Pennies and Prayers for Nico

Hello everyone, thank you for taking time and reading his long story and struggle. After reading this we ask if you can help him, we appreciate anything you can donate. If you can’t help we understand, all we ask is to please say a prayer for Nico and to please forward it to others that can send pennies or a prayer on his behalf. This is about Nicolas Carrasco Villalobos Mendez. His friends and family, better know him as Nico. He is like any other kid his age, even though he is 25 and technically a man he is a big kid at heart. Thru a close family friend he found a job as an apprentice, as a union iron worker local 63. He is the oldest and has 3 little sisters and 1 little brother. They love to torment him but like a big kid Nico loves to pick on them as well. As the holidays arrived we spent them with family. On Christmas Eve we were at his grandpas house and as the picture shown above he looked perfectly fine. Christmas arrived and like every Christmas morning he woke up to open gifts with his brother and sisters that Santa had dropped off. After the gifts he felt sick. So we told him to rest and maybe he was getting the flu. He slept all day and he did not really leave the bed until the 26th. He quickly started to lose strength and could barely stand. He was rushed to a local hospital. While he was there In the emergency room they did a CT scan and a spinal tap, finding out he had 7 abscesses in his brain and meningitis. He was quickly transported to Rush hospital in Chicago. Within a couple of hours he was becoming disoriented and loosing speech. They were quickly working on him knowing that every second counted. When we received the results it was a devastating blow to our hearts. The doctors told us when they were attempting to stabilize him when he arrived, he had a stroke on his spine that paralyzed his entire body. They also told us that we would probably have to say our goodbyes because he will not make it passed January 2nd. The meningitis and the abscesses were consuming his brain to the point they drilled a hole into his skull to feed antibiotics directly to his brain instead of thru an IV. Nico finally regained consciousness and was unable to breath on his own or talk. Every minute that passed we prayed that his condition will improve and get stabled to the point we don’t lose him. Our prayers were answered. They were able to save our Nico. He was still not out of the woods just yet, but at least he was alive to fight for another day. This is where his journey begins to recovery. He was sent to RML in Hinsdale, his first long term rehab center. Here they were working on his lung rehabilitation while he was on antibiotics for the bacteria in his brain and the abscesses. So now his doctors main focus was to get him to talk or to wean him off the respirator. After a month they gave us the news that he will probably live like this for the rest of his life. While he was at the rehab center Nico was starting to lose all hope & we are trying to keep Nico’s spirit up. Every time they give us good news somehow a day later they give us bad news. Every time he gets sick he loses more and more weight. He started at 155lbs and at this point he weighed 119lbs. We keep telling him to stay positive and he will get better, it will just take time. I know his path and journey almost seems repetitive but this is the long struggle he has been going thru since December. Their goal was to get him into Shirley Ryan formally known as RIC. Here he would be able to have aggressive therapy perhaps move one day. We waited for the responses of the insurance company. They denied him and refused to cover his treatment. We were heartbroken. The doctors from the facility were eager to work with Nico. After reading his file and his horrible journey both doctors from RML and Shirley Ryan knew Nico had a great chance at recovering at the rehab center. So the 4 doctors from both facilities had a conference call with the insurance company on Nico’s behalf to convince them that he was a good candidate of recovery.They knew with the proper therapy he will be able to move again in time. The next day he was approved by the insurance company. They said they never had 4 doctors talk on a patients behalf before. He has been at Shirley Ryan for 2 weeks now. He is exhausted after all the intense therapy they have him doing. But he is happy and alive. The only thing with this rehab center is that it’s a short stay. He will be trying to improve everyday that he is there, until he is released. Great news is that he will finally be coming home to his family. This is why we need your help. He will need equipment to help move him around from the bed to the shower. Special seat to hold him up in the shower. Everything now has to be modified for someone who is paralyzed. A lift to get him from the bed into a wheel chair. To his respirator with backup batteries. A special wheelchair that he will need to help him get around. A ramp at every entrance. This was a long struggle for Nicolas and the family but we are so happy that he can finally come home. Since being at Shirley Ryan he finally moved his arm and waved goodbye to us for the first time since December. He told us goodbye when we left the hospital room the other day and we are just blessed we didn’t have to say goodbye to him.
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Francisco Mendez
Dyer, IN

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