Little Extras Go A Long Way

Tammy and Zoe

Roller coaster. Those are the words Peg Jones used to describe her daughter’s life prior to coming to Mosaic.

“We’d find something good, but eventually it would fail and then we’d find something good again,” Peg said. “It really was a roller coaster.”

Tammy, Peg’s daughter, was a perfectly healthy newborn. But at 9 days old, she contracted spinal meningitis followed by encephalitis. Peg was a scared young mother—18 years old. She took Tammy to the hospital and, after she was admitted, Peg was told to go home and make funeral arrangements because there was no recognized cure for the illness.

The roller coaster ride had begun.

Tammy proved them wrong. After three weeks and an experimental drug, she was able to go home. But the disease had caused permanent brain damage. A doctor told Peg to put Tammy in an institution and “forget about her.” That was unacceptable to Peg.

This was in the 1960s and, outside of an institution, resources to help children and adults with disabilities were hard to find. Peg assembled piecemeal services—some local, some not—to help her daughter. She was committed to ensuring Tammy lived a full life.

But Tammy saw her siblings grow up and move on. She wanted more, too.

Peg found a community residential home for Tammy. But it was so far away, she only got to see her daughter twice a year. So, she found a place closer to home, but Tammy quickly became unhappy there.

“She started spending more time in a wheelchair until she rarely walked,” Peg said. “She quit talking as much. She lost her bubbly spirit and was angry and frustrated so often.”

Then Peg was told the house was closing and Tammy would have to move far away again.

Desperate, Peg prayed for an answer, and discovered there was an opening in a local home operated by Mosaic. She’ll tell you it was an answer to her prayers.

“With Mosaic, she’s happy. When we bring her to our home, she won’t spend the night. She wants to go to her home. It’s obvious they’re good to her.”

And, Tammy has changed.

“She has become the loving person she used to be,” Peg said. “She smiles most of the time. She’s a hugger. She spends more time on community outings than we do!”

But Peg notes the extra things, too. When Tammy fell and broke her hip, Mosaic staff came to the nursing home where she was recuperating to learn how to provide the best therapy after Tammy came home. We also kept a bed open for her to return home.

“This is going above and beyond what they signed up for, but they willingly came and learned,” Peg said.

Now back home, Tammy is improving. Peg dreams of the day Tammy will walk again.

Tammy’s story is similar to stories you’ll hear about Mosaic across the country. We’re privileged to help people find meaningful lives and be happy.

We help their families, too. One of the best things for me to hear was that Peg said, with Mosaic, “I don’t worry about Tammy at all.” That’s our goal for every family whose loved one we serve.

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