An address change: Since her previous address given earlier, Helene moved to a new facility. Cards and letters are welcomed, but please, still no phone calls or visits are requested:
Rennes Health & Rehab Center
325 East Florida Ave.
Appleton, WI 54911
Notes from April 3, 2014 - Helene is rapidly improving, and your cards are welcomed! Send to:
Helene Meyer, Theda Clark Medical Center
130 Second St., Neenah, WI 54957-2021
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Notes - from March 25th: We're pleased to report that Helene was moved from Theda Clark's ICU, in part because she's doing better, but also because she's being prepared for more surgery next week. Her breathing tube removed, she then asked the Andersons to request Carol Amadio to call her!
Carol, in addition to being her friend, is one of four interim pastors presently sharing duties at Trinity Lutheran Church. It was in her 'official capacity' that Carol was able to slip her call through the hospital's phone tree and speak with Helene, who, she said, was alert, joked and laughed (medications, perhaps?!). But in all respects, considering the extent of her injuries, she was very much tuned-in to activities back home, Carol said, including a study class she had planned to join. Last week, Helene underwent an operation for broken fibulas in both legs. Her right arm is broken, which will cramp her writing when she gets the urge, and she has a fractured pelvis and a vertebrae. Her fractured ankle was too swollen to operate on last week. So, despite tremendous skeletal damage, Helene, bright-eyed lady, is alive, alert, and already she's thinking ahead to coming home. - Well-wishers are still requested to withhold communications for now. Cards may be sent to Helene's island address: 1475 Aznoe Road, Washington Island WI 54246
Several weekends ago I photographed quilters at Sievers School as they participated in Washington Island's Quilts of Valor Foundation project. Helene Meyer was one of those quilters.
Just a few days ago news was received that Helene was in a serious auto accident. She was hospitalized at Theda Clark, and she's now in ICU with serious injuries. Her legs were broken, and she has severe bruising, and the immediate prognosis is that she will remain hospitalized for some time. Her single-car accident was said to be "catastrophic" by those who arrived on the accident scene.
How quickly events can change lives.
Since I learned of Helene's accident, the above photo image has been on my mind, even though it was one of perhaps dozens I took over the three-day quilting exercise. There is something about the sparkle and the pleasant look in her eyes.
Helene's been involved in a variety of Island activities. Most recently, following the death of her husband, Gene, she helped start an Island lavender business. As a locally grown product, she saw lavender as one way to contribute to the local economy, as did her friends and business partners, Edgar and Martine Anderson.
The commitment of time and investment of dollars required to establish a new, agricultural-based business might be considered puzzling, given this venture wasn't something Helene had to pursue. But her passion for the lavender products clearly showed, as did her desire for a closer association with residents and visitors, participating in the community in which she chooses to live.
I came to know Helene better through last year's Island Literary Festival, an event born of her ideas. The organization and subsequent success of this festival was due largely to Helen's inspiration, and it was fueled by her leadership. She delegated details and trusted others in the committee decision making. At the Festival opening, when participants registered and gathered for the first evening at the Red Cup, it was as if participants already knew one another and were gathering after only a short absence. The mood and atmosphere that Helene helped to establish permeated each of the next two days.
In these many ways, Helene has given of her energy and gifts. Her struggle now is to live, and to heal. In this, our prayers and encouraging thoughts will be helpful.
(Please note: Well wishers have been asked to withhold communications - gifts, phone calls, emails, or flowers - because rest and privacy are needed most. This same respectful consideration holds true for her friends Edgar and Martine, who provide support in adjacent hospital corridors as she recovers.)
- Dick Purinton