Life can throw us all a curveball at times. Curveball is a baseball term referring to a pitch that is unforeseen and harder to hit than the typical fastball. Gladys Hill knows all too well about life’s many curveballs.
At the recent clinic in Durant, Oklahoma on May 14 and 15, we met Gladys, a retired employee of the state of Oklahoma for 38 years. Gladys is a grandmother who is raising her grandchildren while also attempting to be a care taker of her 42-year-old daughter. You may be asking what caused Gladys to be put in such a circumstance.
On January 26, 2014 Gladys’ life changed. Her daughter Annette was out with her husband and stated she was not feeling good. She needed to sit down and rest. A few minutes later she was feeling so bad that she asked to be taken to a local hospital. Upon arrival Annette was diagnosed with having a bleeding brain. Gladys said there were no warning signs that would have led anyone to foresee anything like this coming. Annette was apparently in very good health.
Once Annette arrived at the hospital she went into a coma for nine months and had to be put on life support. The doctors stated that she would never be able to be taken off life support, even saying, “You realize that this is the best you can hope for?” Gladys responded, “No it is not!”, and from that day she has helped Annette’s husband take care of their three children.
The prognosis was not good for Annette, but she eventually did come off life support and recovered from her coma. She is learning to speak again, recently beginning to speak in more sentences than just words. Gladys said Annette’s main goal was to walk again, and while it might be a slow process, she is now walking with help.
The children’s father is forced to be the sole provider for the family while Annette recovers. Due to his long work hours, Gladys had to become the main person to watch over the children and make sure they have the medical care and parental love they need.
On the day of the clinic when we spoke, Gladys stated that she was there to let her two granddaughters, Kylie and Katie, be seen by a dentist. Neither of them have lost their baby teeth, and their permanent teeth are attempting to come in, causing major issues for the two young ladies. Gladys said without clinics like this she did not know what she would do for help.
Stories like this keep the volunteers and employees of Remote Area Medical going every day to make sure that people have a chance to receive the medical, dental, or vision care they so desperately need. Without donors and volunteers who contribute to RAM’s mission, this story may have not had such a happy ending.
By Justin Garrison