Sunday, August 24, 2008

Out of My Comfort Zone

I'm taking a blind leap and going totally out my comfort zone. Have you ever watched Channel 5 news when Mike Bush is doing his human interest pieces about people with amazing stories? There is a young woman in our church with just such a story. Every time I would watch Mike Bush, something would tickle me deep inside somewhere with the feeling that Paula's story should be told. Finally, this weekend at church, I told her my feeling and asked for her permission. She gladly gave her okay and provided me with some of the important dates and information. It's still a draft, but I'm attaching it to get your opinions.

Last year, while still fighting her illness, Paula met a man and they are now married. He supports her endeavors and tenacity 100%. Everyday continues to be a battle for her. She's already had to protect herself against students who come into her classroom with sniffles, etc., because her immune system is totally broken down. She's quite a lady. Give me your comments, but don't be too hard on me, please! I'm not a professional, you know.

"You’ve asked on your news broadcast for people to e-mail you stories. “Feel good” stories about people who are modern-day heroes. I know such a person, and I want to tell you about her.

I met Paula (Hummel) Wilder about five years ago. At the time we met, she appeared to be the picture of health. She was a single mom, raising three children, and supporting them on a teacher’s salary.

Around Christmas 2006, Paula became very ill. After trying to get through the illness on her own and failing, she went to the doctor. He diagnosed her with pneumonia and gave her medicine that he thought would help. It didn’t work, and she grew steadily worse.

Finally, on January 26, 2007, he referred her to another doctor, who immediately hospitalized her in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis. Several tests were run, and the doctor came back with tragic news. Paula’s lungs were barely functioning, and the doctor wasn’t expecting her to pull through this illness. He told her to get her affairs in order. If you knew Paula personally, you’d know that was like saying, “Sic ‘em” to a hound dog! She told the doctor to get busy fixing her up, because she was determined to live and raise her family. The doctor took her seriously and introduced her to a Pulmonologist and surgeon. They confirmed the gravity of her condition and prepared to do a lung biopsy. Meanwhile, Paula did as they had instructed and prepared her Last Will and Testament and Living Will. They didn’t think she had the strength to survive the ordeal and called in her family to say their goodbyes. Doctors scheduled a biopsy for January 29, 2007.

Following the biopsy, Paula was hanging on to life by a thread. The doctors put her on a vent and told her family she would probably not be able to breathe without help for three or four months. She was off the vent by that evening!

The doctors weren’t able to diagnose her condition until February 6, 2007. She was told she had a degenerative lung condition called ______________________________. The Pulmonologist started her on a heavy regimen of drugs to attempt to fight off the disease. On February 10, they released her from the hospital. Paula was so weak she could not bathe herself, hold her fork to feed herself, or dress herself. She had round-the-clock care. Her family stood by her side steadfastly and Home Healthcare and Home Health Rehab came regularly to assist her in exercising her lungs to try to achieve sufficient lung function to live a somewhat normal life.

Paula had to miss the entire last half of the 2007 school year, but the drive to get back into the classroom doing her job was strong. Although she must still carry an oxygen tank around with her at all times and hasn’t been declared “well”, she went back to work as a fifth grade teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in Granite City this school year.

The doctors are astounded at her resilience and ability to function, but Paula isn’t surprised at her progress. She leaned heavily on the shoulders of her loving family and relied on her strong Faith to bring her through. So far, it has worked, and she’s a walking miracle.

Mike, you need to meet her!"

1 comment:

Blessed Mama said...

Very inspirational! I love that they do stories like that on the news. The world and its people aren't all bad!