ANOTHER GREAT DAY IN OUR WORLD

web developer     Today we made great strides forward for the foundation.  Mary met with David Votto who is a web developer and he volunteered to redo our entire web site, bringing it up to much higher standards than it has been (to say the least).  And he is doing this at no cost to the foundation.  In the mind of someone who is sorely lacking in technical skills (Mary), he’s a genius!  Mary left the meeting with a short list of things David will need for this project and now we will wait to see the final product.  This is going to be such a marketing tool, especially in the area of fund raising.  Potential donors will be able to go to our website and REALLY find out what our foundation is all about and also to find out exactly what we need, financially and otherwise.

And another great thing today…Mary got home from the meeting with David and opened the mail, only to find a donation check for $5,000!  We are so incredibly grateful to our extremely generous donor.  This donation makes it possible to get started on Apartment #2, and that what we are all about!

It’s been a mixed emotion week

Tough Week                                                                     This week has been terribly emotional.  It’s hard to explain so that others can understand.  As everyone knows by now, our transplant apartment is being lived in and that is really, really good news.  A goal and dream of ours has been met.  We have worked hard to reach this goal and I don’t think any of us has had all of this story sink in yet. I long for when it does.

With the process of talking to the caregiver two days ago and then turning over the keys to her this morning, a lot of memories that have been buried for a while rose to the surface.  And that hurt!  I was thrown back into an ICU unit, figuratively, of course.  I saw that damn ventilator.  I relived spending hours talking to Jeff, directly into his ear, knowing he could hear but that he couldn’t speak.  I relived what seemed like hundreds of trips from work to the hospital, leaving work at 5:00 and leaving the hospital never before 11:00.  I remember rubbing those big, old, size 13 feet, trying to keep them warm and, truthfully, just to make my boy happy.  I remembered stopping on my way to the hospital to buy Jeff dinner because he was sick of hospital food.  I remember talks that we had that hurt to the depths of my soul.  And so much more, including watching the monitor over Jeff’s head settle into a “flat line.”  He was gone, never to return.

It’s been a tough week.  I summed it up this way and it sounds dramatic, but I now believe it’s true.  Jeff had to sacrifice his life, and we had to sacrifice him so that other people would have a better chance at living.  I’ll never understand God’s ways, but I will accept them.  And thank the Good Lord that he gave us a vision that would bring some meaning to loosing our son.  Our prayers now are for the double-lung transplant patient that is living in the apartment that he will find rest and comfort, that those new lungs of his will heal completely and that he will go on to live a very fruitful and healthy life.  And we pray that his caregiver and wife will sleep well tonight in the comfy bed we have provided, because she has not had a bed to sleep in since May 24th.  The transplant journey is not an easy one, and I have been obsessed this week with remembering it.

Only someone who has walked this journey will ever understand.  Thankfully, we have an extended family, who love Jeff with all of their hearts, and who will listen and try to understand, offering so much love to us.  Like I told all of them yesterday, we must leave the past behind us because we are moving forward to a glorious future, serving transplant patients and their care givers.  It’s a great direction to be heading.

Love you, Jeff.  Your mom misses you more than she can say.  But I have the feeling that you know everything that is going on and you’re loving it.

MY, OH MY, OH MY! WE HAVE OUR FIRST APARTMENT GUESTS

Emory Healthcare

We got a call this morning from the Georgia Transplant Foundation that they have a lung transplant patient and his care giver for our apartment!   I don’t think we could have imagined that this would happen so soon.  We are elated!

Their names are William and Melody.  I will meet Melody on Saturday at noon to give her the keys to the apartment.  She has been sleeping in the hospital lobby since May 24th!  This is one of those things that we have always said should NEVER happen.

Interestingly, we also were contacted by two other hospital social workers today, one from Emory and one from Children’s.  I do believe we could have filled three apartments on our first day of operation if we had had them ready.  It really proves that there is an urgent need for what we are doing.

Our job now is to find financial donors in order to begin the second (and third?) apartment.  It costs $5,200.00 to have everything needed to rent an apartment.  That includes furniture, furnishings, apartment fee to get in and first months’ rent.   WE’RE ON IT!

WHAT AN EXCITING DAY THIS HAS BEEN!

WE ARE OFFICIALLY IN BUSINESS!

 

 

You are looking at a VERY happy family.  These pics were taken at the Open House for our first (of many!) transplant apartments.  The Social Workers at Emory and CHOA, along with the Georgia Transplant Foundation could put a patient and care giver into the apartment as soon as next week!  This is a dream-come-true for our foundation…2-1/2 years of hard work and this is the result.

Just a few pics to let you know what the apartment looks like…

Apt living room      Open House Orange Bedroom      Open House Kitchen      Open House Blue Bedroom      BIG DAYS ARE AHEAD!Open House Entry 3

 

 

The Saga of the Bed Rails

bed rails 2Who could have known what a problem bed rails could be.  (I’m writing this so that I won’t forget it….probably not much interest here for our blog followers.)

It is now Friday evening and I have just returned from the apartment, where I actually was able to put an entire bedroom together.  Doesn’t sound like much, but here’s what led up to it.

  1. Four days ago, we purchased bed rails at a store in Dawsonville and took them to the apartment.
  2. Attempted to install them on the head board and the foot board, but one end (where the “claws” are that fit into the headboard) was UPSIDE DOWN!
  3. Decided to just go to a mattress store in the neighborhood and buy another set and return the defective one later.
  4. Came home with a set without “claws” but with bolts.
  5. Called the mattress store to say we got the wrong rails.  They offered to deliver a set with “claws.”
  6. They did.
  7. Went to install them and the piece that goes in the middle for support was too short.  Looked like the crossbar was made for a full-size bed.
  8. Called the mattress store only to find out that we couldn’t return the bed rails unless we spent $59.00 for pick up.  Huh??  The store is literally 1/2 mile from the apartment.
  9. Decided to return the #1 bed rails to Dawsonville, which we did.  They exchanged them for a good set (even took them out of the box to measure to make sure everything was right).
  10. Attached the rails and made the bed!
  11. Got a call from the mattress store saying we could return the defective rails, which we did.  They gave us a credit.
  12. All of that to say that this adventure meant driving over 350 miles, mainly because we live so far away from the apartment!  Home-Dawsonville-home-apartment-mattress store-apartment-home-Dawsonville-home-apartment-mattress store-home.
  13. AND this caused A LOT of frustration.  I had to apologize to the mattress store person for being so rude.  She graciously accepted my apology.
  14. I’d like to say a lesson was learned, but I can’t think of one.  We were just the unlucky recipients of two (yes, two!) manufacturing screw-ups!
  15. And BTW….the bedroom looks fantastic!!  And I have to admit that this has been the ONLY frustrating thing about setting up this apartment.  Thank the good Lord!

ALL THE MOVING IS DONE!

College hunks

Another “small and last” move to the transplant apartment. We just had a mattress set and a washer/dryer to move and we had no luck finding anyone with a truck and some muscle to help. So we called the “College Hunks” moving company. Two great hunks moved our stuff and now we can finally say that EVERYTHING is in the apartment. They were great guys and did a great job.

Apartment Decorating Day

Apt living room

Yesterday, Mary and two of her best friends, Nancy and Kathy, spent the day at the apartment decorating.  It was fun!  All the pictures were hung, as you can see in the picture.  A few things were moved around and by the end of the day, the place looked INCREDIBLE!  Kathy and Nancy are two friends who have “stuck” with me since the beginning of this journey and I love them for it.  As much as anything, they have had big shoulders and listening ears.  They also have donated enough items that when they walked into the apartment, all I heard was “whoa, there’s my (what ever!)”   Thanks, girls…you’re the best!!

Mary’s First Opportunity to Speak

ASBN

This morning I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the Atlanta Senior Business Network Forsyth.  This is a great group of businesses that meet monthly to network and help each other grow their businesses.  I received my invitation from Nancy Votta, the founder of the group, who is fast becoming a very important part of our foundation.  I was able to speak to the people in attendance to introduce our foundation, explaining the why of our existence, the what of our existence (providing a bridge to life for transplant patients) and to tell them the very exciting news about our first apartment opening on July 1st.  I was received with so much interest and warmth.  The connection between the JCEF and the ASBN revolves around our need to furnish our apartments going forward and their ability to provide those furnishing through the generous donation of the seniors that they work with in many capacities.  Some were from assisted living residences, from organizations that place seniors when they are ready to downsize, from senior transition teams, and from home care medical staffing organizations.  What I heard over and over again is that when seniors chose to, or have to, downsize and move, they struggle with what to do with their household furnishings.  Many of them would rather donate them to a worthy cause than to worry about something like an estate sale.  And that is where we all can team up to the advantage of our transplant patients and their care givers.  Thank you so much to all who expressed so much interest in what we are doing!  It was simply amazing!

THE MOVE IS BASICALLY DONE!

Movers   OK….this might sound like a slight exaggeration, but when you’re in our age group, it’s not! These three movers were our angels yesterday. They came from “All My Sons” movers and they did a fantastic job. They moved fast and carefully. Everything arrived in perfect condition. They assembled the beds for us, which was such a help. And on top of everything, they were just great, personable guys. Thanks to Mr. Love and his crew!!

WE HAVE THE KEY TO THE APARTMENT!

Key day 1key day 2key day 3

On Saturday, June 10th, the family (excluding grandpa who was at work) headed down through HORRIBLE Atlanta traffic to Post Briarcliff Apartments to sign the final paper work and pick up the keys to Apartment 1536!  What an exciting day!  We opened the door to a BEAUTIFUL apartment, all super cleaned (it looked like new) and ready to move into.  The little kids had a blast just running around the place (which they call “Uncle Jeff’s Apartment”) and then we all pitched in to carry stuff from our cars into the apartment.  Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot, but what it meant to all of us was a BEGINNING and an ACCOMPLISHMENT of 2-1/2 years of hard work.

On Tuesday, June 13th, the movers will meet us at the storage unit to pick up all the furnishings that have been gathered over the last year or more from estate sales, yard sales, consignment shops and junk stores.  And then the fun will begin, especially for Mary and her friends, Kathy and Nancy, to put everything in it’s place and decorate, decorate, decorate….heaven!!