I’ve set up this GoFundMe for my dearest friend, Jammie Dill-Pickel and her wonderful husband, Mark Pickel. Many of you know that Mark remains an inpatient at Vanderbilt Hospital following his heart and kidney transplant which was performed on August 7th, (with his initial discharge home on August 18th, 2017) and readmission August 31st with a pulmonary embolism and necrotizing hemorrhagic pancreatitis. They had an especially difficult couple of years medically even excluding Mark’s most recent hospitalization. Jammie, almost lost JT at 29 weeks pregnant, while Mark was having a heart attack. This year, Jammie, had to have neck/spinal surgery, while their son JT has had strep throat more than several times (and so did her sweet Mother!). Between Mark’s multiple hospitalizations with critical illnesses, her surgery and caring for their child, Jammie has used up all of her Paid Time Off and Extended Illness Bank hours, as well as all of her Family Medical Leave days. Fortunately, she’s been blessed with strong support from her loving, supportive family, friends and church. What she has encountered though, is nonstop driving from their home in Polk County, TN to her work in Chattanooga, TN, to Nashville, TN multiple times every week. She has been torn emotionally having to choose between being a physically present mommy for JT (and BonusMommy to Mark’s daughter, Chloe, who Jammie loves dearly as well) and being a physically present wife for Mark, all while trying to work full time in a highly stressful career as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, pay their bills, take care of their children, their home and attend church (even if it’s only possible via FaceTime sometimes). The possibility of a significant change in Mark’s medical condition at any time, without her at his bedside, is a very real and upsetting concern for Jammie. I can’t begin to adequately express all that Jammie, Mark and their children have dealt with in 2017 and all of 2018. But suffice it to say, it has been more than enough to bring even the toughest to their knees and make the strongest lose faith. But they hold strong and steady in their Love and Faith. What I can share with you is this...since his readmission to Vanderbilt Hospital more than 120 days ago...
Mark has missed J.T.’s 2nd Birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years... 120 days is a significant portion of JT’s toddler life and half a school-year for Chloe...and a lot of memories they have been unable to make together as a family.
Mark has experienced multiple blood clots, necrotizing hemorrhagic pancreatitis, on blood thinners/off blood thinners, sepsis, multiple feeding tube placements/replacements, wound drains placed/removed/replaced, multiple central line placements/replacements, vasopressors on and vasopressors off, anti-rejection medications, intubations/extubations, multiple biopsies, blood cultures, fevers, seriously significant pain, nausea and vomiting, blood counts that were scary (high and low), multiple antibiotics started/stopped, multiple CT scans with IV contrast (that can harm his new kidney), multiple transfers into and out of ICU, lab draws, sleep deprivation (because who is able to sleep in a hospital??) and countless numbers of doctors, nurses and patient care techs in/out of his room. Family and friends stay with him when their own jobs, lives and schedules permit, but even with that he has had to stay alone more than anyone would like.
Jammie has to cover the costs of day to day life for a family, running a household, upkeep of their home and utilities, insurance, maintenance and gas for her vehicle to take JT to her parents, go to and from work in Chattanooga, drive to Nashville, and back home to Polk County. Feeding herself, and the children if they’re able to go see their Daddy, is expensive...regardless of whether it is hospital food or food outside of the hospital. Lastly, the hospital bills...insurance covers a very small, limited amount. Example, Mark’s condition was so critical, he had to be flown from one hospital to another. Insurance paid about $6,000...out of a bill for more than $55,000. The total hospital bills will be well beyond $750,000 given the number of specialist doctors, as well as the length, complexity and critical nature of this single admission...it is still unclear how much of this will exceed insurance coverage.
My goal...I want my dear, sweet friend—who has gone so far out of her way to help so many people!—to know that she won’t have to worry about whether or not she can take their children to see their father, feed them while they’re there, take care of the cost of living and incidentals for her family and help them make ends meet during this time of sustained crisis. Jammie should not have to stress about possibly losing the only home JT has truly known due to overwhelmingly excessive medical bills. Their family is a loving, kind family who does so many good things for others. Right now, they need, and truly deserve, to receive goodness and help from others. Any donations made will be accessible to Jammie only. Thank you!❤️
*The most recent update on Mark from Jammie’s Facebook:
Things have again taken a negative turn for Mark. For over a week, since he caught the flu, he's had a rattling cough that he's had trouble clearing. When I saw him yesterday, he looked very weak & his face & eyes were very puffy. He said he was feeling rough but that he was ok. He got into a little trouble overnight & they started NT suctioning him (going down his nose-throat to get some junk out) which was very uncomfortable for him. This morning, the NP & doctor said he was swollen all over & gave him lasix to try to get some fluid off & hopefully help with his breathing. It just got worse throughout the day & he became more somnolent. For all these reasons & to hopefully avoid him decompensating, they moved him to the ICU tonight. Because of the ice & snow yesterday & continued freezing weather & bad road conditions today, he and his team advised me to stay home this weekend...so I wasn't even able to be there for him during this time, only via FaceTime last night & phone calls today. This is heartbreaking & I feel like the worst, most HORRIBLE wife EVER!!! Please pray extra prayers for him tonight that they will get to the bottom of all of this & get him headed in the right direction!!! We need a touch from above!!!