Linsey was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Bayfront Hospital suddenly suffering from Acute Kidney Failure on June 18th just a month and a half before our wedding date and just two weeks after we moved to the St. Petersburg area to start her new job as an RN in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Bayfront.
We need assistance paying her medical bills that are mounding despite insurance and her depleted savings account. She is also waiting for a type 0 kidney donor and unfortunately I can not give her that.
After being evaluated by several specialists and going through extensive testing over 16 days in the ICU, Linsey was diagnosed with Atypical-Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, one of only 200,000 people in the world with this rare autoimmune genetic blood disease. Although this news was terrifying, she was relieved to finally have a diagnosis after a lifetime of being bounced between specialist after specialist without any diagnosis and a lifetime of swelling with unknown cause, being terrified to eat normally due to the massive edema that came with every meal and the need to take the water pill Lasix to remove the excess fluid that would cause continuous electrolyte imbalances. She was sick for so long and never knew what was wrong… she says now dialysis has come as a relief. She suffers from extreme anxiety and panic attacks constantly terrified that she will swell up again and not be able to breath.
Linsey had many thoughts of canceling our wedding that was planned about a year ago, but Linsey explained to me that that she couldn’t cancel because this may be the only chance to wear her beautiful gown and marry the man she loves most in this world. Her thoughts were that she may not live long enough if she doesn’t do it now. The doctors worked diligently and got her to our wedding day and I am now married to my best friend. Unfortunately, we waited half of our lives to meet each other and have children…but with her diagnosis sadly, our small family will always consist of just our 3 cats as we can no longer have children.
Linsey would tell you that the hardest part of this is that she has spent so much of her life working and going to school which didn’t come easy for her, but she did it and did it well. Now she can’t support herself, her family, or take care of her cats and some days she can barely get up to let her cats onto the sunporch with her.
Linsey has been an ICU nurse for 8 years and it extremely scary being on the other side of it. She says “I am supposed to be taking care of people not the other way around. I was good at taking care of people.” She loved being a bedside nurse and worked so hard to become one. You might think the hardest day for her was having the multiple dialysis catheters placed, or having a tube shoved in her belly , or the 16 days in the ICU, or learning how to run the Peritoneal Dialysis machine at home that would keep her chained to her bed every night for 9 hours. NO. The hardest day was watching her sit at dialysis in tears trying to study for her master’s program and watching her not be able to because she was so weak and sick. For Linsey having to drop out of school was the worst of it all. It was like watching the humanity squeezed out of her. She knew she would no longer be an ICU nurse anymore.
Today she was sitting at her transplant orientation looking at an older gentleman with bags under his eyes going through the same process as her and she had tears wanting desperately to go help him. Linsey will always be a caretaker even on her worst days always worrying about everyone else.
She wanted so badly to make her parents proud and now she feels guilty for every penny she has to ask for.
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