If you know him, you may or may not also know that we had a sudden and close call with the reaper last fall.
Rob slept terrible, and woke up to vomiting. We thought it might be the flu, because Rob works from home and we're so careful about wearing masks and how we leave the house. I went to work that day, and we texted regularly, all the while not knowing that his life was starting to slip away and that I would be calling an ambulance that night. The vomiting never stopped and got progressively worse as the day went on, and I came home to a very weak husband, who had vomited so much blood he could hardly walk. I dialed 911 immediately.
That night was a rollercoaster of tests, blood draws, and more tests. He was admitted for a GI bleed. Due to Covid rules, I was not permitted to stay with him, and he started to lose lucidity as the ammonia levels in his body rose. That evening was the last time he was with me for three days and he was admitted to the PCU transitory unit until an ICU bed opened. He had several blood transfusions, and doctors were not very hopeful. Rob is a fighter, however, and gradually came around and recovered enough to know who I was, but not before I was informed there was a significant chance that he would not pull through. Fortunately, the treatment worked, and he stabilized enough to walk, and then eat, and then come home.
All is not perfect, however, and things are not the same as before. The tests revealed that things are more dire for Dire51 than we expected. His liver is seriously damaged and is not functioning well. His bloodloss has been halted, but his hemoglobin counts are not recovering despite several iron infusions. There has been some mention of possible bone marrow problems. He has kidney damage, and the high ammonia levels in his blood have caused some mild trouble with short term memory.
All that we could take in stride, because life is life, and we are fortunate to have him with us still, but because he has so many doctor visits that are frequently longer than anticipated, and due to the hospitalization he has missed over a week of work, his employer has decided to move him back to what they call "part time" - roughly 30 hours a week instead of 40 - thereby removing his health insurance just when we need it the most. We were told that we would be receiving an option for Cobra, so we could maintain insurance that way, however the insurance plan is discontinued/no longer functional and to date we have received nothing about Cobra from his employer, despite asking.
Rob is applying for disability, as working, even from home, exhausts his energy. We're crossing fingers that his application is not denied.
Rob's current medical bills are right around $8000 so far, and mounting. Rob has further appointments with the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville for additional testing and hopefully to be approved for placement on the transplant list. Funds donated will be used for medical expenses, prescriptions, and transportation to appointments. We are down to one, very well used vehicle that already needs about $1000 of work for shocks and new engine mounts. The right front wheel has also started a grinding noise and we're worried it may be the bearings. If there is enough, we will repair the car as well.
If you don't want to, or can't afford to donate, please consider sharing this fundraiser. Or, buy a copy of his book "Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman". The book is available on Amazon, but if you buy your copy on Lulu, Rob will get a larger portion of the proceeds.
Lulu link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/rob-strangman/memoirs-of-a-virtual-caveman/paperback/product-1pe4d7ve.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Both Rob and I thank you for anything you can do, and we sincerely appreciate your kindness and friendship, regardless.
- Christopher Braunle
- James Beaver
- Marty Keating
- Kurt Kalata
- Bryan Rooke Rooke
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