My name is Mark Ledbetter. I’ve spent the majority of my life living in North Carolina. For the past 11 years, I have been living abroad mostly in the Philippines. My wife (Teri) and I have been together for 5 years now and have a wonderful 4yo daughter named Bonnie.
Several back to back medical events have totally devastated our family and consumed all of my savings. It started in late June when my daughter got infected with amoeba. She had a very high fever and became dehydrated. This required her to be hospitalized.
Due to the Covid-19 craziness, the hospitals here require a Covid test prior to being admitted. Teri and Bonnie were put in isolation for 24 hours waiting for the test results. Bonnie was falsely diagnosed as positive for Covid-19. Both her mother and I tested negative. How is that possible? Bonnie never showed any signs of Covid except for the fever which was caused by the amoeba.
This label of being a Covid patient meant that Bonnie and Teri had to be in quarantine while in the hospital. It also created enormous extra Covid related charges on our bill which more than doubled what would be normal. This one medical event wiped out most of my savings.
The Covid positive case was reported to the local government. When we returned home on July 1, we were forced into another 14 days of quarantine. This stopped my work online since I was working at an alternate location. It also stopped Teri’s work as well, but she only makes $6 DAILY, not hourly which is average pay here.
Our apartment lease was ending on July 15 and we had already arranged to move to a new apartment. The cost of first month rent, deposit and moving expenses consumed the rest of my savings. I was looking forward to a better internet connection at our new place and getting back to work.
As we were getting settled in our new place, both Teri and I got sick with acute Sinusitis by the second day. My symptoms prevented me from working for the next 2 weeks since my work is primarily on the phone. As my Sinusitis started to subside, I began to experience severe pain in my head, neck and legs. I had experienced some major pain before with several large kidney stones, but this pain made those episodes seem like nothing. I was taking strong painkillers every 6 hours just to endure this horrible experience.
My sleep was reduced to only 1 or 2 hours per night. I had no appetite and was losing weight very quickly. My legs were in the most severe pain. It felt like something was literally eating my flesh. My leg muscles were disappearing rapidly and getting weaker each day. Climbing the stairs to my bed became impossible after only 5 days. Within 10 days I could not walk at all.
I started to lose hope and fear that I was going to die. My precious little 4yo daughter was going to have to grow up without her daddy, plus there would be no way that Teri could support her and Bonnie on $6 a day. I knew I needed to be in the hospital, but we had no money left. Hospitals here in the Philippines require a deposit of about $300 before they will admit you and treat you. You are also required to pay your bill in full prior to checkout.
At this point my sister (Anne Wade) and Teri started this GoFundMe so I could get the medical attention I so desperately needed. Financial help started coming in from family and friends. I’m eternally grateful for all the caring donors so far.
I was hospitalized for 3 days while numerous lab tests were done and 2 MRI’s. Doctors were totally mystified and unable to come to any clear diagnosis. Our money ran out. I was forced to return home with continued severe pain and further muscle atrophy in all parts of my body. To date, I have lost about 30 lbs. Most of that occurred in about 2 weeks.
After returning home, I began to show signs of a kidney infection. The evidence was actually in the blood tests, urine tests and ultrasound while in the hospital, but doctors failed to read it in the lab reports. It also went untreated until just a few days ago.
As of today, I have been unable to work for 3 months now. I still have many pains throughout my body, dizziness, difficulty sitting, standing or walking more than a few steps, swelling in my feet and very weak muscles. Things seem to have stabilized somewhat. The pains have reduced some, but pain medication is still needed.
I really need to go back to the US as soon as possible for better medical treatment before it is too late. But it is impossible for me to travel halfway around the world with 20+ hours of flying time and multiple flight changes in my present physical condition. At this point, I need to get some physical therapy and regain some muscle strength to endure such a strenuous travel challenge. My time estimate for this is 6 - 8 weeks.
Between the hospitals, medicines, doctor visits and transportation, we have spent $3,135 out of pocket so far. More help is desperately needed. We are in danger of having our utilities cut off for nonpayment any day now and in a few days, my family will have no food to eat. I have always been a hard working, “do it myself”, “stand on my own” kind of guy. I was raised that way, so it is shameful for me to ask for help like this.
Any amount is helpful, plus sharing the GoFundMe link with your network. I can feed my whole family 3 meals a day for just $8 per day. A donation of $25 will buy my medications for a week. $35 will cover a physical therapy session and transportation. No amount is too small. With your compassion and generosity, you will ensure that Bonnie will have her daddy for many more years to come.
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