Jazmin Paquette, 31, has had to make the difficult decision to have both of her legs amputated, and she is hoping for a little support from the community.
The Abbotsford woman was rushed to the hospital in severe pain almost three months ago. She doesn’t remember being taken in the ambulance, but woke up in the hospital in extreme pain. Her lower legs were three times their size.
“I woke up screaming in the hospital, already not able to walk because of the pressure,” she told The Abbotsford News. She was suffering from something called compartment syndrome. Her first surgery involved making two foot-long cuts lengthwise on each leg. Vacuums and bandages were added to each incision to try to help her circulation.
Three weeks later Paquette had another surgery to remove tissue. Her bandages are changed every three days, and she hasn’t walked since that first day. To try to keep her lower legs will mean many more months of pain in the hospital, including skin grafts. She will need to learn how to walk again.
This weekend, she made the informed decision that amputation would be the best way forward, to get on with healing and getting used to her new limitations.
“Today (March 5) I finally told the doctor ‘I’ve had enough. Please take this pain away, I’m done. Please take my legs.’”
Meanwhile, Paquette’s roommate gave up their rental while she’s been laid up in hospital. All of her personal belongings are gone. On top of that, someone else is caring for her two young children.
All Paquette wants right now to get her through what’s to come, is her father by her side. He lives in the Shuswap, and can’t afford to travel back and forth regularly. He’s been down to visit twice since she’s been admitted, but Paquette is hoping to get him down for the surgery.
“He’s my support network,” she said.
She has done the math. He needs $140 in gas each way, about five or six nights at a hotel and some money for food while he’s here, plus gas back and forth to the hospital. He will need to kennel his dogs and get back to the Shuswap quickly to care for his ailing mother.
With emergency money worked in, Paquette’s budgeted the trip at about $1750. And she’s hoping the community will help them out.
“I will never walk on my own feet ever again,” she said. “I need his hugs before I get to one of the biggest appointments of my life.”
Her new life will be one on disability, and she hasn’t seen the social worker yet about budgeting for that. She doesn’t know how much prosthetics will cost, or if all her prescriptions are covered.
She will be heading to her dad’s place when she’s discharged, which is wheelchair accessible. But she wonders if she’ll need a scooter, or how she will manage in the shower on her own. How will she get to rehabilitation appointments, and what will she need to get in and out of bed?
How will she manage to move back to the Fraser Valley area to eventually be closer to her kids again?
In short, there are a lot of questions when all she wants is a little security. Having her dad with her for the amputation, which is still at least a week away, and having a little cushion to settle into her new life would provide that for her.
“Not having to worry about finances while in the biggest decision of my life to amputate both my legs from the knee down,” she added. “No matter what, anything raised will help some way through my journey, my new life without my lower legs.”
She texted her story to a reporter throughout the day in Mission Memorial Hospital, and through it all she kept her sense of humour.
When asked how she is handling it all with that intact, she said it’s easy.
“I think the hard days are yet to come,” she said.
She has decided not to go through GoFundMe, and her family is taking donations directly by e-transfer to Paquette’s aunt, who is helping her manage the money and make sure it’s put to good use. To help or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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