By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 —
The list of ailments affecting Paulette Plyler is almost too much to bear.
Over the past year, she’s had major eye surgery and has seen her health deteriorate because of a rare form of Type 2 diabetes that affects her motor skills. She’s also got gastroparesis, which doesn’t allow the food she eats to exit her stomach. So instead, it just rots there, as her sister Myra Lefler puts it.
Plyer also suffers from fibromyalgia, a long-term, body-wide pain, has neuropathy, which is extensive nerve damage, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Every day is a struggle for survival for Plyler.
“She went from outgoing, getting up, out selling her Avon, doing for others, cooking for others to wham, bam, we’re at home and we’re in the bed now,” Lefler said.
At her best, Plyler was an active member of her community and church — Faith Free Will Baptist in New London. She was president of the Ladies Auxiliary right up until she got really sick and had served as a Sunday School teacher in the past. It’s those memories of her that resonate so much with her sister and church family that they want to remember most.
This Saturday beginning at noon at the church, 34915 Locust Lane, New London, a benefit will be conducted for Plyler. Registration will be from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday and the cost is $10 per person. A 50/50 raffle will be held, with $1 tickets and a raffle for a yo-yo quilt and cornhole board will also take place. Tickets for the two raffles are three for $5 and one for $2. Other games and trophies will be awarded with prizes ranging from $40-100.
“She’s always backed our church up. So we thought we would do something to help her,” said Beatrice Hudson, one of two contacts people can call for more information on the benefit.
“She’s probably been to church two or three times in the last year. She’s just not able to come.”
Lefler said Plyler’s condition grew worse about a year ago. With one ailment after another weighing heavily on Plyler, it became more than she could bear. And though her family owns and operates The Trading Post in Albemarle, the large medical bills have become simply overwhelming to handle alone.
“Her insurance pays 80 percent. But that 20, when you are going to all these specialists every week, it adds up,” Lefler said.
“It’s so heartbreaking. She’d love for every Sunday to be able to get up and go to church. But she’s not able.”
Lefler said Plyler will try to walk but typically loses her balance and needs assistance from her husband and other family members. Just sitting down for a few minutes to watch television can be overwhelming and usually leads to Plyler heading back to lie down in bed where she’s more comfortable.
“Every month she goes to the rheumatoid arthritis doctor, he says ‘I can see a tremendous difference from last month.’ It’s only bad news that we get,” Lefler said.
“Her vision, she’s got no side vision ... she’s going partially blind. She gets up to walk and she’ll sit there and rock and wants to fall backwards. She has no control over her walking. So her husband and her family are taking care of her.
“She cannot cook, she cannot clean, she goes out there and sits on the recliner to watch TV and she says it hurts so bad sitting up, she’ll just go back to bed.”
Lefler said Faith Free Will Baptist has been supportive in many ways during Plyler’s illness. From the pastors visiting to members of the choir coming to sing, it’s been an uplifting experience to say the least.
“I thank the church and all the church members and friends for what everybody has done, the cards, the phone calls, the prayers, the food. Everybody has been wonderful,” Lefler said.
For more information on Saturday’s benefit, call Jamie Hudson at (704) 961-2375 (cell) or Beatrice Hudson at (704) 961-2395.
To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email at jason@stanly newspress.com.