Medical Expenses

Hey everyone,

As most, if not all of you know, I’ve been a 911 Dispatcher for Missoula County in Montana for almost a year and a half. My fiancée, Tyler is a Wildlands Firefighter and only passed his testing and certifications a few months ago. He passed with flying colors, time to spare and even went back when he was finished with his pack test to help his fellow teammates be able to make their time and get certified as well. He has been so excited to go out and help get these fires down that everyone has been battling. We met almost 2 and half years ago and immediately knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and began to plan our future and moved to Montana to live the life of our dreams.

On September 1, 2017, Tyler proposed, without hesitation I accepted and we began to plan our wedding. We chose to have our wedding at his Grandparents home in California so that all of our closest friends and family could be present. We’ve been saving to get our own plot of land in Montana so we can build a home and have our animals and little farm plot to become as self sustaining as possible. We were living the dream and everything was falling into place so that we could have everything we’d hoped for in our life together.

Now to bring you to what’s currently happening. Tyler had been getting ready to head out on a fire and was set to go, but on August 23, I noticed that there was a strange rash on  his legs and feet and the whites of his eyes looked yellow. He felt completely fine and insisted there was nothing wrong, so we held off for a day or so to see if he got better. He didn’t get better and on the third day, he had blood blisters that formed in his mouth (see picture). We knew he needed to go see a doctor, so we went to the clinic. They gave him a once over and determined that he needed a little more help than they could provide, so we were sent to the emergency room. Once we got into a room there, the staff began examining him and drawing blood for labs and a ton of tests. They asked a ton of questions, trying to rule out possible diagnosis one by one.

They determined that his platelet count was “below 5” which essentially means that they aren’t able to read a level and that his liver screen showed his level to be extremely elevated. Doctors came to the conclusion that his platelet count was dangerously low, they were concerned about spontaneous bleeding and had even told us than any fall, nick, bump or bruise could cause him to bleed internally and die. Unfortunately, the low platelet count also causes him tome severely bruise from what would be a simple blood draw (I’ve included pictures).

The staff also said they didn’t know what was wrong with him, and they need to send him to another hospital with even more resources and doctors who would hopefully be able to figure out what was wrong. After about 5-6 hours and very minimal results from the labs sent, they had him transported to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. 

We spent a total of 8 days at St. Pats and they poked, prodded, drew blood and took a bone marrow biopsy to see what they were able to find out from Tyler labwork and results. Slowly the test results trickled in and everything was coming back negative. The doctors tried everything that could think of, we met with a Hematologist, a Gastroenterologist and over 5 other doctors. None of them could find what is going on. All of them referred to him as a “mystery case” and the most interesting case in the hospital. After 6 days of being at St Pats, they advised us that they had consulted with Doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center and those doctors wanted to accept Tyler as a patient. St Pats was hoping that the teams at the University of Washington Medical Center can figure out what is going on with him. 

I went to Seattle the next morning and waited for him, to be transported by LifeFlight. it took over 24 hours before he was transported. We’ve been in Seattle a little over a day and still have no answers. It has been a total of 11 days since the symptoms started with no answers. We’ve seen over a dozen doctors, have had dozens of labs ran, so many needle pokes and doctors prodding and palpating him and none of them have been able to tell us why his body is so sick.

We went from planning our wedding and future, to now not knowing how much longer we will be without answers. We spent our engagement anniversary in the hospital together. This is such a trying time and I am having to use all of my time off that I’ve earned so that I can be with Tyler and support him while we wait for someone to come up with an answer to what is going on. He isn’t able to go out and fight fires like he’s been so excited to do. Our savings has been put toward transportation and medical costs. Our animals are being cared for by a fellow dispatcher and we don’t know when we will be able to see them either. Our entire lives are on hold and we still have no answers. We are not usually ones to ask for help, but right now, we need all of the help we can get. Thank you so much for reading this far, we appreciate your support!

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Sahbreena Patton 
Missoula, MT

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