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$2,305 of $9,500
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24 donations

This fundraiser ended on 08/31/12

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The Gulick Family Recovery Fund is to help the Gulicks with their financial hardship following a year-long medical crisis and loss of work.

ALOHA! We're back!

Due to the structure of the GiveForward site, we had to shut down the Gulick Family Recovery fundraiser after we surpassed our initial goal. Thanks for helping us get off to such a great start! This is the second phase of the fundraiser designed to help us reach our final goal of $9500. Spread the word – there is power in numbers! Mahalo.

ALSO for PHOTOS of Chris' hospital experiences, see his Facebook page for recently posted pics http://www.facebook.com/chris.z.gulick

My name is Dana Hamp Gulick. I live in Honolulu with my husband Chris and our 7-year old daughter, Corinne.
Chris, age 42, is a loving father and husband and has been the primary provider for our family since I left my professional career prior to our 2009 move to Hawaii.

He works very hard as a self-employed vendor who provides services ranging from restoration of historical homes to re-tiling a bathroom in a condominium to painting homes and businesses inside and out. He is a fun-loving, gregarious guy with the work ethic of 10 Amish men!

We have created this fundraiser to get out our message about how Chris was injured, how he has been incapacitated over the last year and how he has been greatly hindered in earning a living for our family. And because we are in the midst of a dire financial emergency.

OUR STORY

Chris' unfortunate circumstances started in March 2011 when he lost his footing on a wet piece of plywood while carrying a 5-gallong bucket of water on his job site. He jammed his leg but was initially able to shake it off and get Corinne and me to the airport for our flight to the mainland, where we spent 10 days visiting with family and friends in Lancaster, PA.

Here’s the sequence of events that happened following Chris’ injury:
• In early April Chris saw a chiropractor who provided some relief
• By mid April Chris was referred to a non-surgical orthopedic clinic in Honolulu
• Xrays of his hip, pelvis and knee were ordered and came back clean , showing only mild wear and tear to be expected for a 41-year old male
• Chris was scheduled for 12 physical therapy appointments
• He continued to decline and his pain increased through early May
• He was prescribed anti-inflammatory meds and pain pills
• He went from walking unassisted to walking with a cane to walking full-time on crutches
• He scheduled further visits and examination and repeatedly requested an MRI
• In early June, after requesting a second opinion from another doctor in the practice, Chris reluctantly accepted their “process of elimination” plan and agreed to a fluoroscopy and corticosteroid shot to the hip
• Chris received the shot into his hip on June 13th – a photo of the fluoroscopy shows his hip and femoral head clean and intact
• He benefited from the shot for about 2 days and then his leg swells to twice its size and his pain worsens
• He continued to deteriorate over the next several weeks while the doctor at the orthopedic clinic ordered EMG and nerve testing and increased Chris’ pain medication
• At this point, Chris was unable to drive and had difficulty getting in and out of bed, in and out of the car and could barely make it up and down the steps
• Chris was finally scheduled for an MRI after the swollen leg prevented clear EMG and nerve testing results
• Due to his pain, Chris needed a nurse-assisted MRI in the hospital
• He was sedated and spent a full day at Straub Clinic in Honolulu getting and MRI, followed by a CAT scan which the on-duty radiologist wanted after seeing the MRI pictures
• Because the radiologist saw a leg full of fluid, she insisted on withdrawing articular fluid from Chris’ hip joint and sending it to pathology for testing
• At the follow up appointment two days later at the orthopedic clinic, the MRI and CAT scan results were revealed
• Chris appeared to have an occult fracture of the hip and would require specialized surgery – we were referred to one who informed us only two physicians on the island would be able to take care of Chris
• The preliminary results of the articular fluid showed common staph, but he orthopedic clinic didn't think it was anything to worry about -- just some common skin staph that showed up on the test
• That following Monday, by the grace of God, Chris got in to see Dr. Thomas Owens, who would save Chris’ life
• After 5 minutes of examination Dr. Owens said Chris had a septic hip
• Chris and I were dumbfounded and Chris had to call his mother, an RN of 30 years who had worked day surgery with Dr. Owens
• The doctor told us in no uncertain terms that Chris’ condition was critical. If the staph infection were to spread into his blood system, he would develop sepsis (blood poisoning), his organs could shut down and he would likely die.
• Chris had an infection that was walled-off in the hip joint, with no fever or other signs of infection
• Chris was admitted to Kuakini Medical Center the next day, where he underwent a series of tests to determine the location and nature of the infection; he also met with an infectious disease specialist, Dr.Lau
• Dr. Lau confirmed that Chris had staph in his hip joint and would need surgery and high-powered antibiotics
• On August 4th he had his first surgery to clean out the infection and softened bone. He was in the hospital for 8 days
• When released, he spent 42 consecutive days (7 days a week) driving across town to Kuakini Medical Center Ambulatory unit for intravenous infusions of antibiotics through a PICC line in his arm.
• While not as productive and in tremendous amounts of pain, Chris continued to work after his surgery although he was on crutches full-time
• We postponed our daughter’s 7th birthday party for one month so that Chris could finish his antibiotic infusion therapy and get into the ocean with the kids at the party
• A post-surgical xray showed that Chris’ hip socket and femoral head were badly damaged by the infection and would not regenerate as we and the surgeon had hoped
• It was then that Chris asked the doctor how he got a staph infection in his hip and the doctor said, “Chris you are a statistical anomaly; you don’t exist in my database.”
• It is the doctor’s professional opinion that the infection was introduced into the joint via an unsterile needle or fluoroscope or a contaminated batch of the corticosteroid, Kenelog
• Our xray records show that Chris had a solid, clean hip after his injury but before the shot and that after the shot he had a staph infection that destroyed the hip
• The doctor discussed his plans to do a total hip replacement but explained there was a risk due to the infection and therefore it would need to be a two-phase process
• So on November 18th, Chris underwent a second surgery to amputate the top of his leg bone (femoral head), scrape the soft bone out of the pelvis and put in an antibiotic spacer for intensive treatment of the staph infection
• Over the next several weeks, Chris' infectious disease doctor watched his white blood count and SED levels for signs that the staph infection was being eradicated
• Once the wound was nearly healed and the infectious disease doctor gave the green light, Chris would get a new hip
• On December 15th, Chris underwent his third surgery, receiving a custom-made hip replacement on his right side
• The doctor told Chris “You’ve been a warrior and you’ve been through a lot; but you’re over the mountain and now it’s downhill to recovery.”
• Chris returned home after 3 days and was home in time to help decorate for Christmas
• Chris was prescribed one year of oral antibiotics and physical therapy

During the last 12 months, we have worked hard to cover our expenses.

• Chris continued working throughout the injury and infection - as much as was possible but at a greatly decreased rate of productivity and income
• He returned to work as soon as he could after all three surgeries – being the fighter he is, he got up out of bed just hours after surgery,. But things were not the same and many months of work were lost throughout the last year
• I (Dana) worked a part-time job 5 evenings a week and still do
• I cared for Chris full-time during the days and through the nights – changing dressings, helping with his mobility, helping with daily living activities, driving him to and from doctor appointments
• During the days I would assist him in moving equipment, setting up jobs, getting to and from job sites and with whatever help he needed on his current project
• I took on two part-time teaching jobs at Corinne’s elementary school for extra income
• Chris sold $10,000 and about 85% of his work equipment via Craigslist
• We sold his work vehicle
• We sold his surfboard and other sporting equipment
• We sold hundreds of dollars of household items (dining set, daughter's bunk bed, computer desk, entertainment center, etc.) on Craigslist and to friends
• We had assistance from our church, family and friends

It has been so hard to watch my strong husband suffer so much during all of this. We are so thankful for all the help and support we’ve had. It is very difficult to publicly ask for help and it has been a tragic experience to find ourselves in such a dire financial situation.

We suffered a medical catastrophe and it could happen to anyone. When they say, “it could happen to you,” believe it, because it could and did happen to us.

OUR NEEDS

We’ve realized that we are allowing ourselves to drown without waving our arms at those sitting on shore … we need those that can to throw us a life-line and pull us to shore – even if the lifeguards don’t know us. Once there, we’ll catch our breath and begin rebuilding our lives. Until then, we continue to flail, sink, take on more water and eventually, without help, we will drown. For the sake of our child and each other, Chris and I have resolved to put pride aside and ask any and all who can to help us in our time of need.

To stave off an eviction from our home, we began fundraising. Currently we are 30 days behind on all utilities, transportation registration and living expenses and 45 days behind on our rent. We feel that reaching out through this website is going to help us achieve our goal of raising $14,000 by the end of August.

Due to the structure of the GiveForward website, we will receive funds only after the fundraiser ends. Because we need to generate funds in “chunks,” we will be doing several mini fundraisers to meet our total goal.

Phase 1: Emergency phase:
Our immediate need: $2350 THIS WEEK by the 14th
Please help us stay in our apartment, keep our utilities on and keep our only car on the road legal and safe

Phase 2: Catch up phase:
Our monthly cost of living is $3500 and we need to get current -- $7000 by August 3rd

Phase 3: Rebuilding phase
$4650 by August 31st

Help us get Chris used, reliable work transportation, plus registration and insurance ($2500) so he can begin rebuilding his business and earning potential

We need to pay off medical copayments so we can resume follow up care: Chris needs a podiatrist to assess collateral damage to his left foot (due to being on crutches for 8 months) and needs to resume his physical therapy (which he had to stop when we couldn’t meet the co-payments)

The remainder will go for new glasses for Corinne, other maintenance we’ve postponed for our vehicle, and new clothes and shoes for Chris

THANK YOU - MAHALO

Despite all that we have been through, we are aware of how we have been loved and blessed in abundance during these hard times. From the bottom of our hearts, we send deepest thanks to our families, friends and supporters. We know you’ll continue to help us recover by helping us raise needed funds. Thanks for all the love.
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