Five days ago our son, grandson, brother, friend, father, and husband almost died at 27 years old. Four doctors turned him away; despite a chronic fever of 105, complaints of shortness of breath, and obvious distress. He had been seeking medical help for weeks. He went to doctor after doctor and emergency room after emergency room; only to be turned away. "You have the flu" they told him, although his flu tests were negative. "Go home and take Motrin" they said, when he described the intense pain in his chest. No stethoscope, no tap of the back, no blood tests. The medical community failed him; ignoring simplest tests for infection or disease which would have alerted them to his dire situation and circumvented his suffering. The last text Joseph sent his mother was, "Please don't call 911, they're going to think I'm crazy." He was rushed to the ER by ambulance, 2 days later, he coded eight times.
Joseph is a fighter, the kid who grew up preaching gospel to the neighborhood kids and holding his own at the boys and girls club. He had a hard life and tough road, but found his way through the maze to stability and faith. He met his wife Maria, who is nothing short of an angel, five years ago. From the moment he laid eyes on her he said to his best friend "˜That woman is going to be the woman I marry." Maria is a beautiful soul, who is deeply kind and endlessly generous. She is a survivor, rising above a tumultuous past, to become one of the most compassionate individuals the earth has ever been graced with. She even cared for Joe's grandmother as her own, painting her nails, washing and feeding her and singing her sweet lullabies until her very last day.
Together, Joe and Maria sustained each other, helped each other blossom, grow and become who they were always meant to be. Friday at 5am we watched as Maria waited by his side caressing his hand, whispering "˜I love you, please come back to me.' We watched as his eyes fluttered and body tensed in desperate attempts to communicate I'm still here!' We listened as she refused to leave his bedside; even to sleep. We saw as he struggled to regain consciousness, to find his way back to her voice. He was in a medically induced coma for three days; one step ahead of demise. His heart was failing him; he was close to death. The misdiagnosed and outrageously overlooked proposed "flu" was actually a case of pneumonia that went undiscovered and untreated for so long that its infection spread throughout his blood stream and wreaked havoc on his most fragile organs. His mitral valve was eaten by the streptococcus virus, causing a mass on his heart so detrimental it needed to be replaced and a blood clot in his lungs with pnemonia so dire he could not survive without a life support.
He was dying.
For days we held our breath and prayed every prayer we could muster. The risk factors, touch and go stability, and frightening realities of death were overwhelming but we knew we had to do everything possible to remain positive and keep hope alive. Thankfully he made it successfully through the surgery! And as one battle ended, another has just begun. Now we watch as he struggles to breathe, sit, stand, eat or do anything that resembled the life he once had. We see the fear in his eyes as we leave the room, fear of the medical system failing him again, of no one listening to him. He is in tremendous pain, he is suffering. His prognosis is lengthy; we are told it will take 6 months to regain what he once called quality of life.
This is why we need your help! This site is dedicated to help Joe and Maria receive the care he deserves and the recovery time he so desperately needs. Our thoughts on the matter are simple; whatever you can do to help we welcome. From simple letters of encouragement to help with the daunting bills accumulating while he sits in the hospital all of your efforts are immensely appreciated. We know that not everyone is able to contribute in the same way so we've thought of all kinds of things you can do. The beauty of life is that no matter where you are; you can always find a way to donate your time, your talents or your treasures.
So please help us give our beloved Joseph a new chance at life. We can already see how this experience is imprinting him, deepening his relationships and shaping his perspective. He needs the chance to heal fully so that he may live his life from this point forward with the deepened awareness of the wonder and joy of vitality!
Julia Turk & Aoka Carr (his sisters)
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