She mentioned one club member, Kent Gunderson, had hip surgery on April 15 and was recovering at the Life Care nursing home.
For the devotion, Bostic read from Psalms 85:6, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” and from Isaiah 64:1, “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.” She also read verses from John 4:10 and 14, and encouraged everyone to read that chapter in John, which talks about Jesus and his disciples’ going through Samara.
The guest speaker, Shari Buetow, was introduced and invited to share her story concerning the disease transverse mylitus. She said she and her husband over the past several years had gone through some 21 tragedies. “Our house had burned down, he (husband) had open-heart surgery and I could go on and on ... he broke his back and like I said, there were 21 main things that happened to us and they were all big things, not little things.”
At the time she became ill, Buetow was working at a facility in Charleston, driving a standup forklift and averaging around 72 hours a week, but was not attending church like she used to. She would always volunteer to work overtime and she would work so many hours a week, so they could pay off their bills.
The ordeal began in October when Buetow took a flu shot and then, in January she started feeling bad. The doctor prescribed pain pills for her back, but she didn’t get any better. She said that in the last five years at work, she had perfect attendance and she was employee of the month for January. But one Sunday morning in February, her legs started to fall a sleep and were hurting. She said she wasn’t sure if she would be able to go to work the next morning. Then about 3:30 in the morning, Buetow woke up to go to the bathroom, but her legs were hurting so bad, she told her daughter, April, to call 911 to get her to the hospital. But April called her father and he, April and another daughter, Christy, took Buetow to the hospital.
She was told they might have to do surgery. When she was asked about the severity of her pain on a 1 to 10 scale, she said it was 20. “It was just so horrible,” Buetow said. “My legs were feeling burned ... they were on fire. I felt like 1,000 bees stinging at me or [like someone was] just whipping me with a belt — it was excruciating pain.”
During the night, she was asked where could she feel the pain — and how far up her body did it advance? She answered saying that she could feel it crawling up her legs, but it stopped at her waist. So later that night she was given pain medication and something to drink and the next day she was able to eat some food. Shari said one of the symptoms she was experiencing was that her left side was more painful than her right side. Then during that week in the hospital, she had several more tests done and MRIs scans performed on her and was given a spinal tap, which made her sick, she said.
The doctor asked her if she had the flu shot, then the hospital staff kept coming in and asking her if she took the flu shot or been around people who had the flu.
She answered, “Yes.”
Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. The term myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord; transverse simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body. This can be the result of a flu shot, and when anybody gets the flu shot, they have to sign their name on a waiver, which mentions possible side effects. The doctors kept telling her that, “It was from the flu shot.”
After a week, she was admitted to Siskin’s hospital in Chattanooga, where she spent a month in rehab relearning to walk. Buetow said she didn’t know how to handle this. “I was the one that went out to everybody else,” she explained. “I wasn’t the one that was supposed to get sick.”
During her stay at Siskin’s, she said it was an emotionally trying time. “I would just sit there like this, you know and I just didn’t really care. I did not want to be there ... I didn’t know how to take all this,” she said. The staff continued to work on her and she started to warm up to them. Then one of the staffers encouraged her to stand up from her wheelchair and reach out for his arms as she started to walk. She took one big step and started to fall. She made several attempts and would fall each time, but they kept encouraging her to move forward.
After a month, she was finally released to go home to start her new life. She credited the fact that her being strong at her job, working all those hours and being mentally strong, helped her to walk again. “Technically I should be in a wheelchair,” she added.
She did not go back to work. Her legs are often in pain, especially when it rains, she said. Buetow said getting ready for her daughter’s wedding and trying to get things done around the house, is overwhelming sometimes. She has a difficult time due to the pain in her legs.
“Since I’ve been sick with this illness, I learned that there’s no cure for it and I’ve come across a lot of people that told me other stories about their families and loved ones that had transverse myelitis.
Buetow said that she may not be healed, because there’s currently no cure for this disease, but she has been healed more on the inside than anything. She admitted God got her attention through her illness. She said God told her, “Shari now I’ve got your attention, now you’re going to slow up, now you’re going to start reading the Bible, now you’re going to be back in church.” She’s back in church and living for Him now and also sharing her testimony and her story to everybody else that may help someone from going through what she went through. And she added, also, one of the main things that happened during her illness was it helped bring her and her husband closer together in their marriage, and that was a very big blessing.
Bostic thanked Shari for giving her story and testimony and the group was encouraged to keep Buetow in their prayers.
Charlie Lupo gave the closing prayer and asked the blessing over the meal.
Juanita Poteet won the door prize, compliments of Steve Robinson of Cleveland Plywood.
Others present were Ruby Ball, Club recorder Shawn Markie, Gilbert Miracle, Evelyn Denton, Paul Denton, Joe Ben Chase, Calvin Davis, Pamela Ooten, Johnny Ooten, 8-year-old Kevin Fuller, Beverly Smith and Cheryl Coffman.
The next meeting will be held at Golden Corral Restaurant at 11:30 a.m. on May 27. For more information on the United Club , contact: Bostic at 479-9207; or Charles or Joanie Lupo at 78-5766; or Markie at 476-5426.