Medical Bills and Eyesight Recovery

When my wonderful wife Helen came home to find me after I had collapsed on the bathroom floor, neither of us was sure if I would live through the day. (I was conscious at that point, but unable to get to the phone.) The EMTs arrived very quickly, stabilized me, and rushed me to the hospital. Once there, the ER doctor discovered that I had almost no blood in my system; he seemed amazed that I was conscious, and able to talk to him and the nurses. They immediately started me on receiving multiple transfusions of blood.

An endoscopy revealed that I had a large bleeding hole in my stomach. During the extensive abdominal surgery that followed, they found attached to my stomach a grapefruit-sized tumor that had opened up, causing the catastrophic internal bleeding that had nearly ended my life. (During a later conversation with my amazing surgeon, I mentioned that I felt it was Divine intervention that had kept me going on the day I collapsed from the blood loss. He said, "I can't argue with you on that; I can tell you that there is absolutely no medical reason why you're still alive.")

But the surgery was successful! They removed all of the tumor — along with half of my stomach and about a third out of the middle of my colon, which had become entwined within the tumor. And one of the great blessings in all of this was that the tumor had not spread, and had now been completely removed. So no additional "cancer" treatments were called for. This type of tumor does carry the possibility of reoccurring — another, similar tumor starting up in the same area — so follow-up CT scans were indicated. Gratefully, the most recent CT scan a few months ago showed "all clear!"

My near-death crisis, surgery, and 12-day hospital stay took place in August 2011. We had no health insurance, very little in savings… and the hospital and related medical bills were staggering: in the area of $200,000! Helen and I feared this would bankrupt us and make us homeless. But fortunately, our terrific hospital has a charitable assistance program (which we qualified for as uninsured, low-income and limited asset people), and they were able to waive a good portion of our outstanding debt.

But we still owed many thousands of dollars in other bills for doctors, radiology, anesthesia, lab tests… And our savings were now gone, my recovery was slow, and it was quite some time until I could get back to working at all. But many of our dear friends, including so many in the extended spiritual community of which we are a part, stepped up with generous donations to help us pay down some of these bills, and continue to make ends meet while we did so.

Over time, though, many of the bills, as well as bills for my regular, ongoing medical care have had to be paid for on our credit cards. Doctor's visits, lab work, blood tests, pharmaceutical meds… all of these have ended up on our credit cards, which now have quite large balances, and frighteningly high interest rates.

And we now have a new challenge to contend with. For over a year, I've been experiencing a progressive loss of vision. The eye doctor has diagnosed me as having cataracts in both eyes. The vision in my right eye is almost completely gone now, being essentially nothing but a dark blur. My left eye still has clarity (thankfully), so although vision in it has become dimmer, I can still see detail well enough to read and work on the computer.

But cataracts are progressive, and my left eye could begin to experience blurring at any time, which would then leave me effectively sightless in both eyes. When the eye doctor first diagnosed my situation, her words were, "Well, good news — it's cataracts!" She explained that it was good news because cataracts are easily and quite effectively treated by surgery. The bad news for me is: the cost for the procedure is expected to be between $3,000 and $4,000 per eye.

So our hope, our prayer, and our humble request, is that folks (those who are able to) might consider donating to our fund to help restore my eyesight, help us to pay off our remaining medical bills from my tumor surgery, and help us to pay down at least a significant portion of the credit card balances that my medical expenses have caused to accumulate. (And of course this will help to reduce the sizable interest payments we are being crushed with each month.)

In the same way as we already feel about those friends who have helped us out so far, for anyone guided to help us now, our gratitude will be eternal! We truly believe there was "Divine Guidance" involved in my somehow remaining alive during my medical crisis, and we send endless blessings and sincere thanks to everyone who might be guided to help us continue on with life now.

With love, Blessings, and a humble "thank you",
~Gene & Helen Bogart
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Gene Bogart 
Boca Raton, FL
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