ROCHESTER — Curtis Cole and his family always appeared happy, with a person existence-debilitating roadblock that never ever went absent until finally the working day Curtis died at age 42 — his teeth.
It was over and above heartbreaking to see Curtis’ family members and pals gathered at Chilly Springs Cemetery for his funeral Sunday, June 12. There had normally been an air of innocence about Curtis, and you just understood his coronary heart was in the appropriate area. He beloved Kristina Foster, his childhood sweetheart and life spouse of a lot more than two decades, and their 3 daughters, Joselyn, 20, Isabella, 17, and Mariah, 3. His mom, Mary Jewell, was a big element of all their life.
“We had been jointly for about 24 yrs,” Foster mentioned. “We never ever acquired married but we had three attractive daughters together, and we experienced a great deal of like in our family.”
Curtis was laid to rest in the same cemetery exactly where his grandmother, Pina Pierce, is interred. The little graveside company was crowded. Curtis was cherished.
We met Curtis final calendar year, and he agreed to be the focal level for an in-depth story about dental treatment in New Hampshire, or, extra correctly, the deficiency of dental care for people today who are uninsured, minimal earnings or homeless. Dental treatment is out of reach for numerous doing work individuals who have insurance coverage that is inadequate, far too.
Curtis Cole’s story:Pricey dental care leads to terrible tooth, bad well being and soreness for numerous in New Hampshire
Curtis graciously permitted us to appear into his lifestyle, as journalists, along with his spouse and children. He had been suffering for years with tooth that ached and damaged his times, courting back again to challenges that started off after injuries he sustained in a car accident at age 28. His ache affected his spouse and children everyday living, as he frequently could not participate in foods or activities. He couldn’t try to eat standard food stuff. He would cook meal for his spouse and children, then go lie down due to the agony. He had a really really hard time sleeping.
It is tragic Curtis died just as he seemed on the verge of a new and improved life. By way of the assist of Medicaid, his tooth experienced been extracted. And by way of a generous, nameless donation from a individual who study about Curtis’ struggles on Seacoastonline, there was income in place for the dentures he needed.
Progress has been produced, also, on legislation in New Hampshire to assistance persons like Curtis.
It should have been a content ending.
Return to fantastic health seemed inside attain
On Sept. 28, 2021, Curtis went to Goodwin Community Wellness, and we were being there to doc the elimination of his enamel. He agreed to be in photographs and movies and explain his knowledge, advocating for the worth of obtain to dental treatment for every person no matter of revenue.
“Persons glance at you in a different way when you have undesirable teeth,” he mentioned. “Plus, it would be wonderful to be ready to sleep once again, to eat what I want, to be absolutely free of pain.”
We frequented Curtis once more the day ahead of he was obtaining the rest of his teeth pulled, April 5, 2022. He was taking care of his youngest little one, Mariah, as usual, and he posed for some portraits on the couch. His instructions were to hold out to heal, and the following stage would be dentures.
It in no way took place. Curtis got an infection and ended up at Frisbie Memorial Medical center. Septic shock and subsequent cardiac arrest finished his lifetime, according to his family. He died on Monday, Might 30, Memorial Working day.
Kristina, the love of his daily life, said Curtis experienced been agitated in the times before his loss of life.
“I advised him on that Saturday he did not look excellent, that he looked like hell and he needed to go to the crisis room. He resisted and then stated he would go the subsequent working day. By Saturday night time, he was delirious. He was in the bathroom and his knees gave out. I experienced to assistance him to mattress. When I woke up, he was again in the bathroom, yelling my identify. He was on the ground. I tried to support him up but couldn’t. We named the ambulance.”
“He experienced been so unwell and we wished him to go to the medical center,” stated Jewell, his mother.
Kristina adopted the ambulance to the Frisbie Memorial Clinic and was told she couldn’t see him right absent.
“I stayed for hrs, in my pajamas, and when they nevertheless would not allow me see him, I went home to adjust,” she stated. “His mother arrived. Curtis was sedated and simply because of COVID only just one of us could go in at a time. He experienced a 104-degree temperature and his blood sugar was low. … They said there was undesirable infection in his gums. We stored telling Curtis he was a fighter — he could do this.”
Kristina stated she envisioned Curtis to be taken off sedation Monday, May 30, the day his fight finished. At 3 a.m., the hospital termed to say Curtis was likely downhill.
“His kidneys were being slowing down,” Kristina reported. “He went into cardiac arrest.”
Goodwin Neighborhood Overall health simply cannot remark on Curtis’ dental treatment thanks to privacy regulations. “We are saddened to listen to the news,” reported Laura Drolet, a spokesperson. “We will be achieving out to the relatives.”
The nameless donor who had supplied to pay for dentures for Curtis was shocked when she was told about his loss of life. Several years in the past, when she didn’t have more than enough income or adequate insurance, she desired dental care and friends served increase dollars. She preferred to “pay that ahead” with Curtis. She despatched her condolences to Curtis’ loved ones, incorporating she hopes the cash she donated can be employed to support another person else in Curtis’ predicament right before it is too late.
Curtis was cremated. Jewell mentioned the Salvation Military assisted the household get a burial plot, and hospice chaplain the Rev. Joe Setzer performed the services.
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New Hampshire laws could assistance persons like Curtis Cole
Condition Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, has been combating for several years to get an adult dental benefit additional to New Hampshire’s Medicaid plan. At the moment Medicaid dental insurance policy addresses only unexpected emergency treatment this sort of as extractions. Senate Bill 422 and Home Invoice 103 handed and have been heading to Gov. Chris Sununu. They would give a preventative dental treatment reward to about 100,000 state inhabitants.
Rosenwald was conscious of Curtis’ story.
“Oh that is so unhappy,” Rosenwald stated. “What a squander of a young lifestyle and so devastating for his family members. Persons just never realize how critical oral health and fitness is.”
Sununu vetoed comparable laws in the past around funding issues. He has indicated he supports this year’s variation and was expected to signal the laws Friday, July 1.
“Growing protection to include things like dental positive aspects for all those on Medicaid is some thing I have long supported, but challenged the legislature to do so in a way the place the fees are sustainable and clear,” Sununu said in a organized statement. “I’m grateful for their perform this session acquiring all those goals and glance ahead to signing the invoice.”
Persons like Curtis are the cause the laws is wanted.
Stating goodbye significantly also shortly
Curtis’ two oldest daughters, Joselyn and Isabella Cole, shed tears at the funeral whilst standing next to their mother, Kristina. They all wore black and employed white tissues to dab the tears. It was warm and there was a massive group for Curtis, half standing beneath trees that supplied shade.
We think Curtis would have been pleased to see the provider but perhaps embarrassed all the consideration was for him.
He was born Aug. 20, 1979 and died Might 30, 2022. His time listed here was also quick, but he manufactured a distinction.