My name is Jason and I am raising money for my mother, Morgan. She suffered acute respiratory failure in May of 2017 and has struggled with major medical and financial issues ever since. While her health has stabilized, the financial cost incurred over the last year and a half has put considerable and increasing strain on her. My hope is to provide her an improved quality of life and to help her recover from the numerous setbacks she's suffered since the incident.
My mother has been disabled most of my life. She has multiple ruptured discs in her back, has had her knee replaced twice, and has severe nerve damage from an accidental electrocution. She has an intrathecal medicine pump to provide pain relief from these conditions. A number of years ago she developed laryngeal cancer from smoking (she quit immediately) and to her doctors amazement fully recovered. Many years later is still cancer free, however, as a lifelong smoker she has also developed severe COPD and now requires a high flow of oxygen 24/7.
Early morning in May of 2017 I received a phone call in Chicago from my mother's tenant George. He let me know my mother was being taken to the hospital with trouble breathing. This was cause for concern but, at this point, was "par for the course" and it did not appear to be a serious situation at the time.
As the day went on, the severity of the situation became clear to me. I bought a bus ticket and left immediately for Cleveland arriving in the middle of the night. The next morning when I arrived at the hospital she'd been transferred to the ICU and a very short time later she was unable to breathe on her own. Doctors performed an emergency tracheostomy and she was put on a respirator.
She spent the next 4-5 weeks in the ICU in near critical condition. Several times her blood pressure and pulse dropped dramatically and doctors repeatedly had conversations with me preparing me for the worst. To make the situation more complicated and dire, her intrathecal medicine pump stopped working and doctors were unwilling to give her adequate pain medication for fear it would cause her respiratory issues to get exponentially worse.
I slept in the hospital most of that time and when she was awake I kept her company. She communicated via writing that was nearly impossible to read but we managed. Despite all that was happening to her and the pain she was in, she maintained good spirits and joked around a lot.
Yes... she's pretending it's a penis.
Against all expectations of her doctors, she slowly recovered. She was transferred to the ICU of a rehab facility to wean her off the respirator, which took another month. Again, she beat the odds and regained her ability to breathe on her own. She was transferred to yet another hospital, this time for physical and speech therapy to continue strengthening her lungs and throat muscles to prevent aspiration.
For the first 6-9 months after she was released she had numerous complications and relapses but I'm happy and proud to say that she has been stable and out of the hospital for the better part of the last year. In the process of all this I quit my job in Chicago, broke the lease on my first apartment by myself after two months, and moved to Cleveland to be her caregiver.
Which brings us to today.
ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL ISSUES
On top of the medical issues she now manages every day, she struggles with major financial issues as well. Before she was hospitalized, she was in a very bad situation financially. It was a few months into her hospitalization before I fully took over and saw the extent of what she was facing.
Including new financial strains since she was released from the hospital she has dealt or is dealing with:
- supporting me as a full-time caregiver;
- a tax lien on her property;
- being sued for a credit card in her name from an identity theft (resolved);
- an unexpected IRS bill for $40,000 (current);
- her car being repossessed three times for inability to pay; and
- her fixed income from Social Security Disability not covering her monthly expenses.
In total, we have had to pull around $20,000 from the annuity she opened with the life insurance from my father's passing just to scrape by and even that wasn't enough to stop our car from being finally and fully repossessed. We are not even close to being able to return that money and restore her security and still need to pull more from it at least every month.
My goal is to improve her quality of living as well as jump start her financial recovery so she is able to sustain herself with support. I also want the opportunity to at least partially return to my life and career. If I were able to return to work it would dramatically improve our financial situation and allow me to afford the assistance needed to care for and support my mother. Based on our current situation that is impossible. I am unable to help my family on my own. I need help.
The goal amount for this GoFundMe won't cover everything that needs to be taken care of to return her to "normal" but it covers the most important things. Money from this campaign will be applied to the following expenses:
- Monitoring Service (~$300 for 6 months): While my mother is stable, the relapses she has experienced have been sudden and severe. I do not feel comfortable working 8-10 hours a day where she is on her own. This is the bare minimum I need to go back to work.
- New Bed (~$700): She currently sleeps on an air mattress on top of a hospital bed frame. With her back issues and breathing a better bed would dramatically improve her health.
- Electrical Work (~$500): More than half the outlets on the first floor of her home do not work, several of which failed in the last year. She is on 6L of oxygen 24/7 with an in home oxygen concentrator. She cannot live without the concentrator and I am afraid cascading electrical issues will leave her suddenly without it.
- Portable Oxygen Concentrator (~$3,000): She is able to leave the house for chores and recreation but must take oxygen with her. The oxygen tanks she has are very heavy and cumbersome. Because she needs a high volume of oxygen, just to go to the grocery store and a diner afterward we need to take three tanks. Unfortunately, Medicare and her insurance won't cover a portable oxygen concentrator. This would allow her the ability to freely leave the house and do things on her own like shopping, socializing, or going to church.
- Tax Lien Payoff (~$1,350): She has paid off the majority of the lien, however, it remains a massive weight on her shoulders to know that she could lose her home. Not having this hanging over her head would provide her immense emotional relief.
Total Cost = ~$5,850
This cost does not include the eventual costs of monitoring, in home assistance with day-to-day care, or house and yard maintenance she is unable to do herself.
CALL TO ACTION
It breaks my heart that I am unable to support and provide for my mother the way she and my late father have for me. It has been so long since either my mother or I have felt close to being able to live a normal life. There isn't a day where I don't wake up praying for a miracle.
I am unable to do this on my own. I need help.
Anything you can give will help get us one step closer to normal. If you are unable to give, I ask that you please pass this along to someone else who might be able to spare something.
I will update the campaign as new information comes up and share documentation of the distribution of all funds raised.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share this.
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