Eckes and children under same roof againIt wasn’t anything big Rebecca Eckes missed during her three months in a hospital bed away from her family.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
It wasn’t anything big Rebecca Eckes missed during her three months in a hospital bed away from her family.
It was a lot of little things — sitting next to her husband while watching television and getting a hug from him while cooking supper, tucking her kids in at night and being there when they need someone to talk to.
“It’s the little things that you cherish the most and it’s the little things that you miss the most when they’re not there,” Eckes said. “Somebody could take away all my possessions and that’s not going to matter nearly as much as if somebody took away my family.”
The Cottage Grove resident and mother of five got a flesh-eating bacteria following a hysterectomy and as a result had to undergo dozens of surgeries over her three months at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview to remove infected tissue from her body, and clean out the large wounds that were left.
She ended up losing chunks of flesh on her stomach and upper legs, and ultimately having a skin graft done on her stomach.
Her regular surgeries are done now, and she’s back home, but the recovery process could take as long as a year. She’s on 17 medications, some of which make her sleepy, she said.
A nurse comes in daily to change the dressings on the wounds on her legs, she said. Moving around is still quite painful. She walks slowly and uses a cane to steady herself.
“You use your stomach muscles a lot more than you think you do, so every time you use your stomach muscles, it hurts,” Eckes said.
Rebecca’s husband, Shane Eckes, said having her home was great and scary at the same time. Great because the family is together now, but scary because there are still so many things she is used to doing that could now hurt her if she tries.
Rebecca said one huge task ahead of the family that she’s taking a hands-off approach to is packing.
Since she isn’t able to work, payments on the home where they’ve lived since moving to Cottage Grove have become too much for the family to afford, so they’re putting the home into voluntary foreclosure and moving into a rental across town, Rebecca said.
The family plans to be moved out in the next couple of weeks, Shane said.
The Eckes said they’ve drawn much support from family and friends throughout their ordeal. Shane’s on the Cottage Grove Athletic Association football division board — and fellow board members are helping plan a May fundraiser for the family. Rebecca’s medical bills total a little over $1 million and it’s unclear right now how much of that will be covered by insurance, she said.