, had taken the their dog for a brief walk before dinner. He arrived home to find his Love in a dire state, and went into action.
The ER doctors reported several breaks in her femur (thigh bone) including a compound fracture that caused her to lose a lot of blood, as well as a shattered knee cap. Fortunately, Heidi has no brain injury or other injuries. After two surgeries, a metal rod, several pins, and about 80 staples later, Heidi was placed in the ICU for two days, and eventually discharged by her doctors after several days of rest and careful watch. Our Heidi could not get out of that hospital fast enough!
Heidi’s doctors have indicated that she will not be able to put any weight on her injured leg for SIX MONTHS while the bones heal, using crutches as her main means of getting around. Imagine walking around on one leg without the use of your arms. It makes things a little tough. It will likely be at least nine months before Heidi is walking completely on her own. Once the doctors give her the go-ahead, she will endure long, hard hours of physical therapy for many months to come. She will need to learn to walk again.
Heidi did not have health insurance at the time of the accident. Currently, her applications for Medicaid and the Colorado Indigent Care Program are in process. If she is lucky, those programs will reduce her medical bills considerably but will by no means cover all of her expenses and specialist care. Just one day in the ICU can cost as much as $10,000. Her surgeries are probably closer to $100,000.
Heidi will not be able to earn any of her regular income while she is recovering. As many of you know, she is a barista at the Trident Cafe in downtown Boulder. Excessive medical bills will compound the serious loss of income. Bills that will continue to add up for her over the next year of rehabilitation. Though she hopes to learn some new graphic design and illustration skills with all this “time off”, it may take some time to turn that into income.
Any amount you can give will help offset the cost of her medical bills (estimates over $10,000) and costs of living (rent, utilities, food, transportation = approx. $1000/month).
For the next several months while her beloved partner, Ben, is working outside the home making an earnest living cleaning carpets, Heidi will be housebound, “crutching about” in a straight-leg brace in her third floor apartment (yes, they actually had to move in the last two weeks as well!). She calls herself as Rapunzel, and Rapunzel would love visitors!
In addition to visits from friends and family, Heidi would benefit greatly from some routine assistance by Home Care Providers. They are highly skilled, trained, insured professionals. The Care Providers would help keep Heidi safe and cared for in her home, offering assistance with medical needs, personal hygiene, household chores, and basic companionship as needed.
Heidi will also need dependable people with reliable car transportation to bring her to multiple weekly medical and physical therapy appointments. The Care Providers would be able to drive Heidi to and from appointments and run errands (like picking up medications). Heidi and many of her friends rely on biking and public transportation, and do not own cars. She cannot drive herself anywhere while her leg is immobilized.
With a modest estimate of fifteen hours per week for the next six months, a Home Care Provider would cost Heidi $7800 at this point.
Despite all of this, a visit with Heidi last weekend revealed her incredibly strong spirit in tact! Her heart is tender from the outpouring of love and support thus far and Trident has held some successful fundraisers for her already. Ben makes her lunch every day, putting it in a bag in the fridge for her to grab later while he is at work. She’s trying to figure out a way to get her watercolor supplies back out and in use, but finding a good position and set up is tough. Their new apartment gets good sun light and is easy to get around. And their sweet puppy dog, Petunia, sits loyally by Heidi’s side all day long. Her post-op follow up appointment on Monday, August 5th was “status quo”, staples were removed, and her incisions are healing well. Her next appointment is Thursday, August 15th. Heidi has emphasized over and over that she would love visitors, phone calls, and emails – so don’t be shy!
Heidi, Ben, and Petunia are all doing remarkably well at this point, with lots of people chipping in but it’s a long road ahead and the “new reality” is just beginning to set in. We’ll be using this site to give you updates on Heidi’s progress and to raise money for her.
The money raised on this site will be used to directly support Heidi’s recovery from her injuries sustained on July 22nd. Our support will lift her spirits, fill her with love, and ease her mind. Right now, we – her friends, family, and community – are the ones who are going to help carry Heidi and Ben through this difficult time. I hope that this website can make it easier for people who want to help but are further away and can not physically be with Heidi. With your financial support, you will help Heidi and Ben surf the many waves that come with a long-term recovery. These are two loving, generous, gifted souls who deserve our help right now. Please let Heidi and Ben know how much you care about them and make a donation today. Even a small amount helps. Thank you so much!