Living in a bed

Posted

By VICKI BROWN

vbrown@lowcountry.com

Megan Kirkland has had a very bad year: a tragic accident left her a quadriplegic, and she is now living in her family’s living room.

About one year ago, Kirkland was living in Tennessee. Last June, her car ran out of gas. A friend came to pick her up with a gas can in what she calls was a short drive down the road. Because of the short distance, Kirkland said she didn’t bother putting on her seat belt. Then, on the way to that gas station, the car in which she was a passenger crashed into a guardrail. Her life changed forever.

Left with a broken neck and back bones, doctors managed to fuse several of her bones back together. But, it was not enough. Kirkland, the mother of a 5-year old boy, was told she was now a quadriplegic and there was no way she could take care of herself. After moving in and out of several nursing homes in Tennessee and Georgia, she was left with severe bed sores. Her extended car insurance coverage ran out. She had to have surgery on the sores to remove dead skin. So, she moved to Islandton, to live with her mother in a single-wide mobile home. 

With her mother having to take of her, there was no one to take care of her son. He now stays with his father in Tennessee.

A former Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Kirkland’s life now revolves around receiving constant care while in a rented hospital bed that sits in her mother’s living room. Her wheelchair, also rented at $2,000 a month, can’t fit through the doors of any other room in the house. 

To make matters worse, an unfinished ramp outside is unusable, so she spends her days lying in the bed and looking out of the window.

“This is so hard for her. Her son routinely comes to visit her, but he wants to go outside and play. She can’t go out there with him; I am too afraid of the ramp and that she will fall,” said her mother, Nina Spelling.

Behind the home stands a partially constructed building. It has been quite a while since anyone worked on it. “We got a permit, purchased lumber, windows, bathroom fixtures, lights, and a door. We contacted a man to construct a bedroom and bathroom for Megan, so that she could go outside with her son. Right now, she is staying in the living room, the only room her chair can fit in. It makes it difficult to bathe her and change her right out in the open like this,” said Spelling. “We bought the supplies to build the room, and the man got started, then never showed up again. 

“It’s been over six months.”

Megan receives $1,000 a month as part of a disability stipend. According to her, she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, which would help with the costs of adult diapers and medical supplies needed to care for her. Occupational Therapists come to treat her from time to time, as part of her new marketplace insurance coverage. While the therapists work to help move her arms, she has no movement whatsoever in her hands or legs.

“Every time we need to get her to the hospital or doctor, we have to call an ambulance, and that is $4,000. We are trying to raise funds for a handicapped van to prevent those rising costs associated with the ambulances,” said Spelling. “Our bill last month for her wheelchair and ambulance was $6,000. We need help, but especially the ramp and room finished. This is just all too much.”

The family is asking the public for help. 

If you would like to make a donation, an account has been set up in Megan Kirkland’s name at South State Bank. The bank will accept donations on her behalf.

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