Fac­ing life with op­ti­mism and hu­mor

Springville quadru­ple am­putee learn­ing a “new nor­mal”

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Deb­o­rah Good­man for Serve Daily www.gofundme.com/tiffany­fono­hema www.the­jr­way.com

SPRINGVILLE — Ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal in the mid­dle of Jan­uary 2018, Springville res­i­dent Tif­fany (Fono­hema) Kirk­man King was di­ag­nosed with vi­ral and bac­te­rial pneu­mo­nia. Ex­ac­er­bated by im­muno­sup­pres­sant drugs pre­scribed to help with her ge­netic arthri­tis, the pneu­mo­nia quickly wors­ened and she be­came sep­tic. After be­ing co­matose for sev­eral weeks, it be­came a ques­tion of whether her doc­tors would save her life or her limbs. They couldn’t save both.

Now, over three months later and after hav­ing un­der­gone a to­tal of nine surg­eries to am­pu­tate her arms and legs, King, a mother of six, is learn­ing what she calls her “new nor­mal.”

When vis­i­tors come to her hos­pi­tal or re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion room, they find op­ti­mism and a sense of hu­mor. This frame of mind has helped in her heal­ing, as has her view­point of the peo­ple around her. She says she “loves ev­ery­body. Ev­ery­body has good qual­i­ties.”

“I have to stay pos­i­tive. I do have down days. I cry. I get over it and then I go on,” King says.

After spend­ing months in the hos­pi­tal, King is cur­rently stay­ing in a hos­pi­tal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter, where she is in­volved in phys­i­cal ther­apy. Us­ing pros­thet­ics re­quires a lot of phys­i­cal strength, so she is dou­bling up her ef­forts in train­ing. Once she is strong enough and her skin grafts have suf­fi­ciently healed, she will re­turn to the hos­pi­tal where she will un­dergo a dif­fer­ent kind of treat­ment: in­ten­sive ther­apy to teach her how to be in­de­pen­dent in her new life while us­ing pros­thet­ics.

She won’t be us­ing just one set. The pro­cesses sur­round­ing pros­thet­ics are so com­plex that she will even­tu­ally need a suc­ces­sion of sev­eral dif­fer­ent types and sizes of de­vices. This will en­able her to work up to op­ti­mal us­abil­ity and com­fort.

King’s his­toric Springville home has been com­pletely gut­ted to make it wheelchair ac­ces­si­ble. She is hop­ing to be able to re­turn home in July, if all goes as planned. A non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, The J.R. Way, is work­ing on the re­con­struc­tion of her home.

There been sev­eral fundraisers, in­clud­ing a GoFundMe page and an on­line auc­tion.

Com­ing up on Mon­day, May 14, a fundrais­ing event will be held at Strap Tank Brew­ery and Restau­rant from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m..

“I’m over­whelmed by the kind­ness and love ev­ery­one has given me. There are good peo­ple still,” says King.

King is look­ing to her fu­ture with big goals in mind.

Never one to sit still for very long, she is anx­ious to progress in life: “I’m too busy for this; I’ve got things to do.” She wants to con­tinue rais­ing her kids to “be good peo­ple.”

She will some­day walk down the aisle to marry her fi­ancé and big­gest sup­port, Moe Fono­hema, whom she’s known since they were in sev­enth grade to­gether in Orem. And, she dreams of writ­ing a book and be­com­ing a mo­ti­va­tional speaker to help in­spire oth­ers.

To as­sist in Tif­fany’s re­cov­ery, please visit the fol­low­ing sites: www.32auc­tions.com/Tif­fanyFono­he­maKing

Left: Tif­fany King gets used to her new life as an am­putee. Above: Tif­fany and her fi­ance Moe Fono­hema be­fore her ill­ness.

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