Cathie Sheetz was a healthy 37-year-old just months ago, said her husband Ducky Sheetz, who is well known in the Dewey and Rehoboth restaurant industry.
In July, she was in pain and went to Beebe Healthcare, where they found she had induced hepatitis, Ducky said. She was sent home about four days later.
“Then she called me in so much pain she could barely speak, her voice was so shallow,” Ducky said. “Our son Marshall, who is 9, called 911.”
Clinicians found Cathie had acute pancreatitis and liver failure was causing fluid to build up in her body, Ducky said. Doctors removed 13 liters of toxic fluid, which tested positive for E. coli, from her body cavity, and she needed urgent exploratory surgery, Ducky said.
“They needed to know why his body is poisoning itself,” Ducky said. “They told me she had a 20% chance of surviving the operation. Trying to explain to a 9-year-old boy, who is quite intelligent, what is going on with his mother is difficult, but he understands He even asked me once if it could kill mom when we left the hospital, and if he’s going to ask a question like that, I have to be honest with him: yes, it could.
Surgeons removed five inches from her colon, Ducky said, and she will use a colostomy bag for the next six to 12 months. A few days after the operation, she was placed in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator in intensive care because her oxygen levels were so low and she was struggling to breathe, he said.
“They started asking: how far do you want this to go?” said Duck. “They asked if she needed resuscitation if she went into cardiac arrest, and I was like, where did that come from? It literally came out of nowhere.
Cathie spent 44 days in hospital, Ducky said, where she was watched by “angel nurses”.
“The folks at Beebe are just fantastic,” Ducky said. “They were by his side the whole time. They were really honest about everything, and I liked that the most.
While there, she turned 38 and he turned 50. Joking about their age difference, he said that since he was the eldest, she was supposed to take care of him.
“It’s a scary thing, and something you don’t expect to experience,” he said. “Six months ago, she was a normal, healthy woman. Now she will probably need a liver transplant.
Since returning home Oct. 21, Cathie has rested and regained her spirit and weight, Ducky said. She usually weighs between 125 and 130 pounds and used to weigh 90 pounds. at its lowest in the hospital.
After taking five weeks off to care for her, Ducky said he is now back at work at Nalu. Ducky said he and Cathie were previously married; the combined family has three daughters, all at the University of Delaware. Marshall, whom they adopted, attends elementary school in Rehoboth.
Ducky admits he was hesitant to start a GoFundMe because he doesn’t like asking for help, but insurance only covers part of their needs, and his care will continue into next year with new ones. deductibles to be respected.
“I have a box full of medical bills, and more every day,” Ducky said. “She has a possible liver transplant in the future, and they’re not giving them.”
Ducky said he moved to the Cape Town area in 1990 and was touched by the outpouring of support from friends and community members.
“People are so caring and caring in this area,” Ducky said. “They want to help, and there’s not much they can do, but it helps. Someone even came to help me fold the laundry.
The Sheetz fridge is full of food from family and friends.
“So many pasta dishes, I’m going Italian,” he joked. “It’s so good to be part of a caring community. Here, people seem to care a lot more about each other.
Ducky said he and Cathie enjoy many of the same things, from food to travel, and have taken their children to seven countries and 30 states.
“She’s a darling; I guess it was love at first sight. No one who meets her loves her to death, because she has a fantastic personality. She’s kind and nice to look at too,” he said. “I have separated myself in my head from the negativity, so all I can do is give him as much support as possible. There’s no point in sitting around crying; I shed all the tears I could. Now I focus on improving it.
Fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, November 13 at Rusty Rudder
When Highway One President Alex Pires learned of Cathie’s situation, he knew he had to do something to help her.
“Ducky and Cathie both worked at the Rudder,” he said. “He fell for her, like in the movies.”
Pires hosted a fundraiser, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 13, with a silent auction of products, services and gift cards from local businesses. A live auction will feature rare and valuable bourbons, including four bottles of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons from Pires’ private collection that are 23, 20, 15 and 13 years old, some of which have already been auctioned off until now. at $3,000, he said.
A 40-year-old port, collectible wines, a surfboard and bicycles are some of the other items in the live auction, Pires said.
Food and alcohol will be available for purchase, all donated by Highway One and distributors, Pires said, so all proceeds can go directly to the Sheetz family; Ducky said he hopes Cathie feels well enough to attend.
“The goal is to help them get rid of those horrible medical bills,” Pires said. “The insurance doesn’t cover all the special things they need.”