Help Alicia Snipes with Medical Expenses

Hello, I'm Alicia Snipes and I'm a 27 year old independent woman.  Asking for help is not my strong suit but I've accepted that I need help.  I am struggling.  I was in a very long relationship that was toxic and abusive.  My ex constantly overstepped my boundaries and found ways to control me.  Every time I tried to get out or tell him the reality of our relationship, he would have a plan to fix it and I just wanted to do what was truly best.  I was never truly good enough and my spirit was stunted.  I was so emotionally damaged I was dying on the inside and I couldn't escape it.  Ultimately, this relationship needed to come to an end..  to better explain where I'm coming from, here are some of the events that left me torn and helpless.  On several occasions, he would drag me out the car and the house by my hair and lock me out or drive away.  He would drive away with my shoes and my phone so I couldn't call anyone for help.  Sometimes I was taken to the hospital and other times he would leave me places far from home, I had to wander around the city without shoes on my feet to find somewhere safe to be.  I would beg him not to do these things but he didn't care about my wellbeing.  I was manipulated and controlled and I believed that I deserved to be treated that way.  When the or hospitals got involved, I never mentioned his name.  I felt it was my fault and I protected him. There were occasions when I would fight back and he would call the cops on me and get me in trouble or he told his parents what a monster I was and they never believed me.  The manipulation started off the bat two and a half years ago and the abuse progressed.  He got the same job I did and would follow me around the workplace, forcing me to talk about our issues.  I eventually had to quit bc I couldn't mentally be there.  He quit too.  I allowed him to use my car for 3 to 4 months and he promised to make the payments on it.  He was free to pick up my keys and take my car whenever he wanted.  He stacked on 10k miles on it in that short amount of time and never appreciated me for helping him, as he abused and took me for granted.  I used my whole paycheck to fix his car.  Weeks later my car broke down and had no ride.  I could go on but moving on to the day of the incident that almost took my life.

On November 17, 2020, him and I got into an argument and this time it went way too far.  He pushed me on my back on a stair and knee slammed me in the chest as hard as he could.  This blunt force to the chest caused my lung to collapse, or better known as a severe Pneumothorax.  Air from my lung escaped to my chest wall putting pressure on my heart and trachea.  My breathing was shallow and very fast.  I begged him to take me to the hospital and he refused because he didn't want to go to jail.  I promised him I wouldn't tell on him and that my condition is severe and I needed medical attention.  He refused, packed his stuff and drove off.  I had a very low chance of survival.  I got ahold of my neighbor and she helped me call an ambulance.  Once I arrived at Mercy One, Sartori Memorial Hospital, they immediately started care.  The doctor punctured my chest wall with a needle chest decompression for the air to escape.  Then, the surgeon installed a chest tube in my side.  The chest tube suctions the air out of my chest wall and keeps my lung inflated.  Later on, an officer spoke with me concerning the situation that I was in and I told him the truth.  I finally told someone what was happening to me.  I was relieved.  He was charged and I await court dates after I come out of the hospital.  Moving on, weeks went by and  the machine continued to  bubble, which indicates that there is a leak or hole in my lung.  So, surgery was soon to be expected.  

On the night of November 30, 2020, I felt pressure on my heart and trachea and told my nurse right away. The chest tune wasn't bubbling anymore which meant it could have been clogged or misplaced in my chest.  My lung partially collapsed and the doctor had to put another chest tube in.  I prayed and prayed and God was with me all the time.  They kept the other chest tube in so I was bound by two chest tubes and it was painful.  God stayed by my side and I pulled through. 


I was transferred to Mercy One Covenant Hospital in Waterloo, Ia on  the evening of December 1, 2020.  The next day, I was put to sleep and I underwent an invasive surgery called a mechanical AND a chemical pleurodesis.  The mechanical pleurodesis is done through a thoracoscopy (VATS).  This procedure was done by cutting an incision in my back to fit a camera through to see into my chest wall and lung.  There were no obvious pulmonary lacerations but there was a leak somewhere.  Then, a bovi scratch was fed thru my throat and was used to scratch up my lung to cause inflammation to stick my lung to the chest wall, closing up any holes or tears in my lung.  After this, my surgeon sprinkled the powder form of a medicine called, doxycycline all over my lung.  This is used to prevent infections and caused me excruciating pain when I woke up.  That was the worst pain I experienced in my life.  Then, the two chest tubes I had were taken out and a third one was placed in.  After surgery I was taken to my room and have been taking medication to ease the pain. 

I've been very blessed with the best doctors, surgeons, and nurses throughout all of this.  I am very grateful for all their support and help.  The doctors and nurses tell me it's a miracle that I'm alive today and some people don't get so lucky.  For that, I'm counting my blessings that I'm able to breath, talk, eat, and move.  I'm going to continue to focus on myself and healing.  It is hard not to worry about not being able to work and pay the bills but the bills can always be paid but lives cannot be replaced.  I've lost a lot especially in these past few months but there are so many lessons in this and I'm thankful to come out stronger.  Thank you to everyone who's shown me love and support.  All your prayers mean the world to me and more.  Thank you Jesus for being my strongest supporter, encourager, and role model of my life.  Thank you for believing in me and thank you God for protecting me and loving me unconditionally.  It's time to forgive myself and him and move on.  It's time to love and care about myself.

Today is December 6, 2020 and I'm still waiting for my lung to stop leaking.  I am praying and not giving up hope although there are days it is hard.  Since being in the hospital, I haven't been able to work.  So, I'm reaching out to the community to help me pay for my bills, any medical bills, and help me get a car.  I also ask everyone to please pray for me that I will be able to get off this machine and step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air and start my life again.  My birthday is coming up December 26 and I'm so happy to make it another year!  I appreciate everyones love and prayers through this difficult time.  God bless. 

****UPDATE: A few weeks went by at the Mercy One Waterloo Hospital and I wasn't making any progress.  As the doctors and nurses were stumped they transferred me to a specialist in Mason City.  So, on December 17, I was transferred to Mercy One in Mason City.  The doctor scheduled me for surgery on December 21.  Monday rolled around and I underwent a mechanical pluerodesis done through (VATS) and a blebectomy.  They scraped up my lung to cause inflammation to expand my lung to the chest wall and they cut a small sliver of the top of my lung out where they had found a small air leak.  Then they stapled it back together.  They also put two new chest tubes in my side.  A few days rolled by, I was showing improvement so, the doctor took the first tube out.  Then on Decebmer 25, the doctor decided it was time to take out the final chest tube.  He took it out and sewed me back up.  What a wonderful Christmas present that was.  Now I'm sitting here on my birthday and the last day in the hospital, that is if all still goes well...  I'm still in pain but I'm pushing through it and healing one day at a time.  Without my problem, I wouldn't be where I am today.  I might have never quit or ended some of the toxicity in my life.  Even though it's been painful and hard, I opened my mind and heart to the possibilities.  I looked to God for help and he taught me and I decided to learn.  I learned to be thankful through the storm and to love and care about myself.  I look forward to going home soon.  Merry Christmas and thank you all again for your support and love.  God is good, all the time. 




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Alicia Snipes 
Cedar Falls, IA
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