After several weeks of chest pain and dizziness, he finally decided to go to the emergency room for further evaluation. Like the working everyman in America: It was neither pride nor denial that kept him from seeking care, but a gap in his health insurance coverage. With crushing pain and fear on his wedding anniversary he worried he may not be there for his wife Melissa and two young children another day and drove himself to the ER. His initial testing was not indicative of a heart attack, but the physician heard a murmur. He was then sent for further testing which revealed a rather large aortic aneurysm and damaged aortic heart valve necessitating immediate repair. Only a miracle and love for his family has pulled him through this experience so far.
Despite the daunting amount physical and emotional aspects of this major surgery, Duke is facing this challenge with his usual wit and positivity: making jokes throughout this process and always seeing the bright side of an otherwise serious illness. His levity, coupled with our thoughts and prayers, will no doubt get him through this hurdle.
The financial aspect of open heart surgery in America is massive, but rarely seen to the everyday citizen in full effect due to the benefit of insurance. The cost of his surgery is going to be very expensive and is likely to exceed Duke’s yearly income. As such, it is my hope that we can rally together to help offset some of the financial hardship that is likely to ensue. Please donate if you can, every bit will help!
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