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Debzilla is BACK! Deb Murphy returns to Hatch.

Deb Murphy is answering her phone, responding to emails and sitting at her desk.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAIt was touch and go for awhile. The woman whose name has become synonymous with Houston’s LGBTQ Youth has been on medical leave. Sometime between the prom and the parade, Hatch Youth Specialist Deb Murphy was thrown for a major life-changing event. You never know what to expect when you’re down and out, and in the spirit of this giving season, Deb Murphy recently found out how much she is appreciated by this community, and offers her sincerest gratitude for those who have supported her on her latest journey. You can read more about it in the November issue of OutSmart Magazine.

This story was written in October when Deb was at a rehabilitation center, somewhere in the Houston area.

A Feisty Woman, Deb Murphy is.
by Sally Huffer

Deb Murphy sat on the side of her bed for a few moments moving about. Feisty and fidgety. She would sit and cross her legs, then move to the center of her bed and pull the covers up. Then toss them off and sit with one leg up. Then scoot to the edge of her bed and hang her legs over the side. Then rearrange herself again, and lie down with the covers half on and half off. All of this was within a half hour.

For those who haven’t yet heard, Deb had some unexpected consequences happen to her when she went in for a routine medical procedure. For an unknown reason, blood clots formed in her extremities, making their way into the tiny capillaries. Unable to catch the small clots, tissue started to necrotize.  Surgeons had to remove it before it spread any further.

So, the next time you see Deb, she is going to look a little different. She is the first to tell you that the mirror goes both ways as she, too, is looking at the world from a new perspective. She is learning how to manage her life without the lower portion of her left leg and without a full right foot. And while those are certainly hurdles, her only complaint during our visit was that they kept bringing her grapes, which she can no longer eat with some of her internal plumbing being rerouted.

That’s not to say that Deb isn’t grieving. She says she allows herself a 15-minute pity party every day, give or take, and she has long spells during the night when she can’t sleep. The therapists we work with at the Montrose Center say that’s pretty normal. Deb is also quick to tell you that she is glad to be alive, and extremely grateful to have a network of friends, a rekindled relationship with her sister, and coworkers who have picked up a lot of her Hatch and NEST Homeless LGBTQ Youth responsibilities. At the Montrose Center, we are able to donate Personal Time Off to each other, so in all this time – since mid-June – she has only had four days that weren’t covered. When she thinks about all that, she gets a little teary, and she probably will kill me for saying so. That’s not the Deb you’re supposed to know.

The one you’re supposed to know is the one who jumps from her bed right into the wheelchair now. The only thing she needs is for you to get out of her way. They recently took impressions so they can make her prosthetics. Her initial prosthetics – paid for through her insurance – will be very basic. She wondered aloud whether she should go for sneakers or Bass Weejuns. She hopes one day she’ll be able to get fancier prosthetics with a full range of motion, so she can go on her morning walk on her beloved island, go fishing, ride her bike, and take the “old lady” hiking trails.

In the evenings, when she is wide awake, she’ll wheel herself through the halls of the center where she is rehabilitating. She has physical and occupational therapy every day, and proudly showed me a photo of her standing the first time after surgery. Deb is determined to build her upper body strength so that she can get back to her life, her cat Penny, her friends, her community, and her Hatchlings.

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