July 2014, my sister, who lived in a group home was in the hospital for 22 days, (11 of them in ICU), followed by another 3 weeks in an acute-care facility. After TONS of Dr. appointments (all fall) we (my other sister and I , being partners as Marlene's advocate through all of this ) were back at hospital Christmas day, then surgery New Year's Eve day.... with another 23 days of hospital stays, followed by more acute-care.... before returning to her group home. February 9, 2015 we got the phone call that her blood sugar jumped to 500, and after EMS arrived, she went into cardiac arrest... her body just couldn't fight any longer.
Hoping to give others a better understanding of life with a Special Needs Person:
Here's her bio that was shared at her Celebration of Life Service:
May 12, 1955 - February 9, 2015
|Me holding newborn baby sister|
|Marlene in our doll cradle|
Marlene had low Apgar scores, and suspected lack of oxygen during birth. The Dr. told Mom & Dad that she would be a “challenging child” because she was “borderline”…. In other words smart enough to know that she was different!
Marlene lived up to that description her entire 60 years!
With delayed motor milestones, sitting up > a year, walking > 2 yrs
At 3 ½ yrs of age she fell off of a stool while washing her hands, and sustained a “concussion”, while in the hospital, her vocabulary grew from 6 or 8 ---to 10 or 12 new words a day…. We couldn’t believe when she came home what had happened!
The cute little curly headed girl, wasn’t always so adorable…. It seemed like dinner hour was the worst time… Mom had one idea, and Dad had another…. And Marlene’s behavior was the root of most of the argument…. With Marlene in school all day, Mom went back to teaching…. Maybe that classroom of teenagers typing away was a relief to the crazy and uncertain times at home, when nobody knew for certain how to handle Marlene!
As a young adult, she was a “typical teenager”… and then some…. “I don’t want pizza for dinner …. I want steak….. next night: I don’t want steak for dinner I want pizza”… and on and on….
Marlene was “mainstreamed” into a few classes at Royal Oak Dondero H.S. and was extremely proud of her sewing creation, and her graduation. I found her wallet size diploma in her purse this week.
Marlene lived in 6 group homes, and a couple of apartments (by herself, but supervised) She worked for New Horizons, and Freedom, at various facilities. Her favorite jobs were working at the Food Bank, and being in the Community.
|Special Olympics Bowling Team|
She had a variety of hobbies over the years, including bowling with Special Olympics, latch-hook rugs, scrapbooking, puzzles, visiting the dollar store, and spending her sister’s money.
Favorites : The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Muppets, Beverly Hillbillies, Brady Bunch, Flipper, & Partridge Family.
|Last trip to Disney World|
Marlene loved to have fun, and in her young-at heart spirit, always talked about “THE KINGDOM” We all hoped she’d be able to make that trip again… but …I remember when Dad died, a grief counselor had a great conversation with Marlene, and she said to the girl, “Personally, I don’t know about you, but I believe in God” SO, instead of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, she went for the Big One in the Sky.