Help my Dad get better

On the morning of August 21, 2012 at 5 am, I received a call from an unknown number, which changed my world upside down. The call was from Florida Hospital in Tampa, FL: “YOUR DAD WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING LAST NIGHT, AND HE IS IN I.C.U RIGHT NOW, FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE.”

It felt like I was having a nightmare, but this was reality. When I showed up at the hospital, I saw my father on his death bed, hooked up to a nunch of machines through so many tubes. It did not feel real, and I felt like I was living in a fog. 

I was finally able to find out exactly what happened: My dad was at the mosque in Tampa, FL the evening that he was struck by lightning. He was sitting under the metal canopy next to the basketball court.  It was thundering and lightening. One of the kids at the scene described what happened:

My dad stood up after putting the hand on his chest and was walking out of the canopy, as the lightning came down and hit the canopy right at the spot where he was. He fell down on the ground and hit his back of the head on the ground. The steam was coming out of his body.

Everyone was too scared to come near him. They called the ambulance but it didn’t arrive until 20 minutes after. In those crucial 20 minutes, my father had a stroke and was losing oxygen to his brain.  Because he wasn't able to receive CPR time, the paramedics couldn’t get his heart pumping again on the way to ICU. It took the ICU nurses 15 minutes to get his heart pumping again. Doctors told me told me that his chances of survival were completely gone; the only way to keep him alive was to keep him on the life support machines.  They said that because of his neurological state (due to lack of oxygen to the brain) he wouldn't even be able to eat unless it's through a tube. 

A Little History about My Dad

My father has been working since the age of 13. He

had to support his mother after school in the little village of Pakistan. He has never stopped working in his life till he was struck by the lightning. "Vacation" was not an existent idea for him.

Two days after being hit by lightening, there was no improvement in his condition.  The doctors advised me to pull the plug so that he wouldn't suffer anymore. They informed me that he would never be able to live a  normal life, and in fact, he wouldn't be able to get out of the bed at all, if he even woke up. They gave me 3 days to make my decision.

All who knew my dad has been praying for him. It was a shock to all of us that a man so full of life, energy, and consistently on the go could be now comatose in the bed, with no hope of waking up. 

Three days later, even after refusing the doctors' advise, my father opened his eyes! (Thanks God)! The tubes and ventillators came off, and he started breathing on his own. He started to talk but was very confused because his throat was clogged from the tube going through him.

The  doctors were shocked; they couldn't believe it. They considered him a miracle, as he had proved them wrong. Not only had he woken up, but he was regaining his memory very slowly.  Although he will never have his whole memory back, or be the same person he was, my father is now talking, walking and still remembers some of his life.

When my father had his accident, his wife at the time abandoned him, as she did not know how to deal with the circumstances. Apparently, she didn't want to have to deal with him for the rest of her life, and she left, without telling us anything of where she was going; we still don't know where she is.  

My father is a permenant resident of the US (what some refer to as having "a green card"), but he is not a US citizen. Because of this fact, he cannot recieve Medicare, or any other health benefits.  

My father has been living with my wife and I since his accident in 2012. I should rephrase that -- he is now living with my wife, my newborn son, and I (we now have a child, (Thank God).  We have been trying to start his application for citizenship so as to be able to get some help with his medical bills.  The process of applying for US citizenship is costly in and of itself. 

At the moment, my father walks with the  help of walker, and eats on his own. He needs help going to the bathroom and taking a bath. My wife and I realize that God has given us a chance to honor my father, and to repay even a fraction of all the good he has done for others throughout his life. We help him with his needs lovingly, and in every way we are able. 

However, because of the medical costs, my father hasn't been able to see a doctor for a while now.  We do not know exactly how his heart is doing, and we just found out that he will need a very serious dental procedure to stem the bleeding from his mouth.  He also has vision problems that put his eyesight in jeopardy. 

While we are managing in taking care of his very basic needs (shelter, clothing, food, etc.), my wife and I are not able to pay for his medical bills, or to have any of these procedures done for him, so we are reaching out to the community at large, asking for any help that anyone can give us.  

Anyone who calls Florida Hospital and asks about HAJI IQBAL's medical condition will get a full report, as I have authorized Florida Hospital to share this information both for verification purposes, and for insipiration.

My father, who always had the energy to do everything for everyone, is still inspiring many people with is resilence and the fact that he is still here, and living. We want him to continue to do so with a healthy body and spirit. 

Please help us keep him healthy.

Thank you, and God Bless.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Faheem Abbas 
Gibsonton, FL
faheem abbas 
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