It was a beautiful late-March day in 2020 when my husband Paul and our son Eli played catch with a football on the sidewalk in front of our home.
But. . .
Paul jumped up to catch a pass and tripped, flipping him to land on the back of his head on the concrete sidewalk. I called 911, and an ambulance arrived. The initial diagnosis was grim. . . he suffered 3 skull fractures, and had an active brain bleed. He was hospitalized in the ICU of a Kansas City hospital for 2 weeks. He then was transported by ambulance to the Madonna Rehab facility in Nebraska where he spent another 2 weeks in an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program specializing in spinal cord and brain injuries.
When he came home, COVID-19 had fully hit and he was unable to continue proper brain rehabilitation due to everything--social and medical--being shut down. Paul was seeing a speech therapist, physical therapist, neurologist, occupational therapist, and his Veterans Administration "VA" primary care physician via telehealth or phone. We stuck with this type of healthcare--30 to 90 minutes each week--for 5 months. Paul's health was declining, both physically and emotionally.
One afternoon he told me he couldn't do this anymore. He became more depressed by the day. I had seen and experienced enough--and I contacted a primary care physician outside of the VA. Our primary care physician referred Paul to the KU Medical Center where he saw a neurology team. The KU Medical team referred Paul to an intensive brain rehabilitation group called Ability KC. Paul received extensive neurological care 4 days a week from 9 am-3 pm--for seven weeks.
He has and is still continuing to work hard to restore his health. Paul is making big gains in restoring his abilities. I am very proud of him!
Paul was unconscious for at least two weeks after falling. Because he was unconscious, Paul COULD NOT notify the VA within 72 hours of his fall. That 72-hour window is a VA "requirement" and the VA has bullied Paul for not complying with that requirement. And, because Paul could not make a phone call--because he was unconscious--the VA coldly refuses to cover medical expenses from the near-death injury.
We are now forehead-deep as we go through red tape trying to pay the bills outside the VA facilities, while getting notices from debt collectors. It is overwhelming, especially to Paul who suffers from extensive frontal lobe brain damage.
But I am doubly overwhelmed, because I see my best friend and husband Paul physically and emotionally unable to take care of himself. Paul has been in combat twice and suffers from PTSD as well. I cannot bear returning to work to leave Paul alone to bear this burden alone in our home.
We really need help in paying off our debts. Our financial situation is suffocating us and we pray for some relief.
Will you please help us?
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
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