Our Loss On June 10th 2018, my family suffered a tragedy. On their way back home from a day of outings, my family was involved in a car crash. As they nearly entered our neighborhood, they were hit by a car which had run a red light. Immediately afterward, my sister Mariela (the driver) woke up to my unconscious family. She managed to get out of the car to call for help. Because of the severity of the car crash, paramedics were needed to remove my little sister Miriam who had been sitting in the front passenger seat, my father, Rafael who sat in the back alongside my mother Ana. Ultimately, once each member was removed, the paramedics realized my family needed immediate help. Thus, both my parents were transferred to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida; my older sister Mariela accompanied my younger sister Miriam to Tampa Children's Hospital where she was further evaluated for injuries. The doctors discovered she sustained a minor concussion which would need treatment. Unfortunately, around 1 a.m of June 11th, my mother passed away due to the various brain injuries she had sustained in the car crash. At the same time, my father was placed on life support as he had also sustained severe, life-threatening, injuries. That night, the doctors operated him as he had suffered serious internal injuries, including internal bleeding--what the doctors called a life-or-death operation. They took out a large part of his intestines and small bowel. On Wednesday, June 13th, my father underwent a second surgery to close his stomach.
Our Troubles In the events leading to our loss, my family had recently returned from Wellesley, MA where my older sister Mariela had just graduated from Wellesley College. It had only been a week since their return. As for me, I had been studying in Florence, Italy through Middlebury College's study abroad program for five months where I attend. I returned back home as soon as I learned of my family's accident. In the initial weeks after my mother's passing and my father's surgery, my siblings and I had to plan for my mother's funeral. My sister focused on the logistics of the funeral service and finding a lawyer who could represent us in the ensuing legal process against the other party who had caused the car crash. Meanwhile, I stayed and slept at the hospital to ensure my father received the best care possible. He cannot speak English well, so he needed me to help interpret his inquiries or requests to the doctors. My younger sister Miriam spent the remainder of the summer resting at home as she had suffered lesions on half her face and parts of her arms. Thankfully she made a full recovery. At the beginning of July, we were able to have a funeral service in Fort Myers where our friends and family were able to pay their respect. We convinced the hospital to allow my father to see my mother's remains one last time. Thankfully, he was able to do this. A week later, my siblings and I traveled back to our hometown in Oaxaca, Mexico where we buried my mother's remains. As for my father, he spent the entire summer in two different hospitals. For the first two months, he stayed in Lee Memorial Hospital. By July 30th, on my father's 51st birthday, he was transferred to another long-term care hospital where he stayed for another month. There he improved greatly. In a week or so he will be discharged from the hospital as we speak.
After my father's initial surgery, my father underwent various operations for the different symptoms which arose throughout the summer. Ultimately, his greatest complication was a fistula which had formed in his intestine. This produced a large amount of stomach fluid to leak out of his stomach. Because of this, the doctors attached two ostomy bags, one on his abdominal area and another on the right side of his stomach. In another CT scan, the doctors found a collection of excess liquid at the bottom both of his lungs. Two draining tubes were also attached near each of his ribcages to drain this excess fluid. After three weeks of having this, the doctors took them off. As with many life-threatening operations, my father suffered severe fevers and other symptoms as his body readjusted. Thankfully, once my father was transferred to the second hospital, Promise Hospital, his recovery process continued to the point where little to no stomach fluid leaked out of both ostomy bags. Because of this, in the middle of August, the doctors removed both bags. Because my father was placed under NPO or "nothing by mouth", he has not eaten all summer. Thus, he has lost a great amount of weight. To aid this, he has been given IV nutrients to help maintain his current weight. Thankfully, by the middle of the summer, he was up and walking around the hospital halls. We are all proud of him for his determination.
As I write this, we are in the final week or so of our hospital stay. Because of this, my father will be discharged from the hospital and be sent home where a homecare service will continue to give him his daily dose of IV nutrients and other medicine he may need for pain or nausea. As the next phase of the recovery process begins, we are preparing ourselves to continue to support my father. During the past three months, my father was on paid medical leave. Understandably, his workplace cannot do this forever. Thus, for the remainder of my father's recovery, we are in need of financial help. The doctors expect my father to fully recover in seven months, so during this time, he will still be unable to work at all. Because of this, I ask you to contribute any amount--large or small--to my father's medical expenses which will accumulate during his time back at home. Unfortunately, certain parts of the homecare service will not be covered by my father's insurance. Thus, we will need to pay out of pocket. As I have stated earlier, my father will not have any sort of income during these 7 months. My younger sister started her first year of high school. My older sister will be unable to work during this time as she will have to take care of my father at home and my younger sister as well. As for me, I will be returning back to Middlebury College where I will finish my fourth year. As you can see, we are in a difficult financial situation and this fund will be used to relief all the medical and living expenses during this time.
I have come across countless stories in which families have been supported through this website. I never expected my family to experience this tragic loss. To those who have survived such a moment, I commend you for your strength. My family comes from humble beginnings. We are originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2002, we moved from our rural village to Fort Myers, Florida. A year after our arrival, my sister and I became naturalized U.S. citizens. My father had become one two years earlier. My mother is a resident. When we arrived to this country, we had nothing. Thanks to the generosity of my uncle, we were able to live in his garage in a twenty-person household. Two years after living there, my father was able to become a home owner. My parents have always been hardworking people. Throughout our time here in the U.S, both my parents have maintained two to three jobs to help our family. Because my parents came from underprivileged backgrounds, they only received an elementary school level education. Thus, when my sister and I were privileged to attend a private elite school through full financial assistance, my parents did not allow us to work. They wanted us to have our full focus on our education. Simply put, they knew an education would be the key to our success. And thanks to their support, both my sister and I have attended elite institutions, Wellesley College and Middlebury College respectively. I ask you to consider all of this as you think about contributing to what is the greatest loss to my family. Just as we have been supported by various communities on our way to succeed in our education, we hope to also have this kind of support as my family griefs for the loss of my mother and supports my father's full recovery. Thank you. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.