I don’t write so well especially when it comes to people reading it. But I saw the TNC Secret Santa post and decided to give it a try.
I was working in the health sector in Lagos, just out of school when I suddenly had to move to the States with my sister to go live with my dad in November 2014. Didn’t expect it to be so soon. I got a job in December which was helping with the bills and upkeep at home since i couldn’t get one within the health sector easily. In May 2015, I started having this pain in my right arm, at first I thought it was work stressing me out and all. Couple of pain pills and massage with balm that month did nothing to help. I decided to see the Dr in June since it wasn’t getting better and i had difficulty in moving my arm as the days went by. My first to third visits with the Doctor was just more pain medications and Intravenous infusion because he thought it was one of my sickle cell crisis.
I knew it wasn’t because it was a different kind of pain, as painful as a crisis but should have been better with the meds and infusion. I went back to him in July and told him that with my experience working in the health sector, I thought he should order for investigations to be carried out because the hand was getting worse with limited movement and swelling. So, he ordered for an Xray and MRI to be done in August, which meant more wait time but I didn’t mind, at least i was able to convince him. I stopped work first week in August, had the investigations on August 11, which showed I had a bone infection- Osteomyelitis. Due to my sickle cell background, I was called to come back to the hospital same day that they had to put me on admission and fix it with surgery. Before I went in, I talked to the nurse that I really couldn’t afford hospital bills and all but she told me not to worry that it was going to be sorted. Surgery was few days after, I was placed on IV Antibiotics for six weeks, then Physiotherapy for over two months. While I was struggling through this, the hospital made me file for a financial aid benefit which I did to help with the bills, alongside my insurance since they were also responsible for 10% of the fees.
In September, I had follow up visits with the orthopedic surgeon, he discovered the surgical site wasn’t healing and there was a growth right on top of it. Referral to a wound center showed that the bone was not properly cleaned out and there was a possibility of more infection. So, back to the orthopedic surgeon, a different one though, couple of Xrays and an MRI showed I now had Chronic Osteomyelitis and a huge part of the bone was already affected. Fixed a surgery for Mid November, which has been done, and I’m back on another six weeks of daily IV antibiotics and physiotherapy which won’t be up till January/February next year.
Through all of this, I haven’t worked since the Friday in August, my dad doesn’t have a good paying job to take care of the home bills and hospital bills and my sister just got admitted into college but works on days off. The insurance company said I’ve used up all my hospital visits for the year, so not responsible for any more bills. The financial aid I was approved of by the hospital has covered the fees of over 57,000USD but doesn’t cover Physicians fee, Anesthesia, Cardiology, Emergency etc. In between all of these, I had to visit the ER because I came down with Pneumonia on two separate occasions while receiving IV Antibiotics in August/September.
I decided to write this, just in case I could get help with the rest of the hospital bills, with each month that passes a late fee is charged. It’s over 6,000USD, I know that’s a whole lot but any little thing would be appreciated if considered. I haven’t been able to work since August, not sure when I’ll get back to it, been fighting off depression, lost so much weight my nurses were worried. Started my IV Antibiotics in November. Will see the Surgeon on the 8th to be cleared for when Physiotherapy can start. Saw people tweet about wanting the new month to be so good but I couldn’t ask for anything because nothing happened all year to make it better. School and work has been on hold since I got started on this. It’s really been a tough year and the only thankful thing is being alive. My mum and brother stay in Lagos and they don’t make much to help with the bills either. Though as much as I think I have it bad, I know some other people had it worse.
Thank you so much.
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