HOUSTON – Struggling mightily to get around in her hand-powered wheelchair, Linda Trahan talks about the excruciating pain she had to endure as doctors tried to save her legs from amputation.
Trahan, a 52-year-old woman who has battled diabetes all her life, was diagnosed with a severe vascular disorder that was causing the arteries in her legs to shut down.
She found out she had this disorder exactly one week after Hurricane Harvey destroyed her home.
A week after the hurricane, she was rushed to a hospital, where she would endure more than 30 surgeries over the next 30 days.
“The only way I could describe it is, I was almost begging to die because I couldn’t take the pain," Trahan said. "They were sticking wires into the arteries in my legs and the pain was unbelievable."
Two months later, Trahan finally left the hospital without both of her legs, which had to be amputated all the way to her hip.
Once a very active, hard-working service desk clerk at Home Depot, Trahan raised two children all by herself, attended church regularly and always took pride in helping others.
But since losing her legs, she now spends most of her time stuck inside her tiny apartment, trying to maneuver around in a manual wheelchair.
“People just don’t realize how much you rely on your hands to carry things and move things and transport things, and when you are in a manual wheelchair, you have to use your hands to move the chair," Trahan said.
For more than a year and a half, she prayed that somehow, she could get a motorized wheelchair that would provide some freedom.
But Trahan is too young to qualify for Medicaid and she survives on just more than $1,200 a month in Social Security disability payments. Every agency she contacted for help in getting a power wheelchair turned her down.
So she contacted Spencer Solves It.
Right away, we reached out to two very generous members of Bill’s Brigade, Ray Manzano and Tom Luc with Triple M Mobility, which is located in the energy corridor and specializes in selling, repairing and restoring power wheelchairs and scooters.
Without any hesitation, Manzano and Luc agreed to help Trahan, coming up with a $5,000 dollar Jazzy Select Power Wheelchair and saying they would give the beautiful chair to Trahan absolutely free.
“You think about what we all take for granted when something like this happens -- when you lose your legs," Manzano said. "And we are thinking, wow, she really needs us. We can really help this woman and it really touched our hearts."
When we surprised Trahan with her new chair, her reaction was total shock.
“Oh my goodness, it is so beautiful," she said. "I just want to say, Ray and Tom, you are truly a blessing and thank you so much, Bill, for being here and helping me get this chair. I can’t even thank you enough. Can I give you all a hug?"
And with tears in her eyes and her voice breaking, she gave us all a big, strong hug.