Benefit planned for Cauley family

Published 12:51 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

Many people do not stop to think about the breaths they take and what would happen if the ability to breathe was taken away, but Shirley Cauley faced a desperate decision when her husband, Larry, lost his ability to breathe on Sun., Sept. 14.

“I had to just put my trust and faith in God knowing he is the great physician,” she said. “You just feel helpless knowing that you cannot do anything. I just had to trust God was in the control. I knew he was extremely sick and I knew it could go either way. I just could not give up because he needed my strength and he was depending on me.”

Cauley first became sick Aug. 4 with what seemed like a normal viral infection, but things quickly skated downhill and he was admitted into an Elba hospital 10 days later.

“It just kept getting worse,” Mrs. Cauley said. “They found a large amount of fluid buildup in and around his lungs.”

The situation was further complicated with the passing of Cauley’s father Aug.15 and the family was faced with a difficult situation.

“They let him out on Aug. 16 because of his father’s funeral,” Mrs. Cauley said. “He took antibiotics by IV for approximately one week after he was released, but they were not doing any good.”

She said that her husband returned to the hospital Sept.1 and was referred to Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan to receive further treatment for his worsening condition.

“On Sept. 5 they drew over a quart of fluid from his right lung,” she said. “On Sept. 8 they did a colonostapy and an upper GI, but were unable to find anything substantial.”

It was not long until the Cauleys experienced the frightening episode on Sun., Sept. 14.

“Fluid was around his lungs from the bacteria in his body,” she said. “They drained about two liters off his lungs at that time. They installed a drain tube and he drained quite a bit of fluid for the next few days and they removed the tube on Sept. 19.”

Blood work initially pointed toward a type of bacterial infection, according to Mrs. Causey, but additional blood work later down the road revealed an extremely rare viral infection spread throughout Cauley’s’s body. Mrs. Cauley said the infection, which heavily attacks both the heart and lungs, has caused irreversible damage to her husband’s body.

“It has been a slow process,” she said. “All his muscle mass has gone away. He lost 40 pounds in a short period of time because he was not able to eat. He is still seeing cardiologist, a pulmonary doctor and a regular medical doctor to help combat the affliction.”

The experience has been mentally demanding for Causey, who was highly active and working for 25 years as a truck driver delivering petroleum products across Alabama, Georgia and Florida prior to the infection, but doctors have painted a grim picture for the future.

“They do not think he will ever be able to work again because it has taken such as toll on his body,” she said. “

His condition has also taken him away from work and no income has entered the Cauley household since August, but Mrs. Causey said the surrounding community has helped them remain afloat.

“They have helped us to not lose everything we have,” she said. “No money is coming in right now. Disability has a five-month waiting period and the five months will not be up until the middle of January.

The Country Cathedral in Opp will host a benefit concert for Causey tonight beginning at 6 p.m. The concert will feature the music of The Good News Quartet, Derek Snellgrove, The Shining Lights and many others. Barbeque sandwiches and other refreshments will be available.