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Interview with Shara & Sheila Gutsche

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

Shara Gutsche:

Right now I love to loom, it’s like knitting. We have made about 25 hats. Before Covid happened, I used to do woodworking, I made tables, cutting boards, chess boards and more. I used to paint with watercolours. I play piano with my sister. We go for walks a lot and exercise. I love to laugh. I have a really awesome sister who helps me a lot. She helps me practice my piano and makes me laugh.

I was in Bellingham at Christmas time, right after Christmas, and a drunk driver ran me over when I was thirteen years old. I was sent to the hospital in Bellingham for 40 days and was in a coma for 8 weeks.

[After my accident] I lost basically my right side and my vision, loss of thinking and directions. My balance is really not well. Speech and language problems. I couldn’t read or write or walk or talk or recognize numbers, or faces. I recently had a fall, in 2018, and broke my ankle in several places, but thankfully I have family and mom looked after me for over a year. I had two surgeries and lots of stitches.

I’m living upstairs [in my family home] because of covid. My dad goes to work during the week, so I am keeping away from him. I exercise. I have an exercise sheet and a treadmill. I do zoom physio every Thursday. I like food. Who doesn't?!?! I keep in touch with my friends on zoom and I have a choir on zoom. I love singing. [I have been singing for] about five years. And before my accident I played piano. Now I am playing again!

[The first thing I want to do after the pandemic is] hug. Hug everyone. Even if they don’t, I don’t care! See friends and family. I belong to a movie club for only girls, so I see a lot of friends on zoom. I have to stay home because I have diabetes and epilepsy. My caregivers can’t come here very often because of covid.

Sheila (Shara’s mother):

Shara was crossing the street and a drunk driver hit her. She was taken to a hospital in Bellingham and they didn’t expect her to survive. They did brain surgery the night she was there and another one three days later. They gave us all the paperwork, saying you know, do you want to donate organs, all that stuff. So it got very very serious. And she was only thirteen. It was very traumatic. She had some really good medical care. Then she was transferred to a children's rehab hospital. She was in the hospital for a year there, (first as an inpatient then an outpatient). Despite all the trials, she’s a pretty happy person. She’s done very well.

Interviewed by Jasper Delichte

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