My name is Kay Ziegler. Writing this letter is so hard for me to do, asking for help! I am a very proud person.
My husband Rick had a Bilateral (both lungs) Lung Transplant this past February, 2017. We've been married for 6 years. Our story is a fairytale, we met in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina working disaster relief. Rick is originally from Maryland and I am from Louisiana. We share the same birthday day. I believe God put us in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to assist with the disaster, also to meet and fall in love. We've had a good life together, enjoying fishing in the Bayous and Rivers in South Louisiana until January, 2015.
Rick is very loving, kind, caring person and never says No when someone calls for advice on how to fix something. He gets in his truck and goes to help out in anyway he can!
In January, 2015 Rick was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia, it was a long recovery. In January, 2016 he had pneumonia again. He couldn't get well so further testing was done. His diagnosis was COPD, Bullas (useless air sacks of all sizes in his left lung) and Mack (Mycobacterium) (a fungal infection in his right lung).
In May, 2016 Rick began using Oxygen 24/7 after a business flight returning home. He could barely breathe and wasn't sure if he could drive home from the airport. I took him to the ER, blood oxygen level was critically low. Many tests were preformed and Rick was told he will never stop using oxygen nor could he fly for his job. We saw Pulmonary Specialist, Cardiologists, and Infectious Disease Specialist. Rick lost 30 lbs., he went to Pulmonary Rehab to strengthen his body and gain weight.
In June, 2016 Rick and I went to see a Pulmonary Transplant Specialist to discuss transplant. Would Rick be considered as a transplant candidate? The Doctor said No, as of right now you would not be considered for lung transplant! Rick was told you may have 2 years to live! To even be considered you will have to complete Pulmonary Rehab and gain at least 30 lbs.
In August, 2016 our home was flooded with 2 1/2 feet of River water. I have lived in this house for 20 years never had water even close to the house much less coming into the house. This flood was called the Great Flood of 2016! We have no where's to go, all of my family were flooded also. We stay with our friends family for 4 days and came home to stay. We lost everything, we did the demo work and renovations ourselves and lived in the house during all of this time. There were no hotels, no campers and no FEMA trailers. FEMA didn't help us at all!!! My husband was on oxygen all of the time and during our interview with FEMA. The inspector said we could appeal the Rejection for Assistance! Our home was a construction zone and 4 feet of all interior walls removed, no floors just concrete slab, and make shift kitchen no lower cabinets, no appliances, no pots, no pans. Our home as of to date is still not completely renovated.
In December, 2016 we met with the Transplant Specialist. Rick gained 30 lbs. and completed 2 classes of Pulmonary Rehab. The Doctor said you will have 3 days of intense tests, consulting with all of the Doctors on the Transplant team and financial coordinator concerning insurance coverage, medicines, caregivers responsibility, housing (must live 1 block away from the hospital during recovery after discharge from the hospital up to 3 months) and education about prior to transplant and post transplant.
In February, 2017 we received a call from the Transplant Specialist's office to inform us Rick was a candidate for Lung Transplant and going onto the UNOS list. Ten days later we (as they say) "Got The Call" there were Lungs available for Rick!!!!
Rick had a bilateral lung transplantation on February 25, 2017. Rick had multiple complications which include anemia, chronic kidney disease, recurrent pleural effusions, and mycobacterium abscesses pleural infection with an intensive long term recovery. We were in the hospital 33 days, apartment 2 1/2 weeks, back to hospital for 2 1/2 weeks, home for 1 week, hospital for 5 days and home for 4 weeks as of now! Rick's recovery was and is like a roller coaster ride!
Unfortunately long term disability has not kicked in yet. Medicine is about $500 a month, not to mention hospital stays, gas, and expenses for food. Anything you donate will help, and thank you all for reading and sharing!
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