Tampa artist may lose function of hands, feet after routine hysterectomy

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It's any patients worst nightmare. You go in for a routine surgery, but suffer major complications, leading to life-alternating side effects.

That's the nightmare Dori Klaaren is living right now.

The Tampa artist went in for a hysterectomy - a surgery considered routine in most cases - but serious complications have left her sedated and recovering in the intensive care unit. 

She is unaware she never will be able to use her hands or feet again.

"She works with little ink pens," Dori Klaaren's husband, Terry Klaaren said. "She does pointillism."

As Klaaren explains, his wife creates masterpieces from single dots.

Dori Klaaren's precise, steady hands make her art possible, but her husband says doctors don't believe she will ever be able to use her hands again.

"It's a shock," Klaaren said. "We thought this would be smooth and it wasn't, and it isn't, and it can't be, but she's alive."

Dori is in and out of sedation, recovering in the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital and most likely unaware of her fate.

"She's able to raise her arms and the hands are exposed so she might have seen her hand," Klaaren said. "If she did, she knows there's something wrong. Other than that, I don't think she has any idea what's going."

Terry and Dori met for the first time in art class when they were just 16. They've now been married for more than 50 years. Dori manages the business side of their career and Terry does the painting. He's uncertain of what this will mean for their future.

"Dori has got to have something to look forward to when she comes out of this," Klaaren said. "And she's going to have a lot of work getting back to normal life."

Terry is planning to publish books of their travels throughout the world. He's hopeful Dori can contribute despite losing the use of her most useful tool.

"All I need is her brain, her eyes, her mouth," Klaaren said. "She's done all her drawing, her writing, her hiking, her traveling. Now, all we have to do is write our books."

Friends and family have come together to launch a fundraiser for the Klaarens, which can be found on the GoFundMe website.