Assitance Service Dog

Assitance Service Dog

From Melissa Konkel

I am raising money to cover the cost of a service dog to assist with daily activities which have become and are becoming harder to complete because of RA and sepsis and to assist with my PTSD from the sepsis.

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Two years ago, I became ill with the Flu (N1A1) and Srep A1. After two rounds of antibiotics, it went septic and I ended up in a fight for my life. By the time I was able to go home from the hospital, I had suffered multiple organ failure, I was on dialysis, I had lost almost 100lbs., I had lost my ability to talk clearly due to permanent damage to my vocal chords and the loss of half my tongue. As a result of the sepsis I have suffered severe, long term and life altering effects and physical and cognitive disabilities. 

As a result of the organ failure, I developed Rhumatoid Arthritis. Prior to the sepsis I never had any form of arthritis but RA can develop from organ failure. Prior to the sepsis I had been a very active person including participating for several years as a cycling coach for Team in Training, coaching youth basketball and baseball, teaching youth culinary, participating in century cycling events, teaching scuba diving, teaching and organizing youth scuba camps, playing softball, skiing, white water rafter and many other activities. Since sepsis and the RA, I have lost the ability to participate in all these activities. Even my ability to continue working is in jeapordy. I have always been active and the thought of sitting at home on disability just is not an option I want. The assistance of a service dog will allow me the opportunity to continue to maintain some form of independence while allowing me to continue working and keeping my healthcare, being able to keep my residence and maintain an independent lifestyle. 

The service dog also serves as a safety for myself because of the loss of my tongue and damage to my vocal chords, I do not have the ability to yell for help when I need it. Even with someone in the very next room, if I fall and yell for help, I do not have the ability to yell or get up off the ground if I fall down, and the person has no idea I need any assistance, with a service dog, I would be able to send the dog to go get help for me. Or, I could direct the dog to go fetch my cell phone so I could call for help or instruct the dog to “speak” so someone would know I needed help. A properly trained service dog also has the ability to help a person up off the ground after they have fallen also. 

I also suffer from ICU PTSD and the service dog will provide me with therapeutic comfort. Even though it has been two years, the memories, sounds, expirences are real every day. The pain, emotions, anxiety nightmares, lack of sleep, and feelings are real, and made worse every time I walk into a doctors office, lab, or hospital. The visions, emotions, panic, floods me daily, yet folks treat me as if nothing happened and the anxiety and fear is not real. (Yet, if I was a soldier coming back from Afghanistan, no one would even give the PTSD a second thought.) Statistics show that sepsis survivors suffer from a level of ICU PTSD which is equal to that of a combat veteran. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a life long illness. Just like Sepsis, RA is life altering, the pain, the loss of movement, and eventually the permanent loss of use of limbs. Since my release from the hospital two years ago, I have slowly lost the use of my right hip due to pain and the RA. I have gone from being able to function through most of the day with minor discomfort to pain, to now where I am in extreme pain from the moment I get up in the morning and the pain and loss of movement preventing me from being able to walk unassisted. 

I will have a life time of constantly living with pain, loss of movement and cognitive issues from the sepsis. Sepsis is life altering and I will always have to be careful of never becoming septic again for any reason. Sepsis affects the entire body since it is in your blood and it affects every person differently since every person is different. A few things that are common are the pain, disability and PTSD which sepsis leaves behind in every survivor. I beat the odds, I shook hands with death but did not walk with death. I want to live life to the best of my ability and not be stuck at home. I want to keep working, I want to be able to go places alone without fear of falling, being able to be home alone and not afraid that no one would know I was in the house and in need of help. The comfort of the therapeutic service dog is vital any time I suffer from the anxiety and memories. 

Please help me maintain my independence and obtain a service dog. 

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