Saturday, January 26, 2013

A True, Touching Christmas Story

So.  This is the only recent picture I have of my Uncle Kurt.  Haha!  Nice, right?  I'm, like, the BEST niece EVER.  This was during the 4th of July.  He had something wrong with his back, and my sis Lex, Physical Therapist-in-training-extraordinaire, was "working on it."  During the time this picture was taken, Kurt was yelling, "OWWWWWW!  OWWWW!"  And, being the best niece EVER, I took a picture of him and laughed at him while he was in pain.

Anywho, Kurt is one of the nicest dudes I know.  He's a hard worker and a really great dad.  He works as a welder.

His health started declining late in the summer, and in a matter of only two months, he lost somewhere around 30 pounds.  He was getting weak, was very, very thirsty, and used the bathroom all the time.  My mom, who has Type 2 Diabetes, saw these warning signs and talked him into going to the doctor.

He went to a local community care, and the doctor there started him on some type of treatment, but the treatment wasn't working.  I don't know enough about diabetes to know what he started Kurt on, but whatevs.  It wasn't doing the trick, and Kurt was as sick as ever.  My mom was trying to talk him into seeing a specialist, but he didn't want to miss work; he wanted to wait until he had a weekday off, which was weeks away.

In addition, he started noticing a mass on his hip.  He calls it alternately The Mass on his Ass or The Junk in his Trunk.  He's so funny.

Anyways, his health deteriorated so drastically and so quickly, and around the middle of December, he started throwing up blood.  So his wife took him to the local hospital.  He had to be taken down to the U of U hospital.  They did a biopsy on the Mass on his Ass, and luckily, it was some kind of infection - a staph infection, I believe (staph infections are nasty, but I was really glad it wasn't cancerous).  They also addressed his diabetes and got him on insulin shots and blood testing and all of that stuff.  He was down at the U of U hospital for a couple of weeks.  His doctors told him that, when he was discharged, he wasn't allowed to work again until his infection was gone, which would take about four weeks.

Like most people, Kurt only has two weeks of paid holiday per year, which was eaten up when he was in Salt Lake in the hospital.  And he wasn't sure how his family was going to survive without four weeks of pay.

And then he got news while he was down there - his five or so coworkers all gave up their paid holiday time for Kurt, so that his family wouldn't suffer financially while he was unable to work.  Not only that,  they each donated money into a pot to help him pay for some of his medical bills.  I believe it amounted to more than a thousand dollars.  When he got that news, as he lay in his hospital bed, he wept.

This touched me so much, that these guys, who, like anyone, probably really look forward to their two weeks of paid vacation, gave it up for him.  And it touched me that they, who don't make a ton of money, gave a large amount of their hard-earned money to him.

At a time when people are trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, perusing watches and socks and electric griddles, these guys gave the greatest gift to my uncle - a gift he - nor I - will ever forget.

Oh, and P.S. - Yes, Kurt is doing great.  After another trip to SLC to get his "pic line" removed - I have no idea what that is - he was given the green light to return to work, and he starts back on Monday!


Lyndsay said...

Awesome. Thanks for that uplifting story. How is he doing now?

Mindy H. said...

Wow! What amazing co-workers! Thanks for sharing his story. It is always nice to be reminded that they are many wonderful, caring, giving people in the world. I hope he is on the mend!

And, in reference to your previous post, the centerpieces are creepy, but in a really awesome way. I hope you end up with them (but not any time soon) so you can keep the memories moving on to your next generation.

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