Medical Expenses After the Accident

On March 16th, at around 5 PM, my whole world was flipped upside down. In a matter of seconds, I was in the worst pain I have ever experienced personally. Unfortunately, that Friday evening I was in a car accident that resulted in multiple broken bones and a long journey of recovery ahead of me. 

Currently, I am attending The University of Texas at Austin as a third year Health and Society major - pursuing a medical degree in the Optometry field. In my spare time, I work a part time job in order to fund my expenses and pay for my living and miscellaneous expenses. Based on necessity and not wanting to place worry and stress on loved ones, I've always tried my hardest to do my part in taking care of myself and contributing what I can towards my own needs.

My mother has been a single parent since 2009, grieving the loss of my father when he passed due to Small Cell Cancer - leaving her behind to raise me where he left off. To this date, my mother has been a warrior on another level, doing the most possible to send me to school, administer her household needs, and overcome her own health conditions. She herself has battled chronic illness such as Diabetes, HPT, Arthritis, and encountered her own broken bones, having a hip replacement and recovering with the strength of a million armies just to keep raising and supporting me in my endeavors. Her most recent battle shook us as a family. Being diagnosed with cancer is something I do not wish upon anyone. One parent losing the battle is enough. Then, to have the remaining parent diagnosed as well is soul crushing. We fought together, burdened by her own medical expenses. Thankfully, after many applications, she became eligible for Medicare and financial assistance based off of our household need. Months later and with one less lung, my mom is in remission and is recovering from her own journey. She is my hero, but sadly this time, she is unable to provide - as I write this I am in tears. 

In mid - February, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A household incident occurred, and resulted in a concussion that set me back in my studies, my employment, and my contribution at home for my mother. I was hindered to bed rest and instead of caring for her, she was forced to care for me until I recovered full understanding both physically and mentally.  After much hard work, I returned to school to worked hard to recompense for the time I was gone. At worked I picked up extra shifts to try and make ends meet for the month. And then, this happened. I am put on unpaid leave from my job, forced to withdrawal from my dream school per undefined amount of time, and I lost the vehicle my mother worked so hard to gift me back in November of 2016. 

Now, after being evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon, a surgery is needed in order to start the healing process and regain movement in my left arm. My leg is still in evaluation, due to swelling being too severe to determine whether surgery or cast healing is necessary.  Now this is where my story meets an unexpected pause. Because I am uninsured, the discounted baseline cost for the uninsured procedure is $4,500 upfront. The remaining costs and expenses are to be determined after surgery (anesthesia, room and board, medical extras). To this date, my mother has paid $500+ out of pocket in expenses just to get me seen as an office visit. These injuries of mine are truly digging a deep hole in her savings, and it breaks my heart for every dollar she's spending on me.  It needs to be taken into account that this is just the first procedure for my arm. My leg may be in need of surgery as well later when examined properly, which is why I'm placing my goal a little higher than what I'm being asked to pay in the next few days. 

To be honest, my family doesn't have that kind of money at hand, and I could only wish to be able to provide for myself but I physically can't. Until I raise the minimum amount ($4500), my wounds can not be addressed in an operating room. Managing the pain with oral medication is only meant to be temporary, but everyday that I can't be seen by the specialized physician due to financial reasons, is a day that I have to maintain myself in moderate pain through oral intake of medicines that quite frankly will tax my kidneys in the long run.

My heart aches, my anxiety rises, and I have no other option but to reach out to anyone willing to lend a helping hand. Even if a monetary donation can not be made, a simple share on social media is appreciated in order to get my story out there. I've been faced with such hard situations, I sometimes feel there's no way I'll ever meet my goals or live my dreams.  It feels like I'm barely making ends meet. But time after time, the provision of others and He who is good has sheltered me on the highest of mountains and lowest of valleys. To those who stuck out until the end of my story, I appreciate the time you dedicated. To those praying, wishing me well, and sending their thoughts, I am thankful. In good, and in bad, I am thankful. I don't understand at all the story that's being written for me - but as my new motto says "Life is tough, but so am I". 

hook 'em horns, god bless, and anything helps,
Esmeralda Zapata

"my God will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory"
Philippians 4:19


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Esmeralda Zapata 
Caldwell, TX
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