BRUSH with DEATH: After breakfast, December 23, 2020, Anne projectile vomited 3 times. Something“snapped.” She experienced agonizing pain, not relieved later at the E/R by even the most powerful drugs. Rushed to Christus Hospital in Santa Fe, she learned her esophagus had ruptured. She was septic. Without surgery, she would die.
Due to COVID staff shortages, Christus declined the surgery. As hours slipped by, seven other hospitals declined. Finally, Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs said “yes.” Anne was flown there by ambulance jet. At 8pm, a four hour surgery saved her life.
Anne spent a week at Memorial. Her back and ribs, spasmed from vomiting and displaced during surgery, exacerbated the scoliosis she’d had since a teen. Sitting and walking were excruciating. So, until Anne could travel, John got a VRBO rental, and the pair spent the next 7 weeks with Anne doing chiropractor visits, follow-ups, and diagnostic tests. Turns out a condition called gastroparesis (slowing of the stomach) caused the vomiting. Gastroparesis can accompany auto-immune issues - Anne got Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1986.
TWO YEARS OF STRESS: (This is a summary. Extra details, click HERE .) In Spring, 2019, John was enjoying a banner year at the place he'd worked for 20 years. He got a sizable bonus and raise. Then at the end of April, daughter Elizabeth had a medical crisis. John took time off to care for her. Then, on May 1st, he was suddenly terminated. Meanwhile...Only out-of-plan care was available in California for Elizabeth's problem. The insurance company agreed to cover its share, but reneged after care had begun, forcing the Dohertys to pay $120,000. Both the job loss and the insurance matter quickly went into litigation, adding to the Dohertys' emotional stress.
To cut expenses, the couple fled SF, CA for cheaper SF, NM, forcing Anne to close her tutoring and theatre businesses. John’s job loss came 5 years before retirement - messing with their retirement planning, forcing them onto social security, and requiring them to purchase health insurance until they get on Medicare in 2023/4. Although both suits settled, because of the way they settled, the Dohertys owe 50,000 in taxes, eliminating much gain and placing their savings still short of April 2019.
TODAY : While it’s amazing Anne’s life was saved, now the couple is faced with debt. $4,011 for the AirBnB. $1,224 for the John’s hotel room while Anne was hospitalized. The chiropractor, E/R visits, and more. To date, the biggest expense is $17,000 for insurance in Colorado.
Why do they need that? In short, maintaining insurance in two states cost $35, 000 for one year, but paying it avoided a financial catastrophe. Their previous health insurance - New Mexico Health Connections (NMHC) - went out of business 12/31/20, one day after Anne was released from Memorial. Despite buying new insurance with True Health New Mexico months before, the Dohertys had received no proof of insurance by surgery time. In fact, they were only issued an ID number on 01/15/21 - two weeks after Anne left the hospital and after coverage began on 01/01/21. Plus with Anne unable to travel, she needed doctors in Colorado. The now defunct NMHC would allegedly cover 2020’s emergency out of state surgery since attempts had been made to provide it instate; but it was unclear if True Health would cover 2021’s non-emergency out of state followups. So, to avoid financial crisis - and bankruptcy if Anne had major complications, John purchased Anthem Blue Cross in Colorado - a wise move, because Anne had minor complications, forcing an E/R visit and tests.
The Dohertys’ goal is to get back to where they were when all this started. In December, things were finally looking up again. They were making friends in Santa Fe. Anne, who has long enjoyed an interest in natural healing, had just graduated from a prestigious hypnotherapy school and was marketing herself as a hypnotherapist. In fact, she became so good at self-hypnosis that her surgeon didn’t believe she'd ruptured her esophagus. She was that calm and focused in the face of agonizing pain and death. She continues self-hypnosis to speed her healing and keep her attitude upbeat. Imagine, once she's well, the benefits and healing she can pass on to future clients.
Other ways to help other than GoFundMe? Send a check to Anne at 6 Palacio Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87508; offer services in lieu of cash; hire or refer her as a hypnotherapist. Here’s her website: http://www.restorehypnotherapy.com
Meanwhile, Anne and John express their most profound thanks for your empathy, kindness and financial support. It’s uplifting to have so many caring friends. #RecoveryAnne
For a complete list of expenses of updated bills and EOBs), click HERE .
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