Wife's illness forces sad end for S. Chandler shop - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Wife’s illness forces sad end for S. Chandler shop

June 19th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Wife’s illness forces sad end for S. Chandler shop

By Ken Sain

It’s easy to forget that life can change in a moment.

One moment is forcing Richard and Connie Finkbeiner to sell their Chandler business of more than 20 years. They plan to close Connie’s Jewelry Gallery and Clock Shop at 1900 W. Germann Road forever around the end of June.

Connie had just dropped her grandchild off and was returning home in February of 2017. She stopped at a stop sign. There was a utility box blocking her view. She leaned forward, and turned her neck to try and see around it.

It was that moment that her car was hit from behind by a maintenance truck. Richard says he’s been told the other driver was distracted.

“You know, a kid being irresponsible and we think he was on his phone,” Richard said. “I mean, it took everything. It took my wife’s life, she’s in a bed … and it’s taking my business. I can’t run this business on my own and I can’t find anybody who has, Connie’s been doing it for like 35 years, …the business worked because Connie developed trustworthy relationships with her clients.”

There’s another reason they are closing their business, which has been at the corner of Dobson and Germann since 2013. If he tried to run the business even without his wife’s expertise and relationships, someone has to be a caregiver.

“Who’s going to take care of my wife?” Richard said. “Whenever she throws up, who’s going to tell her it’s OK and clean it up? When she loses her hair, who’s going tell her ‘I love you anyway?’”

The crash left Connie with a broken neck and herniated discs. Those could be, and were, dealt with in surgery. The bigger problem is what it did to her nervous system. She has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Basically, the pain receptors in her body never turn off. Connie is in constant pain.

That is not all. The nerves in her stomach are unable to tell when there is food present. Normally, once the nerves recognize food is there, they begin to process it. Richard says in Connie’s case, the food just sits inside her stomach and rots.

That has led to her losing a lot of weight, now down to 95 pounds. She also developed allodynia, which is a sensitivity to touch, light and sounds.

There’s a medical center in Arkansas that specializes in CRPS, basically trying to rebuild the nervous system to lessen the constant pain. They were there for about three months and were starting to see some positive results.

But that ended when they diagnosed Connie with breast cancer. Before she can return to Arkansas, they must first address that. They measure pain on a scale up to 50. Connie’s usually falls between 42 and 45.

“So CRPS … is known as the suicide disease,” Richard said. “People just can’t take it over a period, and the doctors don’t … understand how to go ahead and deal with people’s … pain like that.”
Richard said it’s not been easy for them. How have they gotten through?

“It’s just through faith,” he said. “I’m on my knees 10 times a day. The Lord will guide us through this.”

So far the medical bills have cost them $500,000. The insurance company for the business that owned the maintenance truck that hit Connie has admitted to the crash, but not to any injuries sustained. Richard said they are suing them with a court date scheduled for this summer.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Richard’s sister to help them. Search for “Please Help Save Connie” if you would like to contribute.

Richard said it was a hard decision to close their business, but he had little choice.

“Everything you have and don’t have go into your business,” Richard said. “I mean, this business is my 401k. This business is my IRA. I don’t have anything else. Everything has been put into the business to … make the business go. That’s just the way you have to do it.”

Information: 480-883-3320.