LIMA — The last year has been particularly challenging for Michelle. In January, her husband, John, had a heart attack. Just about a week into returning to work as a roofer, John then had a 20-foot fall that broke his leg and ankle in three places.
He had to have reconstructive surgery, so he is still facing at least a few months of healing until being able to return to work.
“There really couldn’t be anything too overwhelming — he was just so worn out,” Michelle said following John’s heart attack. “It was just scary, that’s what it was, because we didn’t know if it was going to happen again. Anytime he had any little ache or pain, we were all on edge.”
Fast forward to the fall, and Michelle said John was very calm about it all — mostly because he had just been through worse. John recently had his staples removed from the surgery but has still not been medically cleared to bear weight on the leg, so he is still on crutches.
On top of helping to take care of John, Michelle also cares for her 25-year-old son with cerebral palsy and two other children, ages 12 and 13.
“Tiring — that’s the best way to say it,” Michelle said of her day-to-day tasks between caring for her husband and children.
Following her husband’s heart attack, she had to move from full-time to part-time at work to be able to take him to and from doctors’ appointments, both for his leg and his heart. In February, more than a year after dropping down to part-time, she will be able to return to work as long as John’s leg heals properly.
Michelle, however, said the hardest part is seeing how it all is affecting her children.
“It’s hard sometimes because the kids aren’t able to do the things they normally do,” she explained. “We used to be able to go places together on the weekends and do things, but that’s not realistic right now.”
They are still staying very positive throughout the journey, she quickly added.
“We had to be away at the doctor one time, so they put up the tree to surprise us,” Michelle shared. “It’s still a special time, it doesn’t matter if we have the money to get a bunch of stuff.”
What would help her family the most, Michelle said, are gift cards to grocery stores or gas cards to help with getting to and from appointments. The top thing on her wishlist, though, is a rocking chair for her son with cerebral palsy.
“He rocks constantly to help calm himself. It wouldn’t have to be anything fancy, just a basic rocking chair. That comforts him so much,” she said.
For her younger children, she said clothes are always helpful, since they are at a growing age. Her other son wears size 29/30 in men’s pants and a medium in shirts, while her daughter, who also loves art, is in girls size 14/16. Her 25-year-old son wears size 16/18 in boys’ pants and a men’s small in shirts.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.