Rachael was diagnosed at a year and a half with asthma. At first her father and I had no idea what we were dealing with. We knew that her lungs were not working right but we didn't know the extent of the lifelong struggle her little body would have.
For the first couple of years she was hospitalized 3 - 4 times a year struggling to breathe and they placed her in a croup tent which is a little tent over her crib that blows cool mist for her to breathe. She had an IV in her little arm and had no idea what was going on. Her spirits were bright as any infant would be and her father and I struggled to juggle our jobs and a baby in the hospital. After 14 months of treatment I lost my job that held the insurance. So there we sat. A sick baby girl and no insurance. Her care required a great deal of resources that we didn't have. We went bankrupt with all the medical bills.
As as she grew we prayed that she would "grow out of" asthma as some of her doctors had said she might. Unfortunately that was not the case. She needed constant care. Being a newly married couple the struggle was difficult. My husband worked days, I worked A part time job at night and we made sure that we could care for our daughter.
As as she reached her teens she was hospitalized frequently with pneumonia. Her specialists were very concerned and sent us to Children's hospital in Milwaukee to be evaluated. She was then diagnosed with an immune deficiency called CVID or common variable immune deficiency. This diagnosis required her to have infusions of immune antibodies every 3 weeks to the tune of $7000 each. Thankfully our insurance took care of this but copays, hospitalizations and prescriptions were out of control. The shere magnitude of these bills caused our family to go bankrupt again in 2005.
I tell you all this to explain how spectacular these costs can add up. Unfortunately Rachael has been in a coma for the past week. Her asthma escalated to the point that she developed a pneumothorax (air escaped her lungs and collapsed her lungs causing her to go into cardiac arrest resulting in CPR being performed for 10 minutes, shocking her heart and placing chest tubes as well as placing her on a ventilator and in a coma for the past week. Her family has stayed by her side every step of the way but lives an hour away from the hospital. We are trying to juggle work and staying at the hospital with her to make any medical decisions that need to be made as her case changes every day.
She will need considerable physical therapy and rehab when she recovers as well as any costs incurred to transport her and missing work. All funds raised will go towards Her recovery.
Thanks so so much for reading Rachael Colleens story.
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