ilona's medical recovery and debt

ilona's medical recovery and debt

From Ilona Nielsen

This is to help me get out of debt from being assaulted in 2016: surgery in 2018, my jaw appliance of $2,300, ubers to and from visits, and testing in which insurance won't cover.

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Update #2

6 months ago

I haven't lived an easy life, so when this initially happened to me I chalked it up to bad luck, and letting other events cause me to flit about too quickly without slowing down for a moment.

I already had chronic PTSD, severe anxiety and depression before this had happened, but these events have caused much physical and mental torment since it happened. I suppose I needed a therapist years ago, but with lack of family support/insurance it was a luxury I couldn't afford. I had my first therapist this year... 2020, but she didn't work out, so I'm searching for another.

April 29th, 2016.
I was working as a Medical Assistant in Manhattan at the time, and due to rising rents had rented an apartment with a childhood acquaintance turned friend and her husband. Despite my protests, they had settled on Jersey City. Subway and the Path and a 20 minute walk was my daily journey.
I decided to stop at Herald Square after work and pick up a few things, and got an urgent text from my friend/roommate with bad news in her life. She had told me she drank all of my rum from the bad news she had, and made it seem present tense. I wanted to rush home, and make sure she was okay because she stopped answering me. There's one of my problems, when in panic mode we often want to rush to fix things, right?

I headed to the escalator through JcPenney that led to the Path trains. A very large man stood in the middle, which honestly? In NYC that is rare, people usually stand to the right and let others pass on the left. I had people walking behind me, too attempting the same. I said excuse me a few times to the man, and he ignored me. Then he turned around and screamed at me, "WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME TO GO?!" I was alarmed at his sudden anger, as were the people going up on the escalator on the other side. I tried to calmly tell him I had an emergency and needed to get to the Path train as soon as possible. I felt panic rising in my chest, and a tightness in my throat because I was also trapped between people. I explained that people walk down the left all the time, to check behind me and also the opposite direction as people were walking up as well. He told me that this was an escalator and not the fucking stairs, and started to call me every name in the book.

As someone that grew up around a lot of abuse, I was good at reading when people are past a certain level of anger that becomes dangerous. I wanted to get far away from him. He had moved slightly due to his burst of anger, and I managed to squeeze past him. That really set him off, and he started to puff his chest out and act like he was going to attack me. I turned around as he leaned forward with his hands extended and touched his chest, and tried to get away. This man yelled, "HOW DARE YOU FUCKING HIT ME!!!" Then pulled his arm back as I turned around to see what was happening, and he punched me so hard that I fell down the escalator and slid along the floor. Hundreds of people must have passed me, as this place is busy as hell. Not a single person came to my aid, not one. I saw families take out their phones and record or take photos as I was laying on the ground bleeding from my nose. On the video I saw after, he had tried to come behind me and punch me in the back of my head, but his wife was with him and grabbed his hand. They both stood on the other side of the aisle in JcPenney screaming that I punched him and KNOCKED him off the escalator. I saw a few people shake their head, but they kept walking.

What seemed like eternity later but was probably 5 minutes, a young female employee came over to me and asked me if she should keep the man for the police to come. I was terrified he'd hurt someone else, so I asked for them to please just get him away from me. He and his wife stormed away! They left!

I then went to a back room and waited for EMT. Thankfully one of the two EMT workers that showed up cleaned the blood off of my face, and neck, and purse. I also had it on my clothes. I felt a bit disoriented and dazed, so they insisted I go to the ER. The police officers that later showed were very sympathetic and showed me the tape, that clearly showed the man punching me and then wanting to attack me again. They told me if he had hit me again in the back of the head how he intended, I likely would have had brain damage or worse.

The ride to the ER felt surreal. I didn't feel like this was happening to me. Only one person at the Lennox health ER was kind to me, but no one gently put gauze in my nose, or comforted me. I had to do things myself, and was left alone for awhile contemplating what the fuck had happened. Someone actually told me "you're fine and can go!" and when I was packing up my things, confused how I didn't get my CT results, the nurse rushed back into tell me my nose was fractured in two places.

No one I knew offered to come get me, and my brother expected me to get on two subway trains and a bus to a bad neighborhood.. I was in Manhattan and living in Jersey at the time. Do people really think I wanted to go on the subway, get on the path train and then walk over a half hour alone at night? Chris was still in France at the time, so I could only send him a video when he was 5 hours ahead of me. I was lucky to have a friend on long island that drove out to Manhattan to get me, and stayed the night to make sure I was safe. My roommates were at the husband's parents, and the husband said "it's not a big deal," and when my friend/roommate came to check on me? "Oh, it's not as bad as I thought it would be!" and acted like her downing my rum (which was apparently the day prior, not how she worded it) wasn't a big deal either. Awesome. Guess who felt like an idiot? Me indeed...

They had a detective work on my case, but it was only via email. I never was assaulted by a stranger prior to this, nor had a case so I had no idea what to do. It was handled very unprofessionally, and I felt zero empathy at all. He took ages to get back to me, and was short. I'm going to include a few screenshots to show what I mean. When I was supposed to meet him at the station to pick up papers (because I got bills for both the ambulance and hospital), he wasn't even there as promised, and someone else had to get the papers for me.

What happened after? My job was deeply affected. I had no insurance at the time despite working for a doctor, and my two coworkers complained about my worsening PTSD. They basically gave me an ultimatum to see a doctor anyway and go on medication. I started having worse chest pain, constantly felt dizzy, and my boss told me "oh you can barely tell your nose is broken! Feeling dizzy isn't that bad!" Same thing when I asked about side effects that once made me fall to the ground, and once feel the ceiling was coming down onto my head. All this told by a doctor that swore he was compassionate and cared about mental health. I decided to close off a bit and focus more on my work. It didn't help. He hired a Nurse Practitioner and expected me to see her patients as well, so my work load increased (still no higher pay/insurance). Our office manager moved, and he fired the secretary/new office manager a few months later. Then the NP was overworked and fell down a few stairs, breaking her foot during her lunch break. He didn't realize everyone was being spread too thin. I don't want to get into everything that happened, because it's really fucked up... He later fired me when I spoke up about how I was tired of being treated poorly, and him being in denial. He then took me to court twice, believing I didn't deserve the small amount of unemployment I applied for. He lost the case, but I lost sleep for months. I still had no support from my family, and none of my friends at that point in time understood anything about the complexities of PTSD.

I developed crippling migraines and severe jaw pain. My top wisdom teeth that I was told would be fine prior to the assault and not need removal started pushing on my other teeth, cracking fillings, and the left side of my lower teeth began tilting inwards. MY TMD was getting worse with my jaw. If you read about TMD it also can cause issues with your throat/ears, so I often felt dizzy, thinking I had infections (which I was given lots of antibiotics I didn't need). I saw an ENT when visiting my in-laws in France that barely checked my nose, and tried to shove a scope on the left side but couldn't. "Oh, you have dry sinuses!" Only after moving again back to Queens (NYC) and Chris moving to US did I finally see a good ENT that did proper scans and scopes, and saw how fucked up my nose was. So TWO YEARS later in 2018 I had surgery done, which we had to pay what insurance could not (mind you, all from the assault) to have a septoplasty and turbinectomy to fix the two fractures, bone spurs, and damaged tissue. All of the copays we had to pay for, even though this was because of some random angry man.

I know this is a long thing to read, and perhaps many of you have skimmed over it, or don't want to read it. I understand.

**TLDR; I was assaulted by a stranger in 2016 that fractured my nose in two places and also caused issues with my jaw to worsen. My mental/physical health has deteriorated. I needed dental surgeries that insurance isn't fully covering, and have been postponed due to not having insurance prior, but now it's still expensive.

Done: dental implant, three crowns (one may need to be pulled), dental appliance

-Might need adult braces after assessing how the jaw splint works
-Getting treatment for now chronic migraines

I hope people now understand why I am asking for help. Asking for help is embarrassing, but when it's really your only option and insurance isn't covering enough, sometimes it is all you can hope to do.

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Ilona Nielsen posted a new update:
6 months ago

Update #2

I haven't lived an easy life, so when this initially happened to me I chalked it up to bad luck, and letting other events cause me to flit about too quickly without slowing down for a moment.

I already had chronic PTSD, severe anxiety and depression before this had happened, but these events have caused much physical and mental torment since it happened. I suppose I needed a therapist years ago, but with lack of family support/insurance it was a luxury I couldn't afford. I had my first therapist this year... 2020, but she didn't work out, so I'm searching for another.

April 29th, 2016.
I was working as a Medical Assistant in Manhattan at the time, and due to rising rents had rented an apartment with a childhood acquaintance turned friend and her husband. Despite my protests, they had settled on Jersey City. Subway and the Path and a 20 minute walk was my daily journey.
I decided to stop at Herald Square after work and pick up a few things, and got an urgent text from my friend/roommate with bad news in her life. She had told me she drank all of my rum from the bad news she had, and made it seem present tense. I wanted to rush home, and make sure she was okay because she stopped answering me. There's one of my problems, when in panic mode we often want to rush to fix things, right?

I headed to the escalator through JcPenney that led to the Path trains. A very large man stood in the middle, which honestly? In NYC that is rare, people usually stand to the right and let others pass on the left. I had people walking behind me, too attempting the same. I said excuse me a few times to the man, and he ignored me. Then he turned around and screamed at me, "WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME TO GO?!" I was alarmed at his sudden anger, as were the people going up on the escalator on the other side. I tried to calmly tell him I had an emergency and needed to get to the Path train as soon as possible. I felt panic rising in my chest, and a tightness in my throat because I was also trapped between people. I explained that people walk down the left all the time, to check behind me and also the opposite direction as people were walking up as well. He told me that this was an escalator and not the fucking stairs, and started to call me every name in the book.

As someone that grew up around a lot of abuse, I was good at reading when people are past a certain level of anger that becomes dangerous. I wanted to get far away from him. He had moved slightly due to his burst of anger, and I managed to squeeze past him. That really set him off, and he started to puff his chest out and act like he was going to attack me. I turned around as he leaned forward with his hands extended and touched his chest, and tried to get away. This man yelled, "HOW DARE YOU FUCKING HIT ME!!!" Then pulled his arm back as I turned around to see what was happening, and he punched me so hard that I fell down the escalator and slid along the floor. Hundreds of people must have passed me, as this place is busy as hell. Not a single person came to my aid, not one. I saw families take out their phones and record or take photos as I was laying on the ground bleeding from my nose. On the video I saw after, he had tried to come behind me and punch me in the back of my head, but his wife was with him and grabbed his hand. They both stood on the other side of the aisle in JcPenney screaming that I punched him and KNOCKED him off the escalator. I saw a few people shake their head, but they kept walking.

What seemed like eternity later but was probably 5 minutes, a young female employee came over to me and asked me if she should keep the man for the police to come. I was terrified he'd hurt someone else, so I asked for them to please just get him away from me. He and his wife stormed away! They left!

I then went to a back room and waited for EMT. Thankfully one of the two EMT workers that showed up cleaned the blood off of my face, and neck, and purse. I also had it on my clothes. I felt a bit disoriented and dazed, so they insisted I go to the ER. The police officers that later showed were very sympathetic and showed me the tape, that clearly showed the man punching me and then wanting to attack me again. They told me if he had hit me again in the back of the head how he intended, I likely would have had brain damage or worse.

The ride to the ER felt surreal. I didn't feel like this was happening to me. Only one person at the Lennox health ER was kind to me, but no one gently put gauze in my nose, or comforted me. I had to do things myself, and was left alone for awhile contemplating what the fuck had happened. Someone actually told me "you're fine and can go!" and when I was packing up my things, confused how I didn't get my CT results, the nurse rushed back into tell me my nose was fractured in two places.

No one I knew offered to come get me, and my brother expected me to get on two subway trains and a bus to a bad neighborhood.. I was in Manhattan and living in Jersey at the time. Do people really think I wanted to go on the subway, get on the path train and then walk over a half hour alone at night? Chris was still in France at the time, so I could only send him a video when he was 5 hours ahead of me. I was lucky to have a friend on long island that drove out to Manhattan to get me, and stayed the night to make sure I was safe. My roommates were at the husband's parents, and the husband said "it's not a big deal," and when my friend/roommate came to check on me? "Oh, it's not as bad as I thought it would be!" and acted like her downing my rum (which was apparently the day prior, not how she worded it) wasn't a big deal either. Awesome. Guess who felt like an idiot? Me indeed...

They had a detective work on my case, but it was only via email. I never was assaulted by a stranger prior to this, nor had a case so I had no idea what to do. It was handled very unprofessionally, and I felt zero empathy at all. He took ages to get back to me, and was short. I'm going to include a few screenshots to show what I mean. When I was supposed to meet him at the station to pick up papers (because I got bills for both the ambulance and hospital), he wasn't even there as promised, and someone else had to get the papers for me.

What happened after? My job was deeply affected. I had no insurance at the time despite working for a doctor, and my two coworkers complained about my worsening PTSD. They basically gave me an ultimatum to see a doctor anyway and go on medication. I started having worse chest pain, constantly felt dizzy, and my boss told me "oh you can barely tell your nose is broken! Feeling dizzy isn't that bad!" Same thing when I asked about side effects that once made me fall to the ground, and once feel the ceiling was coming down onto my head. All this told by a doctor that swore he was compassionate and cared about mental health. I decided to close off a bit and focus more on my work. It didn't help. He hired a Nurse Practitioner and expected me to see her patients as well, so my work load increased (still no higher pay/insurance). Our office manager moved, and he fired the secretary/new office manager a few months later. Then the NP was overworked and fell down a few stairs, breaking her foot during her lunch break. He didn't realize everyone was being spread too thin. I don't want to get into everything that happened, because it's really fucked up... He later fired me when I spoke up about how I was tired of being treated poorly, and him being in denial. He then took me to court twice, believing I didn't deserve the small amount of unemployment I applied for. He lost the case, but I lost sleep for months. I still had no support from my family, and none of my friends at that point in time understood anything about the complexities of PTSD.

I developed crippling migraines and severe jaw pain. My top wisdom teeth that I was told would be fine prior to the assault and not need removal started pushing on my other teeth, cracking fillings, and the left side of my lower teeth began tilting inwards. MY TMD was getting worse with my jaw. If you read about TMD it also can cause issues with your throat/ears, so I often felt dizzy, thinking I had infections (which I was given lots of antibiotics I didn't need). I saw an ENT when visiting my in-laws in France that barely checked my nose, and tried to shove a scope on the left side but couldn't. "Oh, you have dry sinuses!" Only after moving again back to Queens (NYC) and Chris moving to US did I finally see a good ENT that did proper scans and scopes, and saw how fucked up my nose was. So TWO YEARS later in 2018 I had surgery done, which we had to pay what insurance could not (mind you, all from the assault) to have a septoplasty and turbinectomy to fix the two fractures, bone spurs, and damaged tissue. All of the copays we had to pay for, even though this was because of some random angry man.

I know this is a long thing to read, and perhaps many of you have skimmed over it, or don't want to read it. I understand.

**TLDR; I was assaulted by a stranger in 2016 that fractured my nose in two places and also caused issues with my jaw to worsen. My mental/physical health has deteriorated. I needed dental surgeries that insurance isn't fully covering, and have been postponed due to not having insurance prior, but now it's still expensive.

Done: dental implant, three crowns (one may need to be pulled), dental appliance

-Might need adult braces after assessing how the jaw splint works
-Getting treatment for now chronic migraines

I hope people now understand why I am asking for help. Asking for help is embarrassing, but when it's really your only option and insurance isn't covering enough, sometimes it is all you can hope to do.

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Ilona Nielsen posted a new update:
6 months ago

Update #1

The beginning of this month I went to the TMJ specialist, who does not accept insurance (and is the only person that I can get to via Uber and have about an hour walk home if my pain is manageable).
I received my jaw appliance/splint which I will be wearing daily/nightly (outside of eating!).
It cost $2,300. Chris spent hours on the phone with insurance to see if they would cover anything at all, with sending in claims, office notes, and diagnosis codes. Unfortunately they do not want to cover anything, dental or medical.

This is a very high expense, because it comes on top of the medical debt that I have already accrued. Also, as you can imagine taking ubers to and from the doctor, co-pays, and testing adds up. Blood work isn't even covered!

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