- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Jessica Crumpton West has gotten a little of her life back.

After two years of personal and financial hardship following the loss of both her legs and an arm after boiling water was poured on her, she recently qualified for Medicare.

Having insurance means not having to shell out more than $300 every month for four medications. It also means fewer hot dogs, and more nutritious food for her family - which includes husband Justin and three children. It means more than $8 in the bank for a family of five to live on during the last week of almost every month.

And it could mean they could pay for T-ball for Crumpton West’s three boys, and eventually reduce anxiety about utilities being cut off.

An extra $125 means that much.

“After two years, I’ll finally have a doctor for anything,” Crumpton West, 30, said from her Montgomery home. “That’s going to maybe be able to cover bills to where we’re not so … so behind, so stretched out, and getting disconnect letters. It’s been two years.

“God is good all the time.”

Crumpton West was burned Dec. 30, 2011, by her uncle, Brian Crumpton, when he threw a pot of boiling water on her. Following the incident, she had to be resuscitated on the operating table several times. Tissue began dying in her body, leading to the eventual amputation of her legs and right arm.

Brian Crumpton received a 20-year sentence split to serve five years along with five years of probation. While Crumpton West received prosthetic legs in late May 2012 at Alabama Artificial Limb and Orthopedic Service, she lost Medicaid in October 2012.

Medicaid was applied for while Crumpton West was receiving treatment for her burns in December 2011. At that time, she had started receiving SSI benefits of $631 per month. When her disability became approved, it increased her monthly check to $1,053. She was told that she earned $35 too much to receive Medicaid benefits, and was dropped from the program.

She now qualifies for Medicare and will receive Medicare benefits through Viva Medicare, which will not only provide her medical benefits, but also dental and vision allowance and transportation services to medical appointments. Viva Medicare is owned by UAB.

Eventually, she will only have to pay between $1.20 and $2.55 for her medications, she has been told. Right now, of the $325 she pays for the medications, $200 is covered by an anonymous group in Montgomery, which has financially assisted Crumpton West for about two years.

While she has the money sent directly to a CVS pharmacy, she manages to pay the remaining $125.

“Without this group, I couldn’t get my medicine,” she said, adding the group did not want to be mentioned by name.

Not only that, but an individual has donated toilet paper and paper towels every month. But the hardest for Crumpton West to discuss is what the Montgomery group has done for her children - Dylan, Kye and Reed have never gone without a birthday cake.

“They remember,” she said. “Because … because, I can’t. We’ve really, really had to humble ourselves. And, I’m glad.”

Crumpton West said that just months after losing her limbs. And she still believes it.

“There’s a reason,” she said. “I’m proud of who I am. I know it’s in God’s time. I’m not sure if it’s anything other than taking care of my three boys, but that’s good enough for me because I didn’t want to miss out. And that’s the reason I’m here. I’m thankful He lets me see it. He gave me the chance to see it.

“I almost lost it. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t want to think about their hurt. And I want to be selfish and say, ‘I can’t do it without them. I don’t want to do it without them.’ If that’s the reason, I’m good with that.”

“We take so much for granted,” Crumpton West said. “Like being able to go to the store and buy a gallon of milk, or a loaf of bread. And to know that some people can’t do that. Or, they can’t get a birthday cake for their kids. They can’t afford shoes when they outgrow them. So it’s all the petty little stuff that you think you have to have.”

T-ball for her boys has been paid for by friends. That was hard for Crumpton West. So has having to stop going to physical therapy because there is not money to put gas in the car.

“We can’t get there, and back,” she said. “I want to walk so bad.”

At the end of the day, she knows what is important.

“It matters that you can sit at the table and have dinner with your family,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re eating ramen noodles - you say the blessing and talk about the day. That’s all that matters.”

Crumpton West reminds herself of that daily.

“My husband and my kids have stood behind me every step of the way,” she said. “They have supported me, and have been my legs when I couldn’t stand. And Justin has done more things than most women shouldn’t have to ask a man to do. And he has done it without ever expecting a thank you.

“I wake up every morning and I’m thankful I’m here,” she said. “It’s hard, but I just have to take it day by day. I have to have patience. I pray for that every night. God says He will take care of you, but it’s got to be in His time. Not ours. That’s my biggest anxiety.”

Crumpton West believes one day she will return to the working world, and help the family get back on their feet.

“We’re going to put this behind us and move forward,” she said. “And this is one step closer. It might have taken two years, but this is one prayer answered no matter how long it took.

“I am here to see it, and it just gives me hope for what might come next.”

___

Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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