#SmilesForMichael Raising money for my dad's hospital bills as he battled pneumonia & sepsis in ICU for 38 days. All donations will go toward hospital bills. Home since Dec.18, '20 Will keep updating. Please copy & share
Hello, my name is Sara, I am 20 yrs old, and I am fundraising on behalf of my dad, Michael, for his 38 days of ICU bills. For weeks, I sat through class, one-thousand miles away, dazed, anxiously waiting to call my dad, terrified it would be the last time. On November 11th, my dad had a 103 fever, after a week of his boss forcing him to work while injured and ill. After testing negative for COVID-19 we thought we were in the clear, only for my dad to be sent in an ambulance to Shands hospital in Gainesville, Florida, quickly making room for him in the ICU. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis that eventually settled in his left lung, resulting in him having less than 50% lung capacity. The last two months passed like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. One day I’m calling my dad to ask for recipe recommendations on his lunch break, and the next he’s in the ICU, unable to lift his hands, days before his 46th birthday. For the next 6 weeks, we were only able to video chat and even that was tough because he struggled to breathe and was too weak to hold his phone. Even at his worst, he’d always give me a smile.
On November 18th, his sodium was dangerously low. On the 20th his blood sugar was 401. Dozens of tests on his heart, his lungs, CT scans, back-to-back blood cultures, everything came back inconclusive. He had a chest tube inserted on his birthday, November 23rd. On December 1st, they took him into surgery, opening up his chest to drain the infected fluid and necrotic tissue. My mom and I desperately searched the internet for definitions of the medical tests and meds the nurses discussed with us, grasping for any possible understanding of their plan for his health. For six weeks, we’ve been anxiously awaiting test results only for them to be inconclusive every time.
As I prepared for final exams, I woke up daily to a heartbreaking update from my mom; his fever at 103 every other day. Never in my life have I seen my dad so helpless. A man who never complains of anything, holding back tears, defeatedly accepting pain medication. A man that for years worked 12 hour night shifts, often with less than two days off per week. To know how much pain he is in, while knowing everything that could be done to help is happening… absolute anguish. I don’t have words to describe the heartache when I held back tears trying to calm my mother’s panic attack as she sat in her car, about to drive home for her twice weekly shower. She rarely left his side.
My parents spent both of their birthdays and Thanksgiving in the hospital. After 38 days in ICU, 2 surgeries, and half a dozen antibiotics, unexplainable, unbreakable fevers left countless doctors with more questions than answers about my father’s condition. To this day, we have no idea where the sepsis came from, but on December 18th, his fevers had been low enough to send him home. His battle isn’t over, but we are so relieved that he is recovering at home. On December 27th, he was finally able to go for a walk with a walker. He is slowly improving, but the medical bills have already started piling. My mom had to stop working to take care of him, as his parents also require medical assistance.
As a working college student, I’m not able to help my parents financially, but I am determined to do everything in my power to make this process more bearable. My dad has always worked so hard to support our family, and I know he would never ask for a penny no matter the struggle, but this is unlike anything we’ve ever seen and the future is uncertain. All donations will go directly to my dad’s hospital bills.
This was much scarier than we could’ve ever imagined, and yet I am so grateful that it wasn’t worse. Due to COVID worries, I’m not yet able to safely travel to Florida, so my mom is his sole caregiver. She’s doing her best to manage his care while checking in on his parents and their health as well. We had no clue that back pain and a fever could lead to this nightmare. Despite it all, my dad has proven to be incredibly strong and things are looking up.
Thank you so much for hearing our story. Please help us spread #SmilesForMichael and copy and share this link on any platform you’d like, (FB, instagram, snapchat, tumblr, etc). No donation is too small and my family and I greatly appreciate any support.
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