Health Care… in the name of a Mother’s Love

Update on Betty Jean’s daughter, Louisa…

From the day that Louisa was shot, her mother, Betty Jean Kling, has maintained a daily vigil of hope, care and love at Louisa’s side.

For those that may not know the story, 14 months ago Louisa was shot in the face with a shotgun, by her sister’s (Denise, who was in the final stages of ovarian cancer) former husband.  The damages to Louisa’s face, skull and brain were so severe that she was not expected to live through the night.

Louisa is now in a convalescent center and receiving no ‘professional’ rehabilitation, therapy or progressive health care, due to the prognosis of her being so severely brain damaged that she would be incapable of improving any further. She is presumed to be completely “blind,” although she opens one eye and her head follows her mother’s every move through her room.

…But, for a Mother’s Love

Each afternoon, whether rain, sleet, snow, sickness or even knee surgery, Betty Jean visits her daughter. She talks to her, hugs her, kisses her face, reads to her and plays her favorite music. Betty Jean has continued to work  with Louisa because she knows,  she sees what Louisa’s caregivers apparently cannot – that Louisa not only understands everything that her mother is doing, but is responding; Louisa is still fighting to recover – and to communicate her feelings, wants and needs.

One finger, “No!” –  two fingers, “Yes!” – middle finger, “You’re not listening to me!”

So, mother and daughter figured out some basics: one finger for “No,” two fingers for “Yes,” and the middle finger for… uh… sort of like…  “You’re not listening to me” (also known as:  Screw you!)

Mother and daughter also play ball. That’s right!  Louisa can throw and catch a ball now!… that is, when Louisa feels like it…  if she doesn’t, and mother keeps pushing, even mother gets that blessed… “You’re not listening to me” middle-finger-signal.)

Most importantly,  it is apparent that Louisa has re-learned that her life matters, that her mother will never give up on her and that, to her mother, the quality of her daughter’s health care is more  important now, than ever – now that she is unable to fully fight for her own quality of health care.

Yesterday,  Louisa pulled out her Tracheostomy Tube – for the fourth or fifth time since she was injured. She was rushed from the convalescent center to the hospital emergency room. This time, Louisa was able to communicate to the doctor that she did not want the breathing tube reinserted. This time, the doctor listened – because Betty Jean, who had traveled through a snow storm, arriving just moments before they reinserted the tube, asked the doctor if she had asked her daughter if that is what she wanted. The doctor said: “No, she can’t communicate.”

This time… Betty Jean was able to say: “Oh yes she can!”

And, this time…

…Louisa was able to say “NO!”

This time, a doctor said, “I am listening and I hear you, Louisa.”  As of this morning, at 10 am, Louisa has been breathing comfortably, on her own, for 20 hours. Her oxygen level is normal. The doctor, a woman, also began ordering tests on her overall physical condition, as precautionary measures, in Louisa’s best interest. As a result of this doctor’s thoroughness, they discovered some other, unrelated medical issues that needed attention. That’s called: “Health Care” – especially for those caught in situational cracks that may not have a voice – other than the voices of others, fighting for their rights.

In the early hours of this morning, a male nurse, who had been on duty the very night Louisa had been shot, 14 months ago, rolled a regular hospital bed into Louisa’s room in emergency…

…Mother and Daughter slept, side-by-side.

I am certain that if I could have asked Louisa if it would be okay that I post a video in tribute to she and her  mother’s love, it would have been  “Two Fingers”…

To Mother and Daughter, Betty Jean Kling and Louisa…



27 Responses

  1. Thank you Woman to Woman 10!

    This is a beautifully written piece that is a testament to mothers and their daughters throughout our great nation.

    I recognize the same determined strength of mind and spirit that exists in Louisa is a mirror image of her beloved mother, Betty Jean.

    Most undoubtedly, we live in turbulent times and yet there is always that little ray of sunshine that breaks through those ominous clouds to make our lives a little brighter and hopeful!

    • Thank you NITL… it’s only the true story that makes it so.

      You summarized its inspiration so beautifully. Thank You!

  2. This story awakened several profound emotions in me…JOY in knowing that Louisa is still with us!…SORROW and ANGER that that beautiful, vibrant woman is now having to fight so hard to communicate her simplest thoughts, wishes or feelings!…PRIDE and AWE that her Mother never gave up and didn’t listen to the nay-sayers!…COMPASSION because it stirred in me a deep desire to see that Louisa gets as much therapy as is humanly possible, and that justice would be forthcoming with her assailant so that he could never harm another!!

    • “We Shall Overcome”:

      Love your name and you are so right! Louisa deserves every chance for improvement… and justice!

    • I want you to know how touched I was by the story and video!! You and Louisa are in my thoughts and prayers!! You are an inspiration and encouragement with your never-give-up attitude!!

  3. Thank you W2W – I can’t begin to tell you what this means to me and Lou – we had a bit of a rough go but we are on our way – we need prayer now!
    This tribute is so beautiful – I hate to bring the politics up – the hospital is trying to help so I will start there. The Doctors and nurses and you and our readers have hearts of gold! Thank you!
    Its 12:15 AM on Saturday – Louisa is finally in a Hospital room after 31 hours in the Emergency Area. We were moved about several times – but very well taken care of.
    All of this went on during the biggest blizzard in Hackensack this year and not a bed was open in the entire hospital but each time a better space opened – we were moved into it.
    I was given food and drink and Lou was given a real bed and it was even wide enough for me to crawl into with her at 5:30 am after 12.5 hours of waiting so we both got 3 hours of on and off sleep Thursday night and tonight we will get a night’s sleep – she is in a room !
    Praise God maybe this time we get a break for Louisa- she is fighting for some quality of life – she has been forced to languish since May.
    I sure would like to toss this Blue Cross Nightmare at our illustrious representatives and have both sides explain why this beautiful Girl through no fault of her own is languishing with no help and has been tossed off her private health care AND on to Govt. heath care which covers nothing more than a bed and meds and nothing more!
    This is not about me and Lou alone- this is about health Care and what so many do not know about.
    A beautiful young woman was violated and her insurance company is ending her care and tossing it to Medicare who will pay to have her lay there for 40 years and waste away.
    HELP- this just ain’t right! How many daughters and sons are out there- Come to these nursing homes – they are full of these people young and old – helpless!
    I wish I could leave this – the beautiful tribute that it is – but there is a real ugliness out there under it all and I can hardly sleep knowing someone out there has no one to fight for them!

    A beautiful young woman was violated and her insurance company is ending her care and tossing it to Medicare who will pay to have her lay there for 40 years and waste away.

    HELP- this just ain’t right! How many daughters and sons are out there- Come to these nursing homes – they are full of these people young and old – helpless!

    I wish I could leave this – the beautiful tribute that it is – but there is a real ugliness out there under it all and I can hardly sleep knowing someone out there has no one to fight for them!

  4. Is there anything we can do to help, Betty Jean?

    Write on! You know the Health Scare story on a personal level, as well as anyone out there!

    Maybe there is more to “Louisa’s Law” than originally envisioned?

    why this beautiful Girl through no fault of her own is languishing with no help and has been tossed off her private health care AND on to Govt. heath care which covers nothing more than a bed and meds and nothing more!

    Could it be, BJ, it has something to do with this?: Yesterday, at the Health Care DUMBIT, Rep Louise Slaughter made profound statements about the discriminatory health care practices affecting women. Here is the video of her statements:


    More importantly, given Rep Slaughter’s facts about women being disproportionately affected by such discriminatory practices (which most women should be well aware)…

    Why were there only 5 women at the Health Care Scammit (to represent the 52% of women in the American population) out of the more than 40 attendees?!

    That is what EVERY WOMAN should be asking – thus, demanding proportionate representation – before ANY Health Care Bill is ever even drafted, much less, signed into law!


    • W2W:
      I had this same conversation with BJ yesterday. How can our little girls and young women not look at the make-up of this meeting and conclude that women do not belong at meetings where important conversations are taking place? Is it any wonder that those few that make it to places of power find their once strong voices becoming a whisper?

      • I HEAR you Ms. Behaved !!!

        Is it any wonder that those few that make it to places of power find their once strong voices becoming a whisper?

        No truer words spoken, Ms. B. Maybe they are too intimidated to even hear how small their own voices actually are?

        Been there, done that, and woke up too late to make the difference, when it counted most, and the iron was hot!

        I think that is what Hillary Clinton was saying the other day…

        If only I could turn back the clock…

      • “How can our little girls and young women not look at the make-up of this meeting and conclude that women do not belong at meetings where important conversations are taking place? Is it any wonder that those few that make it to places of power find their once strong voices becoming a whisper?”

        The Rules and ByLaws Committee of the Democratic party sent that very message to all the women and girls in this country when they basically STOLE the nomination from us al by forcing Obama as the Dem nominee. His true legal name is Barry Soetoro and he is not doing enough to right the wrongs when he has been part of the problems that women face, out of his own overblown, selfish sense of ambitions and entitlement.

        Betty Jean, we have been on the same side of so many issues and battles, though we haven’t kept in as close touch as I would have liked due to injuries I received in a car accident. Let me tell you, as bad as coverage is with Medicare (coverage can be a joke) some in Congress want to make it WORSE?

        I was in a terrible car accident Nov 27th, 2007. And though I was in agony and suffering pain beyond description, Medicare would not pay for me to have MRI’s. The lawyer I hired disappeared. Five days before the statue of limitations expired, I was lucky enough to find a new lawyer who arranged for me to get 4 MRI’s within days, not months.

        It turns out I have injured and STILL swollen tendons with tendonosis in my left ankle. I have two torn muscles (subscapularis and infraspinatus) and multiple torn tendons in my rotator cuff with a tear in my long bidep that has knots all over my upper right arm down to my elbow. The deterioration from lack of treatment resulted in a partially frozen shoulder.

        I have a herniated disk with compressed nerve root at the L5-S1 disk in my lower spine. That isn’t all. I also have 3 herniated disks with compressed nerve roots at my C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7 in my neck. When it rains, I am in agony for days before and I never watch local tv or weather forecasts. Because Medicare refused to pay for MRI’s, they didn’t have to pay for specialists and/or proper treatment to fix me.

        NOW that the new lawyer arranged to pay for the MRI’s, Medicare HAS to cover my treatment after the resulting proper diagnosis. My first surgery to unfreeze my shoulder will be soon and the neurosurgeon is testing me for nerve damage on March 8th from the injuries to my neck.

        I’ve seen so many others who don’t even have pitiful Medicare or Medicaid. For that matter, Congress voted not to give people on SS a COLA increase while voting themselves pay raises starting at $6,000.00 a year. I don’t understand what is the matter with them. Don’t they understand, utilities, gas, car insurance, food and non-edible items have all gone up? Why doesn’t Obama just use the Reconciliation Act to pass whatever healthcare plan Democrats want and quit trying to negotiate with Republicans?

        I really think his falling poll numbers are out of his own actions or rather inactions. He’s wimping out on too many promises and then to add injury to insult, he has stonewalled on his documents and records, spending millions to keep them all sealed up. He looks and acts guilty. He is doing exactly what people like me and BJ predicted – wimped out.

        If Dems had let the one who had really won in the primaries be the candidate, HRC, we would already have health care reform PLUS women and children in particular would be MUCH BETTER off economically and every other way that matters. Louisa (and BJ) would be in much better circumstances.

        Hugs to you BJ. It’s been far too long. Call when you have a few minutes. You are both in my prayers.

  5. Amen Betty Jean that is wonderful and I am so happy for you.. I am praying for you and your Daughter. My God Bless her and you. You deserve happieness and many more blessings. This brought tears to my eyes and made me think that God the Health Care bill has not passed. Let us hope it does not for your daughters sake and more just like her.

  6. Ain’t no mama bear in the wild that compares to you, Mama Bear. Steadfast, persistence, refusing to be denied; I am a mother too, I know the personal cost and angst you muster to fight this fight.

    Apples do not fall far from the trees, an old saying that you and Louis prove true, every day.

    It is the hard fight you battle, a battle not of your chosing. Yet you rise every time and manage to remain undefeated.

    Many, many would not have the strength of will, character or spirit you two LIVE daily.

    One word to encapsulate you both: Indomitable.

    One word to describle you both: Inspirational.

    • Hey Bib!

      One word to encapsulate you both: Indomitable.

      One word to describe you both: Inspirational.

      So… true… so powerful… so glad you said that ! They are an amazing team, these two !

      It’s a mother-daughter-love-women-power-determination-“middle-finger”-you-won’t-deny-me-my-inalienable-personal-rights-and-freedom-coup d’état-because-I-AM-NOT-SECOND-CLASS…

      I AM WOMAN !!!!

  7. Thank you BJ for sharing this enlightening story.
    I (as you always did) knew she was “in there” fighting to be heard. I glad you finally found someone that bothered to “listen”.
    BIG HUGS to you both

  8. W2W, thank you for writing this very moving piece.

    BettyJean, please know I continue to pray for you. Bless you for being the kind of mother who doesn’t give up.

    I hear you, BettyJean. We desperately need health care reform, but the insurance companies are going to make damned sure it doesn’t happen. I can’t tell you how badly I wish people would really listen to the bullshit rhetoric and hear what these bastards are really saying.

    I was at the dinner table when Donald Rumsfeld set this ball in motion way back in the late 1970s. I know the code words. They sound so innocent ~ like they are trying to protect us ~ while they are screwing us left, right, and center.

    Little bit by little bit they have eroded health care until there is nothing left unless a person is a millionaire and can afford first class insurance.

    There’s a reason lack of decent health care coverage is the #1 reason people file for bankruptcy. A whole lot of people are under the delusion that they have great health care coverage. . .until they need it. . .and find out the cold, harsh reality. . .all the lies wrapped up in chocolate that they swallowed and said, “yum.”

    These poor people discover ~ too late ~ they’ve been served Kool-Aid instead.

    If we pulled the plug on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, we could fund the yearly budget for VAWA in ONE or TWO days!!!!!!!!

    So, don’t tell me we don’t have the money for great health care. The trouble is we’re mortgaging our future on that stupid war that should have never happened. Why? So Dick Cheney could get more money from Halliburton.

    That’s my own rant for the day. My hunch, BettyJean, is that this is why you are getting focused on politics. Our budget priorities are seriously messed up.

    I think it is interesting that so many incumbents are deciding not to run for re-election. Just one guy is getting to keep $13 million in campaign contributions. Not bad for a few years work, eh?

    • I love you, Dr. Drake… an amazing mind… a beautiful writer… and a woman who knows uphill battles and the milestones of “little” victories all to well!

      Thank you for your own story… thank you for writing about “Complex… ” I reflect on it often, because it has given me hope, Dr. Drake!

      We, I, need you !

  9. This is a beautifully written piece about a beautiful story. All the best to Betty Jean and Louisa. I disagree with Betty Jean from time to time, but I salute her on her actions in support of her daughter.

    By the way, I wouldn’t vote for Louise Slaughter if a knife were being held to my throat.

    • Hello Stephen!

      Thank you for the compliment on the piece!

      By the way, I wouldn’t vote for Louise Slaughter if a knife were being held to my throat

      (… She’s the one, out of 40, at the summit to open her mouth about the discriminatory practices of health care against women…

      “Domestic Violence is consider a Preexisting Condition in some states”

      …Please, please, please close your eyes, hold your nose and watch the video…






      …I assume that you were born to a woman, Stephen…

      …a vote for Woman’s Rights, is a vote for HER Rights!

    • Stephen, you are so wrong. Shame on you! You don’t have to agree with her on everything to do the right thing and see legislation passed that prevents gender specific discrimination in health coverage.

      BJ is one of the finest people in the cause of women’s rights as well as raising awareness about women’s issues.

      I know someone who works at SS. This person told me if I had been a man with these complaints, the MRI’s would have been approved fairly early on. Instead, I’ve been in AGONY that you can’t imagine.

      All things considered, do you have any sisters or daughters? Wouldn’t you like to see them enjoy coverage for female gender specific illnesses, especially when all insurance coverage plans routinely includes Viagra for men?

      BTW, it occurs to me that Louisa’s ordeal may be the motivation for BJ to help get healthcare reform passed. And I like the idea of calling it Louisa’s Law. Not unlike Amber Alerts, Project Adam, Megan’s Law.
      BJ you most certainly have the stamina, determination and courage to see this law gets passed.

      • Linda… Linda… Linda… My, My, My…

        Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

        • What did I say? LOL

          You wrote an amazing, excellent piece on BJ and Louisa. Thanks for the update. BJ & I haven’t kept in touch, but I’ve thought about her & Louisa often. When I saw the notice with only “Louisa” in the subject line, I was half afraid to open it. I thought with all they had already been through, surely this can’t be good news. However, BJ & Louisa fooled me. They both fooled us all. I can’t decide which one is the bigger trooper. BJ in her determination to fight for Louisa to get good care, or Louisa with her determination to not only live, but try to do things the so called “experts” deemed impossible. Keep your chins up ladies! There are many out here pulling for you two.

  10. womantowoman and BJ, thank you for this update and heartwarming news.

    Your example of the insurance company dropping the ball underlines the need for one comprehensive service.

  11. BJ: Here’s to the real HOPE that you will havr Louise home for mother’s day!

  12. I saw the subject line “Louisa” in my email box and my heart jumped into my throat. As I read on, I was relieved, and then amazed, at the news that Louisa is able to breathe on her own….and that a doctor finally realized that she can communicate. Someone! Finally!

    This is wonderful news, and at the same time continues to reveal how maddening it all is. Everything is about money and profits and very little about actual healthcare and quality of life. Sometimes this can make us all feel helpless – but remember we’re NOT! Things will only change if we all keep on fighting.

    And I’ll keep on praying for Louisa, as I know we all will.

  13. What a great post. Maybe BJ and Lou will get their miracle. I certainly will pray for that. I have never met a more dedicated person than BJ, working so hard for our country, and being such a dedicated Mom. Lou definitely has the right person fighting for her in her Mom. BJ has a heart of gold, and she never gives up. All my best, you guys really need to catch a break.

  14. By the way, everyone:

    How many men do you think that Stephen knows that has ever had a knife to his throat?

    How many Women do you know that have had a knife, gun, bottle, can, plate of food, child, friends, family members, pet, job,mental institution, car, etc., etc., etc…. thrown at them?

    …Just sayin, Stephen. You can keep Voting for your party, gender, lifestyle… or, maybe open your eyes and ears to what Women are subjected to, due to lack of true equality and equal, proportional representation over their entire lives.

    Is it too much to ask that, someday, you find one vote in your lifetime that is cast with a conscience towards, and advocating on behalf of, Women’s Equality, Rights and Freedom from Violence ?

    Not picking on you, Stephen. Just a little sensitive when it comes to a legislator, who represents 52% of the American population, actually speaks out on behalf of Women’s issues, in a policy meeting that is being represented by 87.5% men.

    • I’d like to know how many men Stephen knows who have been held down by their spouse and forced to have sex, whether they felt like it or not? I’d like to know how many men that Stephen knows have been brutally assaulted, denigrated and even beaten for not serving supper hot enough, wearing the wrong outfit, or saying the wrong thing? I’d like to know if Stephen has ever watched his mother, sister, wife, or daughter wither away and die from a terrible wasting disease KNOWING there are cures and treatments that would genuinely help them, but insurance wouldn’t cover it because it was deemed experimental, or even too expensive?

      Stephen, while I am glad you wish them well, unless you are willing to say to your Congressional reps that you support viable coverage for women specific issues, then your good wishes are only that. and good intentions and good wishes are empty if you do nothing to make things better for women in this country.

      I really hope you put your actions where your good wishes are and get involved with HELPING by calling or writing your congressional reps, or find some other way to make a difference. Thank you for reading my comments. I know it’s hard to understand, but imagine if you woke up tomorrow in an opposite world where men are treated as less than equals and you suddenly had to live with the discrimination and gender bias we live with every moment of every day. If more MEN stood up and said “NO MORE gender bias in any area and NO MORE violence against women and children” imagine the changes YOU PERSONALLY could make for all females of any age.

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