ROCHESTER — Curtis Cole and his family always appeared delighted, with 1 lifestyle-debilitating roadblock that under no circumstances went absent until the working day Curtis died at age 42 — his teeth.
It was beyond heartbreaking to see Curtis’ household and friends collected at Chilly Springs Cemetery for his funeral Sunday, June 12. There had normally been an air of innocence about Curtis, and you just realized his heart was in the proper spot. He liked Kristina Foster, his childhood sweetheart and life companion of extra than two many years, and their 3 daughters, Joselyn, 20, Isabella, 17, and Mariah, 3. His mom, Mary Jewell, was a huge part of all their life.
“We had been together for more than 24 many years,” Foster mentioned. “We under no circumstances bought married but we had a few gorgeous daughters with each other, and we experienced a great deal of appreciate in our family members.”
Curtis was laid to relaxation in the identical cemetery exactly where his grandmother, Pina Pierce, is interred. The smaller graveside provider was crowded. Curtis was cherished.
We achieved Curtis previous year, and he agreed to be the focal issue for an in-depth story about dental care in New Hampshire, or, a lot more precisely, the absence of dental treatment for men and women who are uninsured, minimal cash flow or homeless. Dental care is out of get to for a lot of doing work individuals who have insurance plan that is insufficient, too.
Curtis Cole’s story:High-priced dental care qualified prospects to lousy enamel, poor overall health and agony for lots of in New Hampshire
Curtis graciously authorized us to appear into his life, as journalists, along with his spouse and children. He had been struggling for years with teeth that ached and damaged his times, dating back to troubles that started after injuries he sustained in a car or truck accident at age 28. His ache affected his relatives daily life, as he frequently couldn’t participate in meals or occasions. He couldn’t consume normal foods. He would cook dinner supper for his family members, then go lie down due to the agony. He had a definitely really hard time sleeping.
It is tragic Curtis died just as he seemed on the verge of a new and enhanced lifetime. By means of the assist of Medicaid, his tooth experienced been extracted. And by a generous, anonymous donation from a particular person who read through about Curtis’ struggles on Seacoastonline, there was cash in place for the dentures he necessary.
Progress has been built, much too, on legislation in New Hampshire to assistance individuals like Curtis.
It should really have been a joyful ending.
Return to good health seemed inside of attain
On Sept. 28, 2021, Curtis went to Goodwin Group Well being, and we were there to doc the removal of his enamel. He agreed to be in images and video clips and explain his knowledge, advocating for the great importance of accessibility to dental treatment for everyone no matter of profits.
“Folks seem at you otherwise when you have terrible teeth,” he reported. “Furthermore, it would be terrific to be capable to snooze again, to take in what I want, to be absolutely free of discomfort.”
We visited Curtis once more the working day in advance of he was receiving the relaxation of his enamel pulled, April 5, 2022. He was getting treatment of his youngest baby, Mariah, as common, and he posed for some portraits on the sofa. His instructions were to wait to mend, and the up coming step would be dentures.
It never took place. Curtis got an an infection and ended up at Frisbie Memorial Hospital. Septic shock and subsequent cardiac arrest ended his everyday living, according to his relatives. He died on Monday, May 30, Memorial Working day.
Kristina, the really like of his life, said Curtis experienced been agitated in the times ahead of his demise.
“I told him on that Saturday he did not glimpse excellent, that he seemed like hell and he needed to go to the unexpected emergency space. He resisted and then stated he would go the future working day. By Saturday evening, he was delirious. He was in the lavatory and his knees gave out. I experienced to help him to mattress. When I woke up, he was again in the bathroom, yelling my title. He was on the flooring. I experimented with to assistance him up but couldn’t. We called the ambulance.”
“He experienced been so sick and we preferred him to go to the medical center,” mentioned Jewell, his mom.
Kristina followed the ambulance to the Frisbie Memorial Healthcare facility and was informed she could not see him proper away.
“I stayed for hrs, in my pajamas, and when they still wouldn’t let me see him, I went residence to change,” she explained. “His mom arrived. Curtis was sedated and for the reason that of COVID only a person of us could go in at a time. He experienced a 104-degree temperature and his blood sugar was minimal. … They explained there was negative an infection in his gums. We retained telling Curtis he was a fighter — he could do this.”
Kristina explained she anticipated Curtis to be taken off sedation Monday, May perhaps 30, the working day his combat ended. At 3 a.m., the medical center termed to say Curtis was going downhill.
“His kidneys ended up slowing down,” Kristina mentioned. “He went into cardiac arrest.”
Goodwin Local community Health and fitness are unable to comment on Curtis’ dental treatment thanks to privateness legal guidelines. “We are saddened to hear the news,” reported Laura Drolet, a spokesperson. “We will be achieving out to the spouse and children.”
The nameless donor who had available to shell out for dentures for Curtis was stunned when she was advised about his demise. Several years in the past, when she failed to have sufficient funds or adequate insurance, she required dental treatment and buddies aided increase cash. She wished to “shell out that ahead” with Curtis. She despatched her condolences to Curtis’ loved ones, incorporating she hopes the cash she donated can be used to aid anyone else in Curtis’ condition in advance of it is way too late.
Curtis was cremated. Jewell explained the Salvation Army assisted the relatives get a burial plot, and hospice chaplain the Rev. Joe Setzer executed the provider.
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New Hampshire legislation could assistance folks like Curtis Cole
Condition Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, has been fighting for a long time to get an grownup dental benefit added to New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. Currently Medicaid dental insurance policy handles only crisis care this sort of as extractions. Senate Bill 422 and Household Monthly bill 103 handed and are heading to Gov. Chris Sununu. They would supply a preventative dental treatment advantage to about 100,000 point out residents.
Rosenwald was informed of Curtis’ tale.
“Oh which is so unhappy,” Rosenwald claimed. “What a squander of a young everyday living and so devastating for his loved ones. People today just really do not understand how vital oral overall health is.”
Sununu vetoed identical legislation in the earlier above funding concerns. He has indicated he supports this year’s version.
“Growing coverage to contain dental benefits for all those on Medicaid is some thing I have prolonged supported, but challenged the legislature to do so in a way where the costs are sustainable and transparent,” Sununu said in a ready assertion. “I’m grateful for their operate this session accomplishing those aims and glimpse ahead to signing the monthly bill.”
Men and women like Curtis are the rationale the laws is essential.
Expressing goodbye substantially way too quickly
Curtis’ two oldest daughters, Joselyn and Isabella Cole, lose tears at the funeral when standing upcoming to their mother, Kristina. They all wore black and employed white tissues to dab the tears. It was incredibly hot and there was a large crowd for Curtis, 50 % standing beneath trees that made available shade.
We assume Curtis would have been pleased to see the services but perhaps embarrassed all the consideration was for him.
He was born Aug. 20, 1979 and died May 30, 2022. His time here was much too brief, but he created a variation.