We took Gabriel to get tests and meet his neurosurgeon on 12/23/14, and the doctor has now given us fantastic news: Gabriel’s neurological episodes are due to a well-understood side-effect of his spinal cord damage, which is easily treatable with surgery! The doctor gives the surgery a very high chance of success, and also has very low risks, which is so much better than we were expecting! Gabriel is scheduled for surgery on 1/28/15, and for extensive pre-op tests on 1/20/15, and unfortunately he will probably also need more cardiology tests on 1/21/15.
The staff of City of Hope Hospital has already made truly incredible special arrangements to accommodate Gabriel’s unique circumstances, and they are continuing to bend over backwards to make everything as easy on him as possible. We are eternally grateful to them, and cannot recommend them highly enough!
The only problem we have now is that we are very short of funds. We need about $650 for the remaining 3 ambulance rides needed to get Gabriel to pre-op tests and surgery, but we also need $52 per day ($1,586/month) for the extra nursing care he will need after being discharged following the surgery, ideally for 6-9 months, but for 2-3 months at least. He needs lots of extra care because his ordeal of having these neurological episodes for years has left him weighing only a skeleton-like 110 lbs, instead of a healthy 155, and the nursing care covered by his insurance is very inadequate until he gets a lot stronger.
Your help is urgently needed, please donate whatever you can, and Like and Share this with your friends and family! Thank you so very much for helping Gabriel get out of the suffering he’s been in for years!
Here is an interview with a staff member from one of the facilities Gabriel lived in, talking about him, and the effect he had on other patients and staff where he lived: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-wnkyyDKYk
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My younger brother Gabriel was shot in the neck while playing in our front yard when he was 14 years old, an innocent victim of a violent crime, and became a quadriplegic. Within just a few weeks, he had faced being paralyzed for life, and soon was back to his usual joking self. For nearly 15 years, he’s been confined to hospitals and medical facilities almost constantly, because of a rare and severe neurological condition that started developing a few years later as a result of his injury. For all these years of hospitalization, Gabriel has had a really positive attitude, and was always talking with everyone. But for two years now he can’t move, or even talk, while sitting up in his wheelchair, without triggering episodes of pain, heart problems, and dangerous blood pressure swings, that can go on for hours. So he spends all day in silence, just trying to hold still.
Although rare, Gabriel's condition is treatable, and over the last 6 years, 3 different doctors wanted to operate on him, but there were authorization problems -- which have finally been solved now that he is in a different medical facility! We have also found a very well-recommended neurosurgeon at City of Hope Hospital who wants to operate on Gabriel, which would be the most incredible Christmas gift of all!
Because of his unusual and severe condition, Gabriel can’t travel except by ambulance, which is not covered by his insurance for going to see the surgeon or getting scans, nor will it cover some of the medical equipment he needs. All money donated will be put into a Special Needs Trust, and used for medical bills, ambulance transport, assistive devices, and nursing; ¾ of the funds are for extra nursing care, for his long rehabilitation after he leaves the hospital, because the covered nursing services are seriously inadequate for quadriplegics. We need about a third of the funds by the time of his surgery, which is expected to be soon after Christmas, but might be before (fingers crossed).
Please donate whatever you can, and Share this with your friends and family. Thank you so very much for your help, and God bless you!
Gabriel is a really kind person, and has many friends both in and out of the hospitals, and has been an inspiration to many people. Some of the medical staff who worked with him in the past are still his good friends, and talk to him several times a week, even years after he left their facility. During his years of hospitalization, until the last two, Gabriel has been very energetic, constantly trying to improve himself and his situation. He spent countless hours over many years, trying to get the surgery he needed, seeing many different doctors, but was blocked by the authorization problems. He also got access to a t-shirt printing machine, and tried to start his own business, but couldn’t get enough reliable help outside the hospital. He wants so much to go to college, and make something of his life; before his neurological problems started, his family lived outside the range of any handicapped transport service, so he was never able to attend college.
Gabriel has said of his situation:
"Life is an extremely peculiar phenomenon that God puts forth in front of us. Thank the Lord for my faith, and the strength that I have, it has been twenty three years of being a quadriplegic. A normal quadriplegic would be living his life in the community, productive with his abilities, but for some strange and unfortunate reason, I had to have one of the most rare and unique spinal cord injury conditions that exists in this medical field. I need to regain my life. My friends and family are waiting for me. I want to accomplish my dreams, and be a useful member of society."
More details about the medical situation are below. (An old friend of Gabriel's set up this page, and wrote most of the text for us.)
His neurological condition is an extreme, hyper-sensitive form of autonomic dysreflexia, and even minor movements cause dangerously high and alternating low blood pressure, heart atrial fibrillation, intense electric-shock-like sensations, and other symptoms. The gunshot left him a "partial quadriplegic," with completely paralyzed hands but some limited arm movement. Nowadays, even just moving his hands a few inches, or talking above a slight whisper when he’s sitting up, can trigger hours of episodes, so he can’t even feed himself or type. Years ago, he was pushing himself around in a manual wheelchair, and high-fiving his friends! Now he can’t even go over the slightest bump in his electric wheelchair, and can barely move his right hand enough to control it, without triggering episodes.
Unfortunately, just staying in bed all the time quickly causes many serious medical problems for quadriplegics, and Gabriel is very healthy except for his neurological episodes, and he wants to stay that way, so he gets up almost every day, even though it’s very difficult. If he could just hold completely still all day it might be tolerable, but he has to move around every half hour, to prevent him from getting life-threatening pressure sores (which is what killed Christopher Reeve).
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